Extinction Rebellion targets Amazon's UK sites in Black Friday protests

Activists say distribution sites in the US, Germany and the Netherlands also targeted

Extinction Rebellion (XR) activists on Black Friday blockaded more than a dozen Amazon UK online distribution centres in co-ordinated protests against the retailer's global discount phenomenon.

XR demonstrators blocked Amazon's largest UK warehouse, in Dunfermline in Scotland, as well as sites across England collectively responsible for around half of its deliveries in Britain.

The group also said it had targeted Amazon's distribution sites in the US, Germany and the Netherlands, on the busiest day of the year for the retail behemoth.

The disruptive protests were “to confront the exploitative and environmentally destructive business practices of one of the world's largest companies”, XR said in a statement.

“The action is intended to draw attention to Amazon's exploitative and environmentally destructive business practices, disregard for workers' rights in the name of company profits, as well as the wastefulness of Black Friday”, an XR representative said.

The group blocked the entrances to the UK sites using bamboo structures and so-called lock-on devices, and displayed banners featuring slogans such as “Amazon crime”, “Infinite growth, finite planet”, and “Black Friday exploits people and planet".

The activists said they arrived at about 0400 GMT at the sites, which include locations in Newcastle, Manchester and Bristol, and aimed to stay for at least 48 hours.

Quote
The era of exploitative throw-away capitalism will soon be over
XR protester

Formed in the UK in 2018, XR regularly uses civil disobedience to highlight government inaction on climate change, but has sometimes drawn a public backlash — although nothing like the opprobrium reserved for offshoot Insulate Britain.

Eleanor Harris, from Glasgow, took part in the Dunfermline blockade.

“The era of exploitative throwaway capitalism will soon be over, either by changing to meet the challenges we now face or by the destruction of our global habitats and societies”, she said.

An Amazon representative said it took its responsibilities, including a commitment to be net-zero carbon by 2040, “very seriously".

“We know there is always more to do, and we'll continue to invent and invest on behalf of our employees, customers, small businesses and communities in the UK.”

Updated: November 26th 2021, 3:21 PM
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