Teenager climbs Norwich crane in Extinction Rebellion protest

By Edd Dracott, PA
·3-min read

A teenage Extinction Rebellion protester has climbed a crane and three others have been arrested in Norwich.

Alex Sidney, 17, scaled the crane on Duke Street early on Saturday morning carrying a sleeping bag, supplies and several banners promoting the climate protest group.

“I’m up here to tell the Government and the council to get up off their arses and do something, because I’m worried about the climate,” the teenager from Dereham, in Norfolk, told the PA news agency from the crane.

“I’m desperate because there’s no easy fix, there’s no alternative, and my generation are the ones inheriting this planet – so I really want to try and not let it go to waste.”

Alex, who is currently on a gap year, will remain on a gantry outside the crane’s cab, which he said is around 33 metres high, for an “indefinite” time, although rain forecast in the area later on Saturday could force him back to the ground.

“It’s not too bad up here, actually, it’s just a bit windy right now,” he added.

“But we’re forecast for rain here and I haven’t got a tent or tarpaulin to cover me, so it’s not going to be a very fun night.

“I will probably end up getting down when I get completely drenched and start to get mild hypothermia.

“For now, my main aim is to ensure that these banners stay here.”

The crane is 33m high, according to Alex (Alex Sidney/PA)
The crane is 33m high, according to Alex (Alex Sidney/PA)

Norwich Police were called to the scene just before 6.40am and have arrested three people in connection with the incident.

Officers remain in attendance and have asked members of the public to avoid the area.

Alex said he has with him a sleeping bag, cushion, food, water, stove, basic tools and battery packs, along with his phone and a speaker for music.

Extinction Rebellion Norwich spokesman James Graham said the crane protest went ahead in place of a much larger demonstration which had to be postponed due to the national lockdown in England.

Alex has supplies with him atop the crane (Alex Sidney/PA)
Alex has supplies with him atop the crane (Alex Sidney/PA)

“The message, fundamentally is that while we know Covid is an immediate problem it does not trump the reality that our world is changing faster than the life on it, including us, can handle,” Mr Graham told PA.

“We need a radical change in the way we do things to change that, now.

“Yes, obviously working at height can be dangerous but in addition to the health and safety measures already in place on site to minimise the risk of accidents, Alex is a bright young man who is fully invested in his own safety.

“None of us want to see anyone getting hurt and we risk assessment all our actions beforehand.

“It was decided that this needed to be done as the risks of inaction on the climate and ecological emergency far outweigh any risks being taken by XR to curb inspire action.”