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Black Friday protest: Five bailed after Extinction Rebellion blockade Amazon depot in Dartford


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Five people arrested after a Kent Amazon warehouse was blockaded by climate protestors on Black Friday have been bailed.

Extinction Rebellion protesters stationed themselves outside the Dartford site yesterday in an attempt to disrupt the company's busiest day of the year, and draw attention to the environmental impact of Black Friday sales.

The group of more than 20 protesters blocked two entrances using bamboo, lock-ons, and banners with the words ‘Amazon Crime’ and ‘Infinite Growth, Finite Planet’ on them.

An access road outside the premises was obstructed shortly after 4.20am and campaigners locked themselves onto concrete and wooden structures, saying they intended to stay for at least 48 hours.

Police attended the scene in a bid to end the protest and minimise disruption, and traffic was moving at the business park by 9am.

Five people were arrested on suspicion of aggravated trespass and were taken into custody.

Police have this afternoon confirmed that all five have been released on bail, pending further inquiries, until Christmas Eve.

There is a sizeable police presence at the protests. Photo: UKNIP
There is a sizeable police presence at the protests. Photo: UKNIP
Protesters at the Amazon depot in Dartford. Picture: UKNIP
Protesters at the Amazon depot in Dartford. Picture: UKNIP
Extinction Rebellion protesters at the Amazon depot in Dartford. Picture: Denise Laura Baker
Extinction Rebellion protesters at the Amazon depot in Dartford. Picture: Denise Laura Baker

Traffic was moving at the business park by 9am yesterday, and all protest attendees had dispersed by 2.30pm.

The blockade was part of international action by Extinction Rebellion, targeting dozens of Amazon fulfilment centres in the UK, US, Germany and the Netherlands.

Other sites blockaded yesterday morning included Doncaster, Darlington, Newcastle, Manchester, Peterborough, Derby, Coventry, Rugeley, Bristol, Tilbury, Milton Keynes and Dunfermline.

One protester, Rob Callender, 31, a yoga instructor from Uxbridge, said: “We need to make Amazon pay for the damage it's doing to the environment, for the harm Jeff Bezos does trying to create and exploit a market for the mega-rich to get high on space tourism.

"Amazon should pay for the terrible damage hyper-consumerism is doing to our planet, creating emissions, poisonous waste and burned out workers who are denied the right to unionise in most places.

"Black Friday is a dark day for the planet."

Extinction Rebellion protesters at the Amazon depot in Dartford. Picture: Yaz Ashmawi
Extinction Rebellion protesters at the Amazon depot in Dartford. Picture: Yaz Ashmawi
Extinction Rebellion protesters are demonstrating at Amazon's giant new Dartford Warehouse. Photo: UKNIP
Extinction Rebellion protesters are demonstrating at Amazon's giant new Dartford Warehouse. Photo: UKNIP
Protesters at the Amazon depot in Dartford. Picture: UKNIP
Protesters at the Amazon depot in Dartford. Picture: UKNIP

Another protester who only gave his name as Alistair, age 72, added: “The scientists have told us in detail the consequences of climate change.

"Every day I wake knowing that governments and industry have agreed this is an emergency but are failing to act, ignoring the horrific consequences for my beautiful grandchildren and the millions of young people around the world. I cannot collude with this ecocide.”

The Extinction Rebellion action coincided with a global day of action against Amazon in over 20 countries by the Make Amazon Pay Coalition which has issued a call to action asking workers and activists to participate in strikes, protests and actions.

Dartford MP Gareth Johnson said: "It is not right for people to take the law into their own hands and impose themselves on others.

"People have a right to get to work without environmental extremists deciding that their views should trump basic freedoms.

Protesters at the Amazon depot in Dartford. Picture: UKNIP
Protesters at the Amazon depot in Dartford. Picture: UKNIP
Extinction Rebellion protesters at the Amazon depot in Dartford. Picture: Yaz Ashmawi
Extinction Rebellion protesters at the Amazon depot in Dartford. Picture: Yaz Ashmawi
Extinction Rebellion protesters at the Amazon depot in Dartford. Picture: Denise Laura Baker
Extinction Rebellion protesters at the Amazon depot in Dartford. Picture: Denise Laura Baker

"This doesn't just impact Amazon, but the thousands of small businesses that supply Amazon on the busiest trading day of the year."

A spokesman for Amazon 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."

However, the company said it aware there is "always more to do" and would continue to invest on behalf of its employees, customers, small businesses and communities in the UK.

"We’re proud to have invested £32bn 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 £1.55bn in 2020," they added.

The company would not be drawn on whether the protest would cause delays, other than to say they have other sites across the UK.

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