“What passion and creativity!”
“A riot of colour and sound!”
“How can seven people dressed in red have such a powerful impact?”
These were some of the comments heard in Luton Town on Saturday, at the end of a day when about 150 people marched from Luton Airport to the town centre, singing, drumming, dancing and showing the town that airport expansion is just wrong.
The demonstration had been organised by Extinction Rebellion, and for the first time in Luton, the Red Rebels were seen, silently and mysteriously mourning both the animals that will die if climate change is not halted, and the people already dying as a result of air pollution.
Yet the Red Rebels were also triumphant:
The demonstration was a mixture of sorrow and triumph. Sometimes the music for the walkers was hauntingly beautiful. At other times, there were drum beats, dances, slogans and chants.
“Say no. Say no. Say no to airport expansion”, came the chants again and again.
There was acknowledgement of achievement, as well as protest.
“The Council HAVE been listening to us”, declared Extinction Rebellion member Jeremy Williams, when he spoke to the public at the end of the demonstration. Luton Borough Council has finally declared a Climate Emergency. Nevertheless, Extinction Rebellion will continue to lobby the Council, pressing them to stick to their intentions.
“We aren’t just about demanding action from other people and protesting about stuff”, he explained. “We’re going to work with the Council all the way. We want to be constructive, and part of the solution”
Steve Lyall, another member of Extinction Rebellion, explained some of context for the day’s demonstrations. He told the public about the huge impact airport expansion would have on the health of our town and of the region. “We cannot let this happen”, he insisted.