Extinction Rebellion blockaded Amazon fulfillment centres across the UK as part of Black Friday protests.
Activists were carrying out the protests at 13 sites across the country, the group says it intends to stay in place for 48 hours.
From early on Friday morning, the group blocked a total of 15 Amazon fulfilment centres in the UK, Germany and the Netherlands.
The group is blocking the entrances using bamboo structures, lock-ons, and banners.
Blockades taking place at 13 UK sites
The UK blockades were taking place at the following sites:
- Milton Keynes
Blockade part of 'international action'
Extinction Rebellion’s (XR) Black Friday demonstration, with about 20 activists, started at 4am at the distribution centre in Dunfermline, Fife.
XR’s spokesperson at the Dunfermline blockade, Meg Paton-Jones, said: “The police have one van on site and they are watching us.
“We started here at about 4am but are not blocking the employees’ car park so the night shift can leave.
“We have good vibes and music.”
An XR spokesperson added: “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.
“The blockade is part of an international action by XR targeting 15 Amazon fulfilment centres in the UK, US, Germany and the Netherlands, aimed at highlighting Amazon’s ‘crimes’.
“This is happening in solidarity with activists and workers from the global Make Amazon Pay campaign, demanding better working conditions, clear environmental commitments, and for Amazon to pay their fair share of tax.”
Protester Eleanor Harris, from Glasgow, said: “It is essential we move to a new model of economics that prioritises wellbeing and sustainability over profit.”
Clarissa Carlyon, who is taking part in the action, said “I have joined this action because we must address the toxic consumerism that is driving the ecological crisis, and trapping us in business as usual. If we don’t talk about what consumerism is doing to our planet and our society then we will not address the planetary emergency that’s happening now. “
Police warning drivers of delays due to blockades
At the Dartford site, around 20 activists set up the blockade on a road at just before 5am.
Kent Police said: “Those present are situated in front of two entrances where some are locked on to concrete and wooden structures.
“Officers are in attendance and are working to end the protest whilst liaising with partner agencies, and the managers at the business, to minimise traffic disruption in the area.”
Officers from West Midlands Police were at the scene of the Coventry blockade from 4am and said they have been “managing traffic”.
Essex Police warned drivers of delays saying they expected the “disruption” to last into the morning’s rush hour.
The force tweeted: “We’re dealing with a protest outside an Amazon warehouse in Windrush Road, #Tilbury and engaging with people at the scene to ensure it remains safe. However, we expect the disruption to run into the morning rush hours and we’re asking motorists to take some delays into account.”
Meanwhile, a Police Scotland spokesperson said: “We received a report of a protest taking place on Amazon Way, Dunfermline, on Friday, 26 November.
“Officers are currently in attendance and engaging with the protestors.”
'We take our responsibilities very seriously'
Amazon said it is working to minimise any potential disruption to customers.
A spokesman said: “At Amazon, we take our responsibilities very seriously.
“That includes our commitment to be net-zero carbon by 2040 – 10 years ahead of the Paris Agreement – providing excellent pay and benefits in a safe and modern work environment, and supporting the tens of thousands of British small businesses who sell on our store.
“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.
“We’re proud to have invested £32 billion in the UK since 2010, creating 10,000 new permanent jobs across the country this year alone, and generating a total UK tax contribution of £1.55 billion in 2020.”