The newly-formed Hastings and St Leonards Extinction Rebellion held three ‘die-ins’ across the town.
The public protests were held at Butler’s Gap, Priory Meadow and Hastings Pier on Saturday (May 18).
Approximately 150 people gathered at the three locations and lay down on the ground to stage a ‘die-in’ at a series of pre-arranged times,
The near-silent crowd feigned death together.
Participants also carried banners, flags and placards, and distributed information about the crisis facing the planet due to the impact of climate change.
Leo Beattie, one of the participants said: “I found it so encouraging to see such a diversity of people here today. The fact that pensioners, teenagers, kids and their parents have all turned up to get involved just shows the strength of feeling.”
The demonstration began on the West Hill early on Saturday morning, where there was a briefing for people who wanted to get involved.
Protesters liaised with police as they said a key element of the choice of ‘die-ins’ was that it was completely non-aggressive and peaceful, while conveying the life-and-death choices facing the world’s population.
At each of the three protests, the group’s Declaration of Rebellion was read aloud. Its contents helped explain the reasons behind the protests and the motivation for people of different political and social backgrounds to get involved:
It read: “The ecological crises that are impacting upon this nation, and indeed this planet and its wildlife can no longer be ignored, denied nor go unanswered by any beings of sound rational thought, ethical conscience, moral concern, or spiritual belief.
“In accordance with these values, the virtues of truth and the weight of scientific evidence, we declare it our duty to act on behalf of the security and well-being of our children, our communities and the future of the planet itself.”
The first ‘die-in’ took place at Butler’s Gap, in George Street where the space was filled with women, men and children.
Some shop-workers came out to join the demonstrators as they lay down in simultaneous protest, along with their flags and banners.
During each ‘die-in’, along with the Declaration of Rebellion, key climate change scientific facts and statistics were read out.
Other demonstrators also gave out leaflets, answered questions and chatted to members of the public, many of whom ended up joining in.
At the second ‘die-in’, at the Priory Meadow shopping centre, an ice-cream van sounded its chimes in support of the participants lying down in the sunshine.
At Hastings Pierthe group re-assembled to stage a last ‘die-in’.
Demonstrators lay in formation, creating a human Extinction Rebellion symbol to be viewed from the upper deck of the pier and stayed for a picnic and to meet and talk with new friends and whoever was curious to find out more.
Tamara Maas, who engaged in discussions on the pier, said: “I took away a feeling of warmth, togetherness and love. Can’t wait for the next one.”
The group said the demonstration was scheduled to raise awareness for the need to address climate change issues and, in the run-up to next week’s European Elections on May 23, to impress the need to make climate change issues the priority in their choice of vote.