Shoppers in Calderdale witness 'die in' protest by Extinction Rebellion protesters

Extinction Rebellion Calderdales protest under way at Morrisons in Todmorden last weekend. Picture: Geoff Winde
Extinction Rebellion Calderdales protest under way at Morrisons in Todmorden last weekend. Picture: Geoff Winde

Shoppers at a Calderdale supermarket witnessed a “die in” protest by environmental campaigners at the weekend.

Members of Extinction Rebellion Calderdale staged the event at Morrisons supermarket in Todmorden on Sunday (September 15), and later issued a statement saying the “die in” – which included campaigners lying down in the store’s aisles and the presence of red-costumed figures behind them – was “to highlight (the company’s) responsibility for worldwide Rainforest destruction.”

In reply, a Morrisons spokesman said activists had a right to protest, but added: “We would politely ask them to remain in a public place – rather than our store – and not disrupt our customers and colleagues.”

The protest was widely discussed on social media with some arguing the event disrupted people going about their daily business without warning causing inconvenience to unsuspecting people, others that issues regarding climate emergency need to be raised and the fact people were discussing it showed it had worked, and some being puzzled by what was happening or possibly frightened.

The campaigners handed out leaflets and have since explained they refer to palm oil used in some products on sale and for which rainforest is cleared to grow palm oil trees and soya beans with loss of habitat for affected animals.

Extinction Rebellion Calderdale said the red costumed figures were the first appearance of the Calderdale Red Rebel Brigade.

They later also put in an appearance at Incredible Edible’s harvest festival in Todmorden where Extinction Rebellion had a stall.

“The Red Rebel Brigade have been part of Extinction Rebellion actions over the past year and are the brainchild of Doug Francisco, founder of The Invisible Circus.

“It is a silent form of protest which is intended to act emotively on the viewer, as is the power of art.

“The red of their robes represents the blood of the species we have lost,” said Extinction Rebellion Calderdale on a Facebook post later in the day.

They added that ERC’s Red Rebel Brigade will be joining with others next month as part of Extinction Rebellion’s proposed London action starting on October 7.

Earlier this year Calderdale Council declared a climate emergency and Extinction Rebellion Calderdale members spoke at a council scrutiny board meeting this summer.

Extinction Rebellion campaigners refer to last October’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s report which warned that humanity has only 12 years to take emergency action in order to prevent global warming greater than 1.5 degrees centigrade above pre-industrial levels.

The report warns that any warming above this, by even half a degree, will significantly worsen the risk of drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people, including severe impacts in the UK, which were then outlined in a Met Office report issued last November.