London Marathon runners

Environmental protesters vow to help London Marathon run ‘smoothly’

Image credit: Dreamstime

Extinction Rebellion has pledged to help the London Marathon run “smoothly” ahead of protest action on the day of the race.

The climate action group is staging a four-day protest outside Parliament Square from 21 April, but has been in talks with the marathon race director to ensure minimal disruption.

A Just Stop Oil activist also confirmed there are no plans to disrupt the race on Sunday, although they encouraged protesters to attend.

An Extinction Rebellion spokesperson said: “There’s over 200 groups who have joined us for the weekend and everyone is committed not to disrupt the race and our stewards who are responsible for the whole group will facilitate that.

“It’s our intention to facilitate the marathon to take place smoothly.”

Extinction Rebellion said it had been in talks with the London Marathon since November, which the spokesperson described as “a really fruitful conversation about how we can share the space”.

The spokesperson added: “For us, really, it’s just an example of how you can have a mature conversation about how to deal with the crisis, it’s in stark contrast with the government, who are not willing to speak and come to reasonable arrangements.”

Just Stop Oil confirmed it had also been in talks with the London Marathon director, and activist Anna Holland told GB News: “I’m just going to say now: we’re not going to disrupt the marathon. We do also encourage anyone who’s coming to the marathon to also join us to march for the climate because it’s so important.”

A spokesperson confirmed talks with London Marathon organisers took place, but said the group would not answer questions about its plans.

They added: “Just Stop Oil called on the organisers of the London Marathon to issue a statement in support of our demand to end new oil and gas and to join us in civil resistance against our genocidal government.

“The two parties have agreed to continue to discuss arrangements for the London Marathon, the climate crisis and the need to end new oil and gas.”

London Marathon director Hugh Brasher previously said his talks with Extinction Rebellion had prompted the agreement that “they will be uniquely asking all their participants to help guard the London Marathon. To do something that is quite unique in their history – to protect what is one of the crown jewels of British sport.”

He added: “I trust Extinction Rebellion, they have been very clear of what they are doing and why. I hope Just Stop Oil and the other organisations listen to what we are saying.”

The talks follow an interruption to the world snooker championships at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield earlier this week, when two Just Stop Oil protestors stormed the arena while competitive play was in progress. A man jumped onto one of the snooker tables, sending the balls flying, before bursting open an envelope of bright orange powder, which covered both himself and the table's green baize. Meanwhile, his female companion attempted to glue herself to the other snooker table in play, but was prevented from doing so when the referee intervened. The Crucible crowd vehemently expressed their dissatisfaction with the protests.

Extinction Rebellion is understood to be moving into a new phase of engagement with the public in its fight against climate inaction, moving away from divisive and disruptive tactics such as blocking roads.

E&T recently looked at the technology behind the London Marathon, both on a personal level for the runners and for the organisers of the race itself. 

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