Activists spent almost 20 minutes with their hands glued to the public gallery and buttocks facing the chamber
— Semi-naked climate change protesters interrupted a House of Commons Brexit debate and glued their hands to the glass of the public gallery, spending almost 20 minutes with their buttocks facing the chamber.
MPs attempted to continue the debate during the peaceful protest by 11 activists from Extinction Rebellion, though several made coded mentions to the protest in their speeches.
Protesters had slogans daubed on their chests, including “for all life” and “SOS” and two more wore grey body paint and elephant masks, which the group said referred to climate change as “the elephant in the room”.
MPs react as semi-naked climate protesters disrupt Brexit debate – video
Police cleared the public gallery in the House of Commons and then removed the protesters individually, some of whom were carried out by officers.
The police later said 12 people had been arrested “for outraging public decency”.
The protest began during a speech by the Labour MP Peter Kyle, who was arguing in favour of his motion to add a confirmatory Brexit referendum.
The Tory MP Justine Greening congratulated Kyle for “fleshing out his arguments very well indeed” and Kyle in turn thanked the Conservative MP Steve Brine for a “cheeky intervention”.
The Conservative Nick Boles congratulated Kyle for delivering his speech “with a certain amount of distraction” and quipped that many of his Tory colleagues appeared to be missing from the benches around him including “a noted naturist”.
Boles was referring to the Brexiter MP Bernard Jenkin – who enjoys nudism as a private hobby.
In a point of order, the Conservative MP Nigel Evans said the House of Commons had dealt well with “a distraction, not a disruption to our proceedings” and thanked thanked police and Commons officials.
The Speaker, John Bercow, also thanked officials after the protesters were removed. “We just press on with the debate, that is what we are here to do,” he said, to cheers in the chamber.
In a statement after the protest, one of the activists, Mark Ovland, said climate change was being “flagrantly and recklessly ignored by our government and media” and the group wanted to draw attention to the crisis during the debate on Brexit.
“By undressing in parliament, we are putting ourselves in an incredibly vulnerable position, highlighting the vulnerability that all of us share in the face of environmental and societal breakdown,” he said.
Another of the activists, Iggy Fox, said: “I’m tired of the time and resources our government wastes rearranging the deckchairs on the Brexitanic. It’s high time politicians stop beating around the bush and tackle the environmental crisis head on, like they should have done years ago. I won’t stop causing disruption until the government does its duty to protect the people from disaster.”
by Jessica Elgot | The Guardian