Teenage Activist Climbs Construction Crane as Protest

Category: Science/Environment


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. cause / kɔz / (n) – a belief, idea, or goal that a group supports or fights for

    This organization supports several causes such as free education for all.

  2. urge / ɜrdʒ / (v) – to strongly convince someone to do something

    In his speech, the prime minister urged everyone to follow rules on safety.

  3. in place of / ɪn pleɪs əv / (idiom) – as a replacement for something

    Most vegetarians use tofu in place of meat when they cook.

  4. demonstration / ˌdɛm ənˈstreɪ ʃən / (n) – a public gathering where people show support or resistance to something

    There were thousands of people who attended the demonstration for animal rights.

  5. apprehend / ˌæp rɪˈhɛnd / (v) – to capture someone for a crime

    The thief was apprehended at the crime scene.


Read the text below.

A young protester from the environmental activist group Extinction Rebellion climbed a construction crane in Norwich, United Kingdom, and camped there for a few days.

Alex Sidney, a 17-year-old activist, performed the act to protest for the group’s causes. He said that he climbed the crane to urge the English government to act against climate change.

Sidney stayed about 108 feet above ground having very few supplies with him, such as a sleeping bag, a liter of water, a portable stove, his phone, and a speaker. While he was camping out, Sidney hung banners of the organization from the crane.

Extinction Rebellion was protesting against the construction of a new road in Norfolk among other things. According to the group, the project would damage the site, harming both trees and wildlife.

James Graham, the organization’s spokesperson, stated that the crane protest was done in place of a massive protest originally planned by the group. The demonstration had to be canceled due to the nationwide lockdown in England. Graham added that the group made sure that the crane protest was done with Sidney’s health and safety in mind.

The Norfolk Police deployed officers to remain at the scene of the incident. The teenager’s protest lasted for two nights. He climbed on Saturday morning and came down on Monday.

Sidney was arrested later, along with three other individuals who were involved in the incident. The Norfolk Police said the teen was apprehended for several reasons, including suspected violation of Covid-19 protocols and trespassing.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you think the crane protest was an effective way to deliver Extinction Rebellion’s message against climate change? Why or why not?
• In what other ways can the organization communicate its demands to the government? Discuss.

Discussion B

• For what causes would you be willing to join a protest (e.g. climate change, human rights)? Discuss.
• What do you think people should avoid when staging protests (e.g. resorting to violence)? Discuss.