Over 1,000 activists are taken to court. What's your view?

Challenge Question.jpg

This is a Stretch and Challenge post - it asks you to read a newspaper article and give your opinions based on what you read.


Earlier this month The Guardian reported that "more than 1,000 people who took part in environmental direct action organised by Extinction Rebellion have been taken to court in what experts say is one of the biggest crackdowns on protest in British legal history."

Read the full story here.

This has caused debate and disagreement for many reasons. Some people think they should face justice for breaking the law, whilst others are more sympathetic because Extinction Rebellion are trying to change the world for the better. Others might agree with their cause, but think they are protesting in the wrong way.

Have a go at the questions below to stretch your thinking:

  1. Why has this made the news?
  2. What do you think about this - should people protesting about climate change be taken to court?
  3. What questions would you like to ask other people in the Burnet News Club about this?

Add your comments below and remember to back up your opinion with reasons!

Comments (12)

  • Michael-Faraday-logo-250x250.jpg decisive_redcurrant | Michael Faraday School
    12 Jan 2021

    Thanks Tom for this post as I read what you wrote I thought to myself when I said there has been a recent protest happened in America recently and that was the capitol. In America The United States Capitol, often called the Capitol Building, is the meeting place of the United States Congress and the seat of the legislative branch of the U.S. federal government. It is located on Capitol Hill at the eastern end of the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
    But recently Trying to decide upon how to protest just because he lost the 2020 election
    Rececnt on Twitter and Facebook trump wrote a very nasty post and it stated “be ready for the 6 of January.” Everyone was so confused about this and just went to tell others until that day came people hunted, scrambled, raged the capitol people were maced people were even kill because of trumps actions just because he cant take the lose.
    Also, when trump was president a nother protest went on which was the climate change protest and there main leader was named“Greta thunberg” Greta thunderg Is a young adult that is very into primary she has to comply so much Princess you to commit to that but still she thinks no one has heard her voice for a person to have such a powerful impact on climate change is just amazing for someone so brave like her to stand up to even Donald Trump to say that climate change is important and needs to be taken on. It’s just amazing such a long person like this has inspired me and told me that I also need to have and I shouldn’t be littering on any floor or trash in a community we want to treat this world how we would like our worlds to be treated.
    My question for the burnet news club is do you think the more that people processed the more the government will end up changing their mind about something all the government won’t change their mind and even become firm on what the protesters said!?
    Hope you enjoyed
    Decisive_redcurrant

    Reply to this comment
    1. tom Tom @ the BNC
      decisive_redcurrant's comment 12 Jan 2021

      Great question- look forward to hearing what others have to say!

      Reply to this comment
  • Cheam Park logo eager_reflection | Cheam Park Farm Primary
    12 Jan 2021

    eager_reflection here,
    I'll be answering the questions Tom asked.


    1. Why has this made the news?
    I think this has made the news because an unprecedented amount of activists are being taken to court. The Extinction Rebellion activists participated in three main protests over the past two years to demand urgent action from the government regarding climate change. This has lead to 3400 protesters being arrested and 1700 activists have been charged for minor offences such as blocking the road. In addition, they also caused London to come to a standstill, tried to stop the distribution of newspapers from their printing offices and protested outside the Shell offices.

    2. What do you think about this - should people protesting about climate change be taken to court?
    I think that people peacefully protesting about climate change should not be taken to court because they just want their voices to be heard. On the other hand, I think that people who protest violently or break the law should be taken to court, but not during a pandemic, because they could catch or spread the virus. In my opinion, the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) should delay the court trials until after lockdown measures begin to ease. However, the Extinction Rebellion protesters are from all parts of society, and do not usually act unlawfully, but as they feel so strongly about climate change, they want to be heard to leave the world a better place for the generations yet to come.

    3.What questions would you like to ask other people in the Burnet News Club about this?
    My first question is: If Priti Patel (the Home Secretary) wasn't in office, do you think the protesters would have been prosecuted?
    My second question is: What do you think the impact of a money rebellion will be?
    My final question is: Do you think the CPS was acting independently or were they pressurised by the government?

    Thank you for reading.

    Reply to this comment
    1. katie.jpg Katie @ the BNC
      eager_reflection's comment 13 Jan 2021

      Eager_reflection, your answers and explanations are clear and concise and you make your points very well. I've awarded you with a star for showing some excellent speaking skills! Your questions are also fantastic - well done!

      Reply to this comment
  • Lyons Hall Primary School authentic_currant | Lyons Hall Primary School E
    13 Jan 2021

    1. Why has this made the news?
    This has made news because 1,000 people have been causing damage and destruction there has also been 3,400 people have been arrested. About 900 people have been found guilty, 800 people are going to court and 1,700 people are charged with minor or major fines. These protesters have be causing a destruction in a road, which they are blocking for the cars/trucks/lorries/ambulances that need to go to there business, but since there is protesters in the road they have to wait until the police come and arrest them and take them to court. The reason for this protest is due to climate change and that we stop polluting the planet. I believe that this is some shocking news since it’s such a vast number of people.

    2. What do you think about this?
    I have mixed feelings because the Extinction Rebellion states that they would do “safe protests .” and 3,400 were damaging properties and objects like glass windows or cameras for example. In my opinion, I think this event is extremely dangerous and difficult for all of the people near that road they protested on/through. People who protest about climate change should not be arrested, unless they are being destructive, breaking the law and especially when they said “our protests are not violent .” So my opinion is that this is crazy.

    3. What questions would you like to ask the Burnet News Club about this?
    I have one question to ask the Burnet News Club.
    Has anyone gone to jail as their punishment and how many people have gone to jail due to this protest?

    Reply to this comment
  • Lyons Hall Primary School enthusiastic_dolphin | Lyons Hall Primary School E
    13 Jan 2021

    1) Why has this made the news?
    In my opinion this had made the news because there was an unmeasurable amount of people involved in a “protest.” Extinction and Rebellion are the group that took part in this event while fighting to bring awareness to the government about the climate situation, and the effect people are having on the planet. While with some other shocking news The Guardian claims that 3,400 people have been arrested with 1,400 people who have been charged, these are some huge amount of numbers.

    2) What do you thing about this- should people protesting about climate change be taken to court?
    I believe that protesting is a very important right as you are allowed to say your part. However, it should be done in a certain way ( calm, peaceful) without any violence involved. I think people that break the law should be arrested and charged but don’t take them to court right now as there is a serious virus.

    3) What question would you like to ask other people in Burnet news club about this?
    If I could ask one question I would ask what other people’s options are on this, as it’s a very serious matter and I’m sure people will have different points of view.

    Thank you for reading!

    Reply to this comment
  • Upton-Cross-logo-250x250.jpg discreet_drum | Upton Cross Primary School
    13 Jan 2021

    In my point of view, I feel although their protest affected many peoples’ daily lives as they were not able to get to work or do their jobs it is still a good idea to protest and to raise awareness of the escalating climate and ecological emergency.

    I think the protesters are being prosecuted harshly to make an example of them. A conviction may affect the protesters jobs and livelihood. This may put off people protesting in the future.

    I think this made it to the news because over 1000 activists are being taken to court and have been protesters for 2 years.

    Another reason why they might be prosecuted is, to divert attention away from the terrible news we are hearing daily about coronavirus.

    The questions I would like to ask are....

    These activists have done a lot of protests over the last 2 years, why haven’t they been arrested or taken to court before?

    I know the government is moving towards some of the goals of the protest e.g. ending the sale of petrol and diesel cars in 10 years as well as ending the sale of gas and central heating boilers so the question is, can things be done quicker than the government proposes and can people adjust to the changes required like electric car charging points outside people’s houses who don’t have a driveway?

    Reply to this comment
    1. tom Tom @ the BNC
      discreet_drum's comment 14 Jan 2021

      Great question! What do you think the answer might be? Or perhaps ask one of our experts - we have the founder of Extinction Rebellion ready to take your questions! https://burnetnewsclub.com/issues/protest/the-discussion/have-questions-about-protest-ask-expert/

      Reply to this comment
    2. Ericka Shin.jpg EXPERT: Ericka Shin, Fact Checker @ The Economist
      discreet_drum's comment 17 Jan 2021

      Excellent answers and questions, discreet_drum. You said that possible reasons why the protesters are being taken to court include trying to make an example out of them and turning people’s attention away from news about the covid-19 pandemic. Can you say who you think would want to divert attention away from pandemic-related news and why? And do you think that strategy is working?

      Reply to this comment
  • Michael-Faraday-logo-250x250.jpg comfortable_chemistry | Michael Faraday School
    20 Jan 2021

    Hello I'm comfortable_chemistry and I will be answering the questions above.

    1) Why has this made the news?
    It as made the news mainly because of the quantity of protesters taken to court and for them breaking the law. More than 3,400 people have been arrested, with about 1,700 charged for minor offences such as obstructing the highway. They are known for organizing protests to encourage people to take action and to help with climate change. Although Extinction Rebellion have cost the Metropolitan police £37m so far this year, Britain's most senior officer has said she is against a ban on the climate emergency group's campaign of disruption.

    2) What do you think about this - should people protesting about climate change be taken to court?
    In my opinion they shouldn't be taken to court for trying to warn us about the hazard the climate change is to our planet. Although, I don't stand by the fact they were blocking roads, as this could jeopardise the lives of people in ambulances and the police force trying to capture a criminal and so on. Overall, I think they should pay a fine, a suitable amount for the crimes they have committed or they can help with community service.

    3) What questions would you like to ask other people in the Burnet News Club about this?
    Why do you think extinction rebellion invests money into their protests but not into start-ups (startup refers to a company in the first stages of operations. Start-ups are founded by one or more entrepreneurs who want to develop a product or service for which they believe there is demand.) that can help with climate change?

    Reply to this comment
    1. katie.jpg Katie @ the BNC
      comfortable_chemistry's comment 20 Jan 2021

      A very good question comfortable_chemistry! I wonder if you could have a go at answering your own question in part 3?

      Reply to this comment

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