So, you’re going to join thousands of others at The Big One, to show the government just how many people demand better from them. Brilliant! Here (we hope) is everything you need to know. Plans are still evolving, so it’s worth checking back later. The Rebellion Broadcast Telegram channel is a good way to keep up to date with developments, and the Oxfordshire Rebels in London Telegram chat will keep you connected on the ground.
The Big One will be a four-day gathering and protest in the area to the south of Parliament Square (the area was chosen to avoid clashes with the London Marathon). It will be a tremendously varied long weekend of protest, marches, performance, and people coming together to envision, and demand, a better future. It is entirely legal, and road closures have been negotiated in advance with the police.
Most of the basics are covered on the XRUK website – the FAQs at the bottom are particularly useful. There’s even more information available in the Rebel Toolkit.
If you’ve not been on a protest before, this video is a great little introduction:
XR Oxford’s plans
Travel: the Oxford Tube (slower, cheaper) and train (faster, more expensive) are the obvious ways to travel. Some Oxford rebels are planning to catch the 9am Oxford Tube at Gloucester Green on Friday 21st, and anyone is very welcome to join them. If you travel on a different bus, there are bound to be Extinction Rebellion people on it – just feel free to join them! Victoria, where the bus terminates, is a 15 minute walk from Parliament Square.
NOTE: if coming by train, you will need to travel to Marylebone on Chiltern Railways, because the railway between Didcot and Oxford is closed and a replacement bus service is in operation, affecting all trains to Paddington. Be aware that trains may be crowded.
XR Oxford has a participation fund to enable rebels on low incomes to join actions; for The Big One, it’s offering transport costs of up to £22 a day. It is now open for applications, which will be handled on a first-come first-served basis. Please make use of it if it would help you to be involved! Details are in the application form here.
Meeting Point: what people will want to do will vary day by day (see below), but we thought it might be good to establish a meeting point where Oxford rebels can try to find one another. Our previous meeting point, Dean’s Yard, is closed, so Oxford people will be meeting at 12 noon at the Corner of St James’s Park near the junction of Birdcage Walk and Horse Guards Road.
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The Oxfordshire Rebels in London Telegram channel is also a good way to locate other Oxford people. If this is your first XR protest and you would like a friendly personal introduction, please e-mail email@example.com
What to expect day by day
Each day will be different, but there is a plan for people will come together in Parliament Square at 3pm each day. It has been agreed with the police that we will start dispersing around 6pm each day, but there will be vigils continuing into the night.
Friday 21st: People’s Pickets
The machinery of state is being used against people and the planet, so we’re planning to protest (peacefully, inclusively and creatively) outside government departments, highlighting the ways in which each department is contributing to the crises we face. Everyone is free to join whichever picket suits their interests – see map.
XR Oxford will be at the Department for Education (DfE), urging them to Teach the Truth and fulfil their safeguarding obligations towards children who are growing up in a world increasingly destabilised by climate change. The DfE is located at 20 Great Smith St, London SW1P 3BT, a 15 minute walk from Victoria Station. The nearest tube is St James’ Park, 7 minutes from the DfE.
Alternatively, XR South East will be part of the massive Defra picket at 17 Smith Square, with a focus, among other things, on water pollution. Other Oxford rebels are planning to participate in the Treasury picket at 1 Horse Guards Road on the theme of Debt for Climate – or you can even picket-hop!
Pickets will be starting at 7am (in order to catch civil servants on their way in) and finish around 6pm. You are of course free to join when and for as long as suits you!
Saturday 22nd: Biodiversity March
1-3pm, Parliament Square: A massive biodiversity march and rally on Earth Day to honour and respect species endangered by the global ecological crisis. With sanctuary and family-friendly spaces, food, art-blocking, print-making, performances and amazing guests. Feel free to get creative! Make and bring nature-related banners, props and costumes.
All organisations are welcome to join; invite family, friends and everyone you know!
Sunday 23rd: Running Out of Time
The focus on Sunday will be participation and democracy – People’s Assemblies will be held to address questions of what kind of future we want to see, and how we want to get there. Also, the final stretch of the London marathon will intersect with the action, providing an opportunity to engage with the public and actively support those running in the marathon for causes amplified by the climate crisis.
Monday 24th: People’s Pickets again
On the last day, the demands of The Big One will be presented to government. XR Oxford will again be at the Department for Education.
And it doesn’t finish there! The four days of protest will be followed by time and space for reflection, and decision making as to where the movement we’ve been building goes next. XR will aim to keep accommodation and other areas open for group discussion, collaboration, experimentation and decision.
Amenities: see the Amenities for The Big One map for details on public toilets, water locations etc.
Accommodation: if you’re looking for overnight accommodation, camping and a limited amount of indoor accommodation is being arranged. Details of how to sign up are in the Rebel Toolkit.
Inclusion and Accessibility: The Big One aims to be as inclusive and accessible as possible. You may feel overwhelmed about how you will manage whilst in London. Our aim is to support each other and to help you find the access you may need. Information on provisions made to facilitate inclusion and accessibility is available on the Rebel Toolkit.
For further access information and needs, or to ask any questions, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
There will be a Families Hub on each day with talks and activities, such as games and Duplo. To keep up to date with developments, join XR Families broadcast on WhatsApp.
The Families Hub will be on the wide pavement area between the trees at the end of College Green, alongside Great College Street. The main theme of the day is protests outside Government departments. Some parents are keen to join XR Educators outside the Department for Education and there will be some educational children’s activities, but we need to be conscious to avoid overcrowding the pavements as the road there will be open. There will be other protests to visit and a noisy protest in Tufton Street with XR Rhythms.
The Families Hub will be in Parliament Square, next to the Abraham Lincoln statue, in front of Little George Street. The surrounding roads will be closed to traffic. XR Grandparents and Elders will be sharing the space and bringing eco-themed books for all ages and aprons with pockets full of interesting things. On Saturday there will also be a Biodiversity March starting from Parliament Square. There will be different ‘blocs’ within the march, some celebrating biodiversity and some mourning biodiversity loss. Families are recommended to join the celebratory bloc.
The Families Hub will be around the Abraham Lincoln statue in Parliament Square again. We should have a good view of London Marathon! Grandparents and Elders will be joining us again.
The Families Hub will be back at the end of College Green, as on Friday. There will be activities, but probably not quite so much as on previous days as we are expecting fewer families on Monday.
We Are All Crew!
What we achieve at The Big One involves everyone getting involved and helping out. As we’re expecting big numbers, we need a LOT of supporting crew! Don’t worry if you have very little experience as there will always be someone to buddy or support you, and it is a great way to really feel part of the event.
See the main on-the-ground crew roles and join a team right away. Just tick the box and you will be sent an email with more details of each role and a link to join the Telegram group chat. We particularly need stewards! It is the perfect starter role and you can even volunteer with your friends and family. Check out everything you might want to know about Stewarding here.
Extinction Rebellion Oxford is really looking forward to many people from Oxford joining us in London for The Big One. Whether you have ever been to an event like this before or not, everyone is welcome! It is time to come together to deliver an urgent message to those in power. Together we can make our voices harder for the government to ignore. We are aiming to make this the biggest climate protest ever held in the UK. And we are looking forward to seeing you there!