A group of ‘Penitents’ wearing sackcloth paraded through Truro yesterday to the astonishment of shoppers.
Organised by climate protest group Extinction Rebellion, the demonstration saw participants walk in procession through the city before holding a silent ‘Penitential Ceremony’ outside Truro Cathedral.
This was to “atone for climate crimes”, which hang around their necks and was described as “an act of hope.”
It was based on the medieval idea of repenting transgressions against your community by wearing sackcloth and ashes and bearing your “sins” around your neck.
The silent ceremony outside Truo Cathedral. Photo: Photo: Gav Goulder
Julia Schofield, a member of XR Penitents, said: “Many children born today in the UK face food and water shortages, deeper floods, fiercer winds, increasing pandemics, unbearable heat-waves, droughts, frequent forest fires, poisoned rivers and atmosphere, and may even one day be climate refugees themselves.
“On top of those horrors, they will have to work on a treadmill to pay trillions to endeavour to mitigate these effects because this current generation is refusing to.
“Some countries where people are already dying because of climate change are also murdering their climate protestors to shut them up.
“In the Western World fossil fuel industries spend billions creating doubt and denial.”
The group said that carbon emissions should have started to go down after countries singed up to in the Paris Climate Change Agreements but claimed levels were in fact still is still rising.
Protestors wore climate messages around their necks. Photo: Gav Goulder
They described the off-setting as “equal to swapping deck chairs on the Titanic.”
The ceremony was just one of a large number of Extinction Rebellion actions happening in every city across the UK over the last few days and this weekend, involving local rebels forced to stay home because of Covid.
It leads up to a week of major actions in London, Manchester, Cardiff and cities worldwide including Amsterdam, Berlin, New York and Sydney, with the group saying they all highlighted the need for “urgent changes to address the world’s desperate climate and ecological emergency.”
Extinction Rebellion, launched in 2018 and known as XR for short, describes itself as an international “non-violent civil disobedience activist movement”.
The group uses an hourglass inside a circle as its logo, to represent time running out for many species.