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Extinction Rebellion students protest Black Friday

Coordinator of Black Friday Student protestor during die in

University students pretended to be dead on the floor of St. David’s, causing a mixed response from shoppers. 

Demonstrators were from the Cardiff student arm of Extinction Rebellion.

Cardiff students staged a die-in protest today in the middle of St David’s shopping centre against Black Friday sales and mass consumerism.

The group marched down Queen Street and through the busy shopping centre before lying down in the middle of a walkway for several hours.

“We’re not trying to blame people for shopping here today but just establishing that there is a problem with industry, pollution and emissions and that does end up on our shelves,” said Matt Tomlin, 20, Coordinator of Extinction Rebellion Cardiff Students. 

Those who weren’t lying down handed out leaflets on climate change. 

The demonstration got a mixed reaction from shoppers who had packed the centre looking for Black Friday deals. 

“It’s just so dumb. Surely there are other things you can do than lie on the floor. They would be better off going down to the beach and picking up litter if they have this time to just lie around,” said 18-year-old shopper Nancy.  

The group brought a variety of homemade signs and banners.

Other people passing by were more sympathetic to the protesters but were also enjoying the Black Friday sales. 

“I have three daughters to shop for so the discounts are to be enjoyed on a day like today… I agree that there’s too much thrown away, so I’m in support of them but then I think there are benefits to be had from Black Friday as well,” said Sarah, 52. 

Bert, 35, was sitting on a bench when the protesters began lying down in front of him, he said: “I’ve got no problem with them, people have a right to protest, as long as they aren’t causing disruption and there’s no violence. They are just doing what they believe in.”

The group took over one connecting bridge but shoppers were still able to pass either side.

Police officers accompanied the protesters into the building and stood watch but there was little hostility apart from some boos and heckles from shoppers. 

“I’m immensely happy with how it’s turned out,” said Sophie Anderson, 19, who helped organise the demonstration.

“Black Friday is a day on which mass consumerism and therefore over-production in general are almost celebrated… I think a lot of people will go away and think about fast fashion and technology and the industries in a way that they wouldn’t have before.”

Separate youth-led climate strikes also took place today outside city hall.

The protesters packed up and left St David’s voluntarily and no arrests were made.
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