More than 30 people were arrested after climate change activists shut down Amazon warehouses in the UK on Black Friday, the retailer’s busiest day of the year.
Extinction Rebellion targeted 13 UK sites, including the retail giant’s largest distribution center in Dunfermline, Fife.
He said it needed to draw attention to Amazon’s alleged worker exploitation and wasteful business practices.
Amazon said it took its “responsibilities very seriously”.
The campaign group said they blocked multiple entrances using bamboo structures, locks and banners and had planned to stay for at least 48 hours.
However, some blocks were removed by mid-afternoon.
The demonstrations began at 04:00 GMT at the Dunfermline warehouse, where around 20 activists stopped trucks entering the site and some exiting.
- Protests hit Amazon on Black Friday
The group also targeted sites in Doncaster; Darlington; Gateshead; Altrincham, Greater Manchester; Peterborough; East Midlands Airport, Leicestershire; Coventry; Rugeley, Staffordshire; Dartford, Kent; Bristol; Tilbury, Essex; and at Ridgmont, near junction 13 of the M1 in Bedfordshire.
A spokesperson said: “The action aims to draw attention to Amazon’s exploitative and environmentally destructive business practices, disregard for workers’ rights in the name of corporate profits and Black Friday waste.” .
Among those affected by the blockade was the transport company JR Dixon, based in Workington, Cumbria, which said that one of its drivers was unable to leave the Tilbury depot.
Phil Clarke of the company said this meant the driver may not be able to get to Warrington for deliveries or go home for the weekend.
“The ripple effect of these protests is harming businesses and people’s privacy,” he said.
Protesters in Rugeley said it was “non-violent action” and that there were about eight people on a bamboo structure, two on the top and six on the concrete structure below.
Alice Martin, part of the group, said she wanted to highlight Amazon’s use of “loopholes” to avoid taxes and the destruction of unsold products, including electronic items.
“We also have witnesses and people working internally who have reported that workers have been exploited, working hard shifts for long hours with low wages, so that’s all we want to highlight today,” he said.
Nathan McGovern, 22, at the blockade in Coventry, said he and other protesters were “disturbing and preventing any trucks from exiting and entering this facility.”
“We are doing this thanks to Amazon’s complicity and contribution to the climate crisis,” he said.
He said they hoped to stay for 48 hours, but it was up to the individuals if they wanted to stay all that time.
– JR Dixon ltd (@JRDixonltd) November 26, 2021
In Darlington, an unnamed protester said he was aware that he had “shocked quite a few people today”, but that he had put pressure on his own MPs and had “tried to use the usual ways and nothing is changing”.
Extinction Rebellion said the lockdown was part of an international action that would also target Amazon’s fulfillment centers in the United States, Germany and the Netherlands.
Group spokeswoman at the Dunfermline blockade, Meg Paton-Jones, said: “The police have a van in place and they are watching us.
“We started here around 04:00 GMT, but we’re not blocking the employee parking lot so the night shift can start.
“We have good vibes and music.”
An Amazon spokesperson said: “We take our responsibilities very seriously.
“This includes our commitment to be net zero carbon by 2040 – 10 years before the Paris Agreement – providing excellent pay and benefits in a safe and modern workplace and supporting the tens of thousands of small UK businesses that sell. in our shop.
“We know there is always a lot to do and we will continue to invent and invest on behalf of our employees, customers, small businesses and communities in the UK.”
Essex police said 17 people were arrested on aggravated trespassing charges following protests in Windrush Road, Tilbury.
Greater Manchester police arrested two men and two women on suspicion of public nuisance during the protest in Altrincham.
Five people were arrested by Kent police on aggravated trespassing charges after the demonstration at Dartford’s Littlebrook Business Center.
Four people were arrested by Durham police following a demonstration outside the Amazon depot in Darlington.
Scottish police said one person, who was not a protester, was charged under the Road Traffic Act in connection with the protest in Dunfermline.
Police said the officers left the scene at around 4:45 pm.
Amazon’s warehouse in Bristol reopened at 2pm and police were also called in for protests in Coventry and Ridgmont.
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