Extinction Rebellion protestors highlight city's air pollution issues in 'die-in'
PUBLISHED: 15:02 14 September 2019 | UPDATED: 15:02 14 September 2019
Climate protestors staged a 'die-in' to highlight dangerous levels of air pollution around Norwich.
The Extinction Rebellion (XR) protest took place at Anglia Square, which is at the centre of a controversial development debate.
Extinction Rebellion believes the 1,500 additional car parking spaces attached to the area's proposed redevelopment will worsen congestion and levels of air pollution.
The redevelopment plans are currently being reviewed by the communities secretary following Norwich City Council's approval of the plans last year.
The die-in on Saturday saw protestors from XR Norwich wearing breathing masks and holding inhalers to symbolise the damaging effects of air pollution, while a climate change emergency declaration was read aloud.
Following the first die-in at Anglia Square, protestors made their way to Gentleman's Walk and staged a second, drawing the eyes and ears of weekend shoppers.
XR Norwich activist Gabby Ditton said: "There is a climate emergency. We need to inform as many people as possible and the way we try to do that is through non-violent direct action.
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"The best way to connect to people is to talk to them."
Lesley Grahame, Green Party Norwich city councillor, said: "We are in an emergency situation now. When people first sounded the alarm 40 years ago they were silenced.
"We are having really dramatic action forced on us, whether it is people whose lands are no longer inhabitable or people really having to think about their consumption.
"It is not the fault of individual citizens but it is up to individuals to lead the movement and encourage governments to act."
As well as highlighting potential air pollution problems from the proposed redevelopment at Anglia Square, Ames Wilson, XR Norwich activist, said the location of the protest had a second significance.
"Extinction Rebellion is seen as a middle-class movement, and Anglia Square is not a middle-class area," she said.
"It is harder for people on low incomes to take part in this, but we at least need to make them aware of it."
Campaigners also used the protest to raise awareness of Car Free Day, taking place in Norwich on September 22, at which XR Norwich is taking direct action to close roads around City Hall.