Climate activists to blockade major routes at Dover day after Brexit due
Climate protesters are planning to blockade the main routes in and out of Dover on the day after Brexit to deepen any disruption to Britain’s food imports.
Activists say their demonstrations on major roads from the port will “cause major delays but nothing critical”, and will “highlight the need for emergency action” on the climate and ecological crisis.
But news of the plans by Extinction Rebellion organisers on Saturday 30 March was met with an immediate backlash from supporters, who warned that delaying food supplies was unfair and risked turning the public against them.
There are already fears that Brexit could disrupt imports and exports of many goods if Britain leaves the European Union (EU) without a deal.
Half the UK’s food arrives through Dover and Folkestone, and in spring around 90 per cent of lettuces, 80 per cent of tomatoes and 70 per cent of soft fruit is sourced from or delivered via the EU.
On social media, the campaigners said: “While newspapers resound with predictions of empty supermarket shelves as a result of Brexit, this is nothing compared to the misery of climate crisis-induced famine and hunger. The Dover block will highlight the extreme vulnerability of British people to food insecurity and underline the need for government to take emergency action on the climate and ecological crisis.”
They said the blockade would be non-violent and was unconnected to Brexit.
“There is no doubt this will be a controversial action but rest assured, the Dover blockade will not stop medicine and food supplies getting through,” they added. “This is a symbolic one-day blockage.
“It will cause major delays, but nothing critical. Its purpose is to tell to the public and government to wake up; very soon we could have food supply collapse and medicine scarcity because of climate breakdown.”
The Extinction Rebellion movement, whose activists are prepared to be arrested in mass civil disobedience protests, is also planning international demonstrations next month to try to force world leaders to treat climate and ecological breakdown as an emergency.
Organisers insisted they had no political view on Brexit, adding: “There will be no food on a dead planet, only dead people.”
Supporter Lois Brooks warned the blockade could prove crippling to crop growers abroad, and Jonathan Griffiths warned it was a “massive mistake”.
He said: “If Brexit goes ahead as scheduled, Dover is likely to be in chaos regardless of this action. I think that XR acting to worsen this and the likely food/essentials shortages the UK will experience is a very bad idea.”
But another supporter said one day of action would have little impact on food supplies.
Organisers have issued three demands, including the creation of a citizens’ assembly to oversee policy changes to halt carbon emissions.