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‘Eat figs not pigs’: Hundreds of animal rights protesters linked to Extinction Rebellion stop traffic in London

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Hundreds of activists linked to Extinction Rebellion have stopped traffic in central London as part of an animal rights protest.

About 500 people gathered at Smithfield Market – the largest wholesale meat market in the UK – in Farringdon to hold a rally with speeches before parading through the city.

Animal Rebellion, an offshoot of the climate change group Extinction Rebellion, organised the protest with Camp Beagle, a group calling for the release of beagle dogs at MBR Acres in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, which rears dogs specifically for animal research.

Extinction Rebellion climate activists take part in a protest in London, Britain August 28, 2021. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Image: The animal rights activists marched through the City of London

The protesters were escorted by hundreds of police officers as they played drums, blew whistles, and held up banners and signs that read “Unite for Animal Justice”, “Free the MBR Beagles” and “Meat is Murder”.

The campaigners blocked off Blackfriars Bridge, according to police, before moving on to other locations as part of a two-mile animal rights march.

Extinction Rebellion climate activists take part in a protest in London, Britain August 28, 2021. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Image: An activist held up a sign saying ‘I want a hot date not a hot planet’

Activists stopped at the offices of Unilever, which was criticised for its ownership of brands that sell dairy products and use palm oil.

Cargill, a global food corporation, was then targeted due to its role as one of the world’s largest meat processors.

More on Animal Rebellion

“It doesn’t matter how small you are,” Animal Rebellion member Tim Bailey said in a speech outside the company’s offices. “The pain for those animals is exactly the same.”

Campaigners moved on to Marine Stewardship Council offices in Snow Hill, where they held a sit-in and a moment of silence for aquatic animals “who are born into captivity, where they suffer and are killed”.

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“We need to build power,” said Animal think tank founder Dr Laila Kassam. “And I’m not talking about consumer power, we cannot buy our way to a better world.

“I’m talking about social and political power.”

Animal Rebellion sees the consumption of meat as a significant contributor to the “climate emergency” and is calling for a “just and sustainable plant-based food system to halt mass extinction, alleviate the worst effects of climate breakdown and ensure justice for animals”.

Extinction Rebellion climate activists take part in a protest in London, Britain August 28, 2021. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Image: A protester wore a shirt that read ‘eat figs not pigs’

Extinction Rebellion activists and its affiliated groups began two weeks of climate protests in London on Monday to “target the root cause of the climate and ecological crisis”, calling on the government to halt all new fossil fuel investment immediately.

Guildhall was covered in red paint yesterday by Extinction Rebellion protesters, who said they aimed to “highlight the blood-soaked profiteering of our financial system”.

Demonstrators stand in front of one of the buildings of the Guildhall, which has been daubed in paint, as an Extinction Rebellion protest makes its way through the City of London. Picture date: Friday August 27, 2021.
Image: Protesters targeted London’s financial sector yesterday

The building was described as “the administrative and ceremonial heart of the corporation of the City of London” and “the symbolic and actual centre of the system that is killing us”.

The action was part of a “Blood Money” march, in which protesters wearing business suits and masks held signs saying “Fossil fuel finance is killing the Earth” and “The financial industry is bleeding the Earth dry”.

Police officers stand in front of one of the buildings of the Guildhall, which has been daubed in paint, as an Extinction Rebellion protest makes its way through the City of London. Picture date: Friday August 27, 2021.
Image: Guildhall was sprayed with red paint yesterday as part of a ‘Blood Money’ protest

A huge banner read: “Built on blood money.”

The entrances to financial institutions in the City – like the London Stock Exchange and the headquarters of Standard Chartered – were also splattered with red paint, while earlier in the week the water in the Buckingham Palace fountain was dyed red.

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