Protesters march in the street. At their head is a banner saying "Youth Climate Swarm"

Super Saturday of Protests To Hit Bristol

Saturday, February 12 is set to be one of Bristol’s busiest ever days for protest with six separate demos all called on the same day. 

Continued resistance to Priti Patel’s Borders Bill combines with anger at the recent Bristol Airport expansion decision and with public rage over rising costs of living and energy to produce a super Saturday of dissent in the city.

Bristol Airport Expansion 

Following the shocking and widely-condemned decision by planning inspectors last Wednesday to overturn North Somerset Council’s refusal of Bristol Airport expansion, campaign group Bristol Airport Action Network (BAAN) are holding a rally on College Green from 10.30am. 

BAAN have been at the forefront of resistance to the airport since 2019. They organised mass actions against the airport, pressured North Somerset Council, gathered thousands of objections for the public consultations and were represented at the inquiry last year. 

The planning inspectors’ decision was published in a 118-page document on Wednesday. A summary of key points can be found here.

Saturday’s rally, according to BAAN, is an opportunity for people to come together in opposition to the airport and share ideas for what comes next. There is a possibility for a judicial review and no doubt more direct action. 

Together With Refugees

From 11.30am until 1pm, Together With Refugees and Bristol University Amnesty International Society are holding a rally as part of the former’s Show Your Heart campaign in the run-up to Valentine’s Day. 

The Show Your Heart campaign is designed to rally MPs against the Borders and Nationality Bill which returns to the House of Commons in late March. The Bill seeks to criminalise refugees who arrive in the UK by “irregular means” such as sailing across the Channel. Campaigners point out that under international law no refugee or means of travel across borders can be considered illegal.  

The rally takes place at the Fountains, St Augustine’s Parade, where there will be speeches about the Bill. Participants are invited to bring orange hearts as well as banners, placards and music to show solidarity with refugees. 

Previous similar rallies, including one in December, have attracted large crowds. 

Full event details here.

Photo of a crowd taken from the back. Around 50 people are visible
A Together With Refugees rally in November drew large crowds. Image: James Ward.

Youth Climate Swarm

Returning after their December debut, Youth Climate Swarm will be blocking roads around the city centre from 12pm, after meeting in Queen Square.

The December action brought 40 youth activists, some as young as four, onto the streets to demand an immediate end to new fossil fuel developments, the insulation of Britain’s homes and free public transport for all. 

Check out this video from the last swarm to find out more about the group and what they want.

Cost of Living Crisis

Bristol People’s Assembly Against Austerity will protest rising energy bills and the cost of living crisis facing Britain with a demonstration on College Green from 1pm. 

The demo comes at the same time as demos in other towns and cities across the UK including London, Manchester, Newcastle and Nottingham. Public anger about energy price hikes, inflamed by the news that many MPs have their energy bills covered by expenses, has created the perfect environment to mobilise a mass protest movement. Whether Saturday’s nationwide demos will be the start of that remains to be seen. 

Anyone interested in helping organise Saturday’s demo can attend an open Zoom meeting on Tuesday at 7pm. Details of this are available here

Full event details for Saturday’s demo can be found here

#BoycottPuma

Bristol Palestine Solidarity Campaign and the Easton Cowgirls return for another #BoycottPuma demo outside Broadmead Sports Direct. 

Join from 2pm for a football game to raise public awareness of the #BoycottPuma campaign which aims to pressure sports apparel brand Puma to cut ties with the Israeli Football Association which includes teams based in and hosts matches played on occupied Palestinian territory. Rival company Adidas ended their links with the IFA in 2018. 

Full event details here.

A Palestinian flag drawn in chalk on the pavement.
A Palestinian flag chalked on the ground at a previous #BoycottPuma demo. Image: James Ward.

Barclays Action

Last but not least, XR Buddhists will protests outside Barclays bank in Broadmead to highlight the impact of Barclays’ investments in fossil fuels on the people of the global south. Barclays is the largest financier of fossil fuels in Europe and has been the target of several XR-associated actions in the past.

Participants will gather in Castle Park from 2.30pm before making their way to Barclays for a 45-minute meditation outside the branch building. The demo coincides with similar actions by other faith groups across the country.

Full event details here.

Correction: an earlier version of this post stated that the BAAN demo started at midday. Organisers have since changed the start time to 10.30am and this has been reflected in the article.

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