Rebellion in the park is a family fun affair

Stop Ecocide banner XR Blackheath event
Join the Uprising festival at Brockwell Park Photographs: Tara Carey

Extinction Rebellion Lambeth to stage fun family Uprising festival in Brockwell Park. Steve Tooze reports

Rebellion will take on a family-friendly face as climate activists from Extinction Rebellion Lambeth put on a mini-festival in one of the borough’s best-known public spaces to encourage locals to learn more about the environmental crisis we all face.

The fast-growing protest movement – most famous for its dramatic 10-day occupation in April of iconic London landmarks including Oxford Circus, Waterloo Bridge and Marble Arch – is putting its most gentle grassroots approach on show at the South West Uprising in Brockwell Park on Saturday 31 August.

FAMILY FUN: Blackheath XR event held earlier in August

“The arrests of more than 1000 XR activists in April got lots of headlines,” says Eloise Smith-Foster. “But we want to show that being a rebel can mean spending time in the summer sun with friends, talking, laughing, listening to music and poetry, and just having fun.”

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The Uprising will begin with a celebration march by activists and other community groups, led by parents and their children, from Brixton tube station to the festival site in the park in Herne Hill where five tents will be erected to offer free fun activities for rebels of all ages.

“It’s been organised by XR groups from all over South West London and will be open to anyone from the local community,” says Eloise.

“It will be an exciting day of picnics, workshops, talks, performance, and music.  Expect skill sharing, bike swarms, lots of workshops for adults and kids, and fascinating talks about the climate crisis and what we can do about it from some really great speakers.

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“It will be perfect for local families to relax and learn more about what XR is really about because we have a policy of allowing no drinking at our events.”

The event follows on the heels of XR’s South East Uprising in Black Heath (see photos) on August 17-18 that saw hundreds of locals enjoy vegan food, colourful tents, and face painting in a park close to the Maritime Museum.

ACT NOW: Young activist at Blackheath makes the point

On a more sombre note, ‘mourners’ in funeral black, waving models of skeletal fish and oil-covered creatures and accompanied by a samba band beating out a solemn rhythm, staged a march to represent the animal deaths caused by the ecological destruction that is part of the climate crisis.

There was a stirring speech by XR founder Gail Bradbrook and the event culminated in a dramatic die in on the steps of the Maritime Museum – who were a supportive host for the demonstration.

Both events are part of the build-up to an autumn of rebellion, including a global general strike for the climate on 20 September, and massive wave of XR protests and occupations in London that will begin on 7 October.

“In October, tens of thousands of XR members will bring business as usual to a halt in an attempt to force the government to make its declaration of a climate emergency into a reality by announcing radical plans to deal with it,” says XR member George Deacon.

“There will be waves of occupations, road blocks and disruptive actions all over central London for at least a fortnight from 7 October which we will be encouraging everyone to join. We are quite literally fighting for our lives, and the lives of our children, because the best science tells us that we have as little as 11 years to stop a climate catastrophe that could destroy human civilisation.”

The Extinction Rebellion South West Uprising will take place in Brockwell Park on Saturday 31 August between 12pm and 7pm. If you would like to help at the event, email:

To learn more about Extinction Rebellion join your local group or visit: