Friday, June 14, 2019

Climate change activists plan disruptive action at Cannes | Advertising Age

Extinction Rebellion, the environmental protest group that brought central London to a standstill in April, is heading to the Riviera for activity at Cannes Lions.

A group of activists is understood to be setting off on bicycles from London today, to reach Cannes by Sunday (presumably not entirely by bike). According to one source with knowledge of the group, activities will include a “careers fair” on the beach.

It's not clear whether the group plans large scale protests. Extinction Rebellion did send out a Facebook invitation entitled "Rebellion-sur-Mer" asking participants to join a “rebellious mini-adventure” and warning that there could be some action that would be “a little bit arrestable.”

Earlier this year, Extinction Rebellion’s climate change protests  brought central London roads to a standstill for ten days. Activists also caused damage at Shell’s London HQ and marched on the London Stock Exchange. High profile speakers at the protests included Greta Thunberg, the Swedish teenage climate change activist, and actress Emma Thompson. The group has been threatening to use drones to shut down London's Heathrow airport this summer. 

In May, Extinction Rebellion, which did not respond to a comment for this story, wrote an open letter to members of the ad industry urging people to use their skills and expertise to help shape public opinion around climate change. One member told the Guardian they were not not “singling out advertising, as we previously disrupted fashion week and are systematically challenging all industries who have the platform, influence and skills to tackle this epoch-defining crisis but are failing to do so in any meaningful way."

Extinction Rebellion may run into some speed bumps on the Riviera, though: Security has become increasingly tight at Cannes in recent years as the number of celebrity attendees has grown, and in the wake of the terror attack in Nice, which occurred shortly after the 2016 festival. It's become more common to see police in bulletproof vests carrying semi-automatic weapons along the Croisette, making "slightly arrestable" behavior feel a bit risky.

Still, Extinction Rebellion's profile received a boost this week when Radiohead announced that, following hacking of some its early archive recordings, it would make them downloadable with all proceeds going to the group.



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