Newham Extinction Rebellion activists give politicians yellow card with help of 1966 World Cup winners statue
PUBLISHED: 12:00 03 December 2019
A sculpture celebrating England's 1966 triumph in the beautiful game has been the focus of campaigners' calls on politicians to up their game on the climate crisis.
Members of Newham's branch of Extinction Rebellion (XR) tied the activist group's flag to football legend Bobby Moore at The Champions statue in Barking Road, Upton Park, in a bid to encourage politicians to take a lead in tackling global warming.
Caroline Wilson, from XR Newham, said: "We are inspired by our heroes Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst, Martin Peters and Ray Wilson, football players who made such a positive impact on the world stage and achieved so much through their talents, commitment and teamwork.
"We need our politicians to raise their game and show real leadership in the challenge of tackling the climate and ecological crisis."
XR Newham's flag raising coincided with the launch of Extinction Rebellion's 12 days of crisis campaign on Sunday, December 1, with branches across the UK doing the same at public buildings, schools, offices and town halls.
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Caroline, explaining the choice of the bronze statue depicting the players' World Cup final celebration, said: "It's something quite recognisable and unique to our area.
"We didn't want to raise a flag at a building. We wanted to honour and be respectful to the players in the staute while promoting our message."
She added the flag was placed temporarily and didn't do the landmark any damage while members checked with a couple of West Ham fans before the action so as not to offend anyone.
About 10 XR members chatted about climate change and toxic air pollution in Newham, which according to the council kills 96 people prematurely each year in the borough, the highest rate in England.
The flag raising followed members setting up stall in Rathbone Market, Canning Town, on Friday, November 29, to spread the group's message and show solidarity to youngsters taking part in XR's schools strike.
It follows an activist, who was not from XR Newham, being pulled off a Jubilee line train at Canning Town station among protests in October which also targeted Stratford and Shadwell stations.