The XR activists, joined by their 'Red Rebel' faction, took to the streets of central Cambridge today for their finale march on the last day of the shutdownExtinction Rebellion

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As Extinction Rebellion Cambridge's 'Rebel for Justice' campaign comes to a head, Varsity is covering the activists actions' throughout the week. The main events so far:

  • Sunday - The road blockade is set up by XR protestors, who have not moved since
  • Monday - XR protestors dig up Trinity College's front lawn, and dump the soil in Barclays bank nearby
  • Tuesday - Activists from XR lead a protest at the Schlumberger Research Institute in West Cambridge, and multiple arrests are made
  • Wednesday - A group of protestors storm a meeting at Cambridgeshire County Council
  • Thursday - XR activists protest new property developments in West Cambridge, a project led by the University 
  • Friday - Protestors returned to Trinity, blockaded a Shell garage, found fake XR posters with razorblades underneath, and are threatened with assault
  • Saturday - An anti-XR group counter-protested the blockade, as activists gathered by the Corpus clock and took down the blockade early due to poor weather
  • Sunday - The XR protestors led their finale march through central Cambridge


After a week of roadblocks, multiple protests, and actions, Varsity is wrapping up its coverage of Extinction Rebellion's week-long shutdown.

Thank you very much for joining us.


One student at Trinity has been deaned for showing support to the XR protestors by cheering them on in their action digging up the College's lawn on Monday.

The student was given a formal warning by the college, and was informed their actions were unacceptable due to the upset the protest has caused staff members who worked to maintain the upkeep of the college.


One XR protestor is reportedly being questioned by policy for an action which took place earlier in the week.


Police have now arrived at the scene.


Extinction Rebellion protesters are now holding up traffic on Downing Street, blocking the road.

Sun - 12:15pm 

On the last day of the week-long protests, a group of XR protestors are walking around central Cambridge for their finale march.

The rebels are beating drums, holding banners reading 'Rebel 4 Justice' - while XR's 'Red Rebels' have joined the cohort. The Red Rebels are a mainly female faction of activists who wear distinctive red costumes and previously marched through Cambridge last year.


With the bad weather forecast for tonight, XR rebels plan on clearing the site at the blockade tonight rather than in the morning, when it was originally set to be lifted.

A march through Cambridge is still planned to go ahead tomorrow. 


A small group of XR activists has gathered in front of the Corpus Clock by King's Parade for a protest. 

They are holding banners, one of which reads 'Time is Running Out'.


A group of around 20 Anti-XR protestors has arrived at the site of Extinction Rebellion's blockade at Trumpington Road.


Police have charged four activists in connection with the Shell garage protest that took place yesterday afternoon, including a 14-year old girl.

One of those charged is Cambridge student Tilly Porter, who will appear before Huntingdon Magistrates' Court today. 

Sat - 11.00am 

Today will be XR's last full day of demonstrations, though the group is set to hold a finale march around Cambridge tomorrow.


Police report that five protestors from the Shell garage action this afternoon have been placed under arrest.

Five have been arrested on suspicion of criminal damage, and four of the five on suspicion of aggravated trespass.


XR has received an anonymous letter by a group claiming to be "armed and dangerous", threatening to "beat the s***" out of activists, and who plan to arrive at the blockade "tonight, anytime from 9pm-6am".

"Physical injury will be our main aim," it continues.

Although XR believe the anonymous letter "probably just want[s] to scare" them, they are advising activists to consider purchasing and wearing bike helmets, gumshields, shinpads, and other protective gear in anticipation of any potential attack.


The protestors on the roof are reportedly now back on the ground.


Protestors have joined in with Porter, and are continuing to cover the petrol station in molasses, creating the appearance of an oil spill.


There are now three XR activists on the roof of the Shell petrol station by Newnham Road, one of whom has glued themselves to it.

Tilly Porter from King's College, the protestor who was arrested earlier in the week, has poured molasses onto the Shell logo on the petrol station to make it look as though it is covered in oil.

One firefighter and one ambulance worker have also arrived, and are liaising police already present.


The MML Faculty has sent an email to students warning them it has been discovered that some posters stuck up around the city - purporting to be XR's - have razorblades underneath.

The faculty advises students to "not remove with hands, and instead to "use a scrapper and be aware of the risk."

In a screenshot included in the email of an XR whatsapp group chat, one activist has sent a picture of one of such posters, which reads, 'Driving a Car? You are a Nazi'.

The XR member alleges on the chat that "climate deniers are putting up fake XR stickers", while another responds with the message, "use keys to scrape off, they like to hide razorblades underneath".


Cambridgeshire County Council has rescheduled the meeting that was disrupted by XR activists on Tuesday.

It will now take place in the Guildhall on Tuesday, 25th February at 6pm.


A group of protestors has blockaded the Shell petrol station on Newnham Road, and at least one protestor has climbed onto the garage's roof.

"[The action is] pointing to the role the fossil fuel industry plays in climate breakdown by profiting from the continued extraction of gas and oil, a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions," said a spokesperson for XR.

The group further allege that in the 1990s, Shell "encourag[ed] a military crackdown on communities affected by its activities in Nigeria, which led to killings and the burning of villages in the oil-producing Ogoniland region."


XR activists have returned to Trinity College following their action on Monday, and are handing out wild-flower seeds with the public, which they say is symbolic, to "sow the seeds of change".

The protestors have unfurled a banner, which reads 'Climate Justice', and are reading out statements.

"If digging up a small patch of grass, an act of pure symbolism that causes no physical harm to anyone, is a step too far on the road to climate action and justice, will we ever have the courage and resolve to fully walk that road?" said one XR protestor, Nathan Williams in response to Trinity's statement condemning XR's action on Monday.


Councillor Steve Count, Leader of Cambridgeshire County Council, has released a statement about the XR protests this week, arguing they are "in the wrong place and directed at the wrong people".

"Our door remains open for anyone who wants to talk to us sensibly about what we are doing, but [XR] have repeatedly refused this offer. I believe in people's right to peaceful protest, but not when it disrupts the lives of a hard working community."

Count further argues "the level of disruptive actions" will put "put at risk public support for further positive actions" on climate change. He praises the authorities for making arrests and emphasises he "commend[s] this escalation of Police action, and would like to see more of it."


UCU and XR reach Great St. Mary's Church on King's Parade, where speeches are given from local climate activists, including by Caius Fellow Jason Scott Warren, who was recently fined due to his participation with XR actions.

The academic highlighted the common ground between XR and the UCU strikers. He urged both groups were there to "stand up for [their] rights" amidst "exploitation" by the university adminstrators.

He further stressed both groups understand their actions affect "people that aren't the immediate cause" of the problems, but may are necessary to "jolt [administrators] out of their torpor."


XR joins up with UCU for a community Climate Justice march and rally, starting at the Engineering Department and ending at Great St. Mary’s Church on King’s Parade.

UCU is calling on the University to divest from fossil fuels and to pressure the USS pension scheme in pursuing a path of greener and more ethical investment. According to UCU, USS currently has around £1 billion invested in the fossil fuels industry.

Fri - 09:00am 

On the sixth day of XR's week-long climate action in Cambridge, the activist group will focus on 'tourism'.

A statement from the group says: "For a small city, Cambridge has a towering international reputation. The University of Cambridge and the ‘Silicon Fen’ attract students, workers and researchers from around the world.

"With this stature comes global responsibility."


Police have released the female XR protestor, who was arrested at the Shire Hall action yesterday, amidst an incident involving a staff security pass being stolen.

No further action is being taken.


Three police vans have now arrived, which one officer tells Varsity is a precautionary measure to have resources in place in case arrests need to be made.

The protestors finish internal discussions, and decide to leave - and they depart from the site.


As the activist group hold open the office door and debate whether to leave, one of the new arrivals says, "can I ask you politely to shut the door and leave".

One of the two men asks XR if they "know what Athena do[es]", citing its claims to sustainability. A protestor responds, "we all know that's just marketing".


Police inform the activists that if they stay any longer, they will risk being put under arrest.

Two men, seemingly representatives from Athena, arrive by car.


XR protestors put up signs in the hallway of the office, with slogans including 'Eddington = Ecosystem Destruction'.


Activists are putting up posters in the office while drumming, with two police liaison officers present.


A group of around 10 XR Protestors - including two young children - has entered the Athena Sales & Marketing office on Eddington Avenue, in West Cambridge, for their latest action.

Athena is a joint project by the University and the property development company Hill, which is currently building around 250 residences for a 'sustainable community' called Eddington.

XR argue claim acres of farmland has been bulldozed to make way for the project, "exacerbating biodiversity loss". They further allege how houses in Eddington will cost upwards of £319,950, " all this while record numbers sleep on the street and a family becomes homeless in Cambridgeshire every five hours".


The Guildhall has been closed to the public today, which may make it difficult for XR to continue with its plans to hold a Citizens' Assembly in the building.


A 41-year-old female protestor from Cambridge remains in police custody this morning after being arrested for robbery at Shire Hall yesterday afternoon.

It is understood the woman is may have stolen a security pass from a staff member at the County Council after protestors were excluded from a meeting being held with the Greater Cambridge Partnership.


XR protestors have informed Varsity that today -after a debrief about yesterday's takeover of Shire Hall 10am - another action will take place in the early afternoon.

Activists are also planning to hold a Citizen’s Assembly at the Guildhall this afternoon.

Thu - 7:30am

On International Day of Social Justice, the theme of today’s XR protest is 'Another World is Possible'. 

According to a statement from XR about the theme, protestors will “join together to collectively challenge the injustices we face.” 

“Whether this is through innovative political processes like the Citizens’ Assembly, or through direct action, we will ask people to come together to fight for a fairer world,” the statement continues.


See XR Cambridge's "Meet the Rebels" video published just now on Twitter to hear from some of the protestors taking part in this week's climate activism in Cambridge. 

“When we did the April rebellion in London, parliament declared a climate emergency and opinion polling showed that people actually started caring about the climate emergency in a way they never had before – and so we’re doing it in Cambridge.”


Cambridgeshire Live has reported that XR protestors have been threatened with an acid attack and other death threats over the week. 

On Tuesday, a man walked through the camp at the blockade wearing a mask and warned "there will be more of us, so watch out." 

A protestor at the scene said: "It was scary, it was frightening, it was traumatising."


A photo from this morning shows XR protestors having a veggie dance party at the blockade.


Tilly Porter, the third year XR protestor at King’s College, has been named as one of the six protestors who have been charged following yesterday’s action. Tilly has been charged with criminal damage after sticking herself to the entrance of the Schlumberger Research Institute yesterday.


XR Rebels are now departing Shire Hall, drumming through the building. At least one arrest has been made at the scene since the start of the disruption. 


XR rebels have dropped a banner from the balcony at the front of Shire Hall, and are chanting “Whose council? Our Council!” and “When I say Climate, you say Justice!”


An arrest has been made of a female activist, and she is escorted inside a police van.

Inside Shire Hall, XR activists are currently sitting in a corridor at the top of the front entrance, drumming and clapping.

A spokesperson from the Council said, “We hope that people are respectful when they come to meetings. We’ve got people here who really want to listen to what’s going on in the meeting.”


Protestors attempted to engage in negotiations with Councillors, who have now moved their meeting to a private room which is being live-streamed online for public visitors who had come to listen to the meeting.

The group alleges a disabled member of XR was also prevented from accessing the meeting in her wheelchair. 


A group of around 30 XR protestors have disrupted an executive board meeting of the Greater Cambridge Partnership at Cambridgeshire County Council.

The activists argue this afternoon's action highlights how the Partnership's has failed to deliver on a pledge to increase spending on transport improvements, after it was awarded a grant of £100mn for this purpose in 2013. They argue that so far, one electric bus has been delivered.

12.30 am

Six of the seven Extinction Rebellion protesters arrested yesterday have been charged with criminal damage offences.

All six have been released on police bail, and will appear before Magistrates Court on March 30.

The three who have been charged with damaging the grounds at Trinity College are all from Norfolk.

The three charged for the protest at the Schlumberger building yesterday are all from Cambridge. 

Wed - 10:05 am

XR held a meeting this morning concerning the group's plans for today.

They reiterated to Varsity actions will focus on their demand directed at Cambridgeshire County Council: working with other relevant regional authorities to provide a plan for a just transition away from an inadequate transport system reliant on fossil fuels.


Following Monday's theme of 'land exploitation', today's of 'toxic ties to fossil fuels', XR protests tomorrow will focus on 'transport'.

It is unclear at this stage what exactly this will involve, but actions will reportedly centre around a 'just transition away from our car-dependent infrastructure'.

Stay with us as we provide further updates tomorrow.


Seven people have been arrested today on suspicion of criminal damage in connection with protests in Cambridge.

A total of five were at the protests today.


XR protestor are set to embark on a slow cycle ride starting and ending at the blockade, stopping at petrol stations along the way.


Another police van has arrived at the site, adding to the previous four vehicles already there. 11 officers made a barricade to prevent XR protestors from approaching it.

XR activists had stuck themselves to the other vans, so they could not be used to drive off with the two women under arrest. The women have now been escorted to the most recent police van and been taken away. 

Specialist police who deal with protestors have also arrived to unstick protestors from the vans.


A second arrest has been made, of another female protestor. When asked her name, she responded, "Earth Goddess" and added, "I’m doing this for everybody, I’m doing it for the planet".

Police liaison officers and a second support unit van have also arrived to provide further support to authorities.


An arrest has been made of one protestor after she spray painted XR's logo and name onto the window pane of the Institute.

As she is led away to the police support unit van and put inside, XR activists follow and surround the van, while drumming.


Speaking to Varsity, one third year undergraduate student from King's, Tilly, says, "we are aware we are putting ourselves at risk putting ourselves against our university. but we most fight against our university. We have to take a stand."

"I'm about to sit my final exams, and they could kick me out right now but there is nothing that can happen to us here that can compare to the sacrifices to people around the world."


Protesters are currently standing outside the Research Institute in a circle drumming, whistling, and chanting slogans including: "no you can’t drive a car when you’re dead, no you can’t drill for oil when you’re dead".

The building is seemingly empty of the Institute's regular employees, except security who have been stationed inside in entrance. A police support unit is present at the West Cambridge site.


XR protestors have arrived at the Schlumberger’s Research Institute in West Cambridge.


XR Cambridge and XR Youth Cambridge protestors are set to occupy oilfield services company Schlumberger’s Research Institute in West Cambridge.

Schlumberger’s research develops methods to extract fossil fuels through Arctic exploration, deep-sea drilling, fracking and “re-fracking”. One of the XR's demands is that Cambridge University cut all ties with the fossil fuel industry.

XR activists are protesting the University's provision of training and resources for the fossil fuel industry through the Schlumberger Cambridge International Scholarship and the Schlumberger Professorship of Complex Physical Systems.


Cambridgeshire police confirmed today that a 19 year old was in custody, following yesterday's action at Trinity College.


A video published on Cambridgeshire Live shows a protester being led away by police from the blockade today. Protestors beat drums and clapped as she was put into a Police Support Unit vehicle.


Speaking to Varsity, Annie, a participant at the protest, acknowledged that their “digging up of a bit of lawn” was the top trending topic in the UK: “Why are we so bothered and upset by a little piece of elitist land? Suddenly everyone cares about this… but not about the wholesale destruction of aboriginal lands.”


Jason Scott-Warren, Gonville and Caius English fellow and member of XR, attended the blockade to show his support. When asked about XR digging up Trinity College’s lawn, he said that although he is not a fan of “vandalism”, in this case, “it is not a big deal compared to the damage Trinity are doing with its investments and land ownings. It is a legitimate form of protest.”


In a feedback session debriefing yesterday’s digging up of the grass outside Trinity College, XR rebels discussed the national reaction to their actions: “It is not about XR being in the news, but it is about Trinity College, and the fact they invest in fossil fuels and land injustice, being in the news. We haven’t achieved this before.”

Tue - 09:00am

For the third day of XR’s week-long shutdown of Cambridge, activists are leading with the theme of ‘fossil fools’, following yesterday’s theme of ‘land exploitation’. XR rebels are calling for an end to the "harmful relationship” with “climate criminal corporations like BP, Shell and Schlumberger”.  

Sun - Mon

Following an eventful first two days of actions (read our summaries of day one here and day two here), Varsity will be providing live updates on the main events as they unfold throughout the week.