The Lord Mayor of Oxford, Craig Simmons, has backed Extinction Rebellion’s call for environmental action in London.

In a video published on the organisation’s YouTube page, Simmons called for activists to “Get down to London on the 7th of October” and join Extinction Rebellion, which is planning to stage almost two weeks of action in London and various other cities from October 7 to October 19. The period of action, known as the “International Rebellion,” aims to shut down Westminster for two weeks.

In a statement on the October Rebellion’s website, they said they would “peacefully shut down all roads into Westminster in Central London and non-violently disrupt the government until our leaders agree to take emergency action now.

“Direct action is a really important part of the political process,” said Simmons, who has taken several measures to support climate action during his time as Lord Mayor, including setting up a £10,000 Climate Change Fund.

He also participated in the Global Climate Strike in Oxford in September, part of a series of worldwide strikes generally credited to 16-year old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg.

Simmons added that “climate change is the most important issue facing humanity today,” in his call for people to join Extinction Rebellion, which will commemorate its first anniversary at the end of this month. Simmons, who began his year of tenure in May 2019, has also committed to being Oxford’s first zero-carbon Lord Mayor by offsetting the carbon impact of his civic activities.

Extinction Rebellion have repeatedly called for the government to declare a climate emergency, a measure which the Oxford City Council took in January of this year following a unanimous backing of a motion tabled by the Green Party.

London-based media have reported that around 30,000 people are expected to take part in the October Rebellion.

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