Step 2 Part 2 - character card 12: Skeena Rathor

Skeena Rathor

Skeena Rathor co-leads the XR (Extinction Rebellion). She is the national spokesperson for XR, and she has appeared widely on TV and radio. Skeena, a mother of three, says that she is prepared to go to jail for her beliefs.

Extinction Rebellion is a global activist movement that seeks to push changes in climate policy. Founded in 2018, its first major demonstrations took place in Britain in November 2018, when hundreds of activists shut down bridges in central London to spread its core message that climate change is not only threatening ecological collapse but human extinction. Since then, it has achieved remarkable success, and its demonstrators have staged spectacular acts of civil disobedience as part of their effort to persuade politicians to take action to reduce climate change. In Germany alone, there are 120 local XR groups with a total of about 20,000 members. It has now grown into an international movement with chapters all over the world, including the United States

The group regularly causes civic disruption: members have thrown fake blood on pavements, vandalised buildings such as those owned by Shell Oil Co., they super-glued their bottoms to a window facing lawmakers in the House of Commons, blocked traffic and  bridges across London, and occupied prominent sites in central London and the Parliament. Members of XR have said that “the situation is extreme, and we need to match that with extreme tactics. We actually don't think we are extreme enough.” Arrests are not an inconvenience for XR activists - they are part of the plan.

Not everyone regards the movement this way. Scotland Yard claimed that the protests are taking up more police resources than terrorism. In October 2019, during a coordinated series of demonstration in 60 cities around the globe, 1,832 people were arrested in London, and £21 million was spent on policing the protests, which caused widespread disruption and delays as streets were crowded and public transport was brought to a halt.