An activist and supporter of the Extinction Rebellion movement launched a scathing attack on protestors who climbed onto London trains during rush hour on Thursday.
Kurdish-Iranian activist Penny Babakhani called out the group for providing ammunition to those opposing the cause and potentially rallying the public against them in place of focusing its attention on more urgent issues such as the destabilisation of the Middle East and the environmental impact of the "military industrial complex."
The 24-year old described the move as "frustrating to me personally" as she has been "desperately waiting" for someone to point out the destructive effects of Western militarisation on the global south only for the DLR protest to suck up "all of the media oxygen and attention."
Highlighting the difference between conventional environmental politics and Extinction Rebellion, Babakhani explained that the group is meant to address "what is causing the crisis and who we should be going after in terms of our disruption."
She specifically identified action taken against the BBC for a "lack of reporting on the climate crisis" as well as the shutting down of parts of the City of London to draw attention "to the links between investment and insurance and fossil fuels."
In reference to demonstrations by Scottish members outside the Supreme Court demanding an end to arms sales, she revealed that "very covert plans" were made to target institutions and organisations that support the arms trade and endless militarisation.
"Coming from the Middle East, this is the link that is almost too obvious for me to even state. Every war that gets fought in my home gets fought over oil," she said.
Continuing, she explained that she was looking forward to the group shining its "spotlight" on the issue of war, aided through it being a "predominantly white and middle class movement" to garner attention.
"We knew it was going to happen," she said.
"75% of those who were polled internally" opposed the action under any circumstances, she stressed, but the protest to stop the trains still went ahead.
Hitting out at the protesters actions earlier on Thursday on Twitter, Ms Babakhani also accused them of empowering the police, the press, and a government which is "seeking to greenwash" the environmental movement.
Dear @XRebellionUK,— Penny Babakhani (@PennyBabakhani) October 17, 2019
I'm going to be very real with you about why today's DLR action has made me – one of your activists – so angry. And I really do mean angry.
Our 5th principle is that "we value reflecting and learning". Well, reflect on this and learn from it.
Extinction Rebellion caught media attention this morning after a video emerged of furious commuters dragging climate change activists from the top of a train during a protest.
The move led to a backlash, including from the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, who strongly condemned the action as "extremely dangerous."
I strongly condemn the Extinction Rebellion protestors who have targeted the London Underground and DLR this morning. My full statement: pic.twitter.com/x17qrVDjx2— Sadiq Khan (@SadiqKhan) October 17, 2019
The protests have been banned in London entirely, but since last week activists under the umbrella of Extinction Rebellion have been disrupting traffic, blocking streets, and bridges in major urban centres throughout the United Kingdom and across the world.
The group has begun to direct its activities more towards opposing the military in recent months, with 21 activists arrested while attempting to block the 4 September London Arms Fair, and calling the US military "the world's biggest institutional consumer of petroleum."
Extinction Rebellion is an environmental pressure group established in the UK in May 2018, which uses civil disobedience to pressure governments into acting to tackle climate change and impose environmental protections with the intention of eliminating greenhouse gas emissions entirely by 2025 and achieving a a zero-carbon economy.