83-year-old Grandad Arrested for DLR Extinction Rebellion Protest

Extinction Rebellion focused on the financial sector, demanding they tell the truth about climate change and the catastrophic role the sector is playing.

The day began with five members of Christian Climate Action (CCA) climbing onto a roof of a DLR train, disrupting access to London’s financial district, Canary Wharf. The group sang hymns and held a prayer vigil during their occupation of the train. They also held up banners reading “don’t jail the canaries” and “business as usual = death”.

83-year-old Phil Kingston was one of those who climbed onto the roof of the DLR. The devout Christian and grandfather of four has been described by a close friend as a ‘normal family man’. Once a parole officer, Phil dedicated his life to developing support systems for families and children in trouble, training social workers at the University of Bristol until he retired. His peaceful activism is motivated by his Christian faith, and his belief that God wants to act through us by the Holy Spirit. Phil has been involved in non-violent direct action for the entirety of the rebellion – being arrested multiple times for XR.

After being assisted down off the roof, Phil Kingston was arrested by police and taken to Brewery Road Police Station. He and the other activists were release today (Friday).

Phil said:

“I don’t like having to break the law, I used to be a parole officer so I don’t do this lightly. But what other option do we have? We’ve tried marching and signing petitions and we’re still off track. Emissions continue to rise. How can I look my grandchildren in the eye and not do everything I can to ensure we don’t leave them a messed up world? It’s an issue of intergenerational justice. The next generation are going to have to pay our climate debts and that just isn’t fair

“People say I’m too old for this but I reckon I’m the perfect age. I don’t need to worry about an arrest making my CV look bad. I’m long past the need for one of those”

“Being a Christian is about sharing the love of God with others. Although the people at Canary Wharf may not appreciate it, this was an act of love for my children and grandchildren, and for the children and grandchildren of the people working at Canary Wharf too.”

Last week Phil shared the stage with Greta Thunberg at Extinction Rebellion occupied Marble Arch, where he shared:

‘We believe that we have freedom of speech, but there is a worldwide suppression of a debate about the relationship between the current global economy and the destruction of Earth…Who most suppresses this debate? Leading it are the top people in the biggest financial and commercial organisations. Who most works with them to suppress this debate? Virtually all heads of mainstream media. And tragically almost all politicians.

‘This economy has to be replaced by one which has two aims: the care and regeneration of the Earth and its life-forms; and the common good of all people, with no-one excluded. And hard as it may be to accept, this ‘no-one excluded’ must include those we may regard as enemies. They too are human beings, ones who have lost their way.

‘Be in no doubt that those who lead and support the current economy will do all that they can to avoid this debate. They have the power to back that up. We have something greater than power. We have authority: the authority of truth and love. God bless’

Holly Petersen

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