Extinction Rebellion protesters are 'shooting themselves in the foot' says Hucknall councillor
A Hucknall councillor says environmental protestors from Extinction Rebellion are just ‘shooting themselves in the foot’ with their current tactics of disrupting council meetings.
Coun Lee Waters (Ash Ind) was speaking after protesters forced a meeting of Nottinghamshire County Council’s pension fund committee to stop and continue behind closed doors.
The protestors brought – and banged – large drums to the meeting as part of the interruption.
Coun Waters, who represents Hucknall South at County Hall, said he sympathised with the group’s demands as he himself has been a long-standing critic of the pension fund’s unethical investments.
But he criticised the group for again disrupting a meeting at County Hall and said by doing this, they were just ‘shooting themselves in the foot’.
He said: “I totally understand and share Extinction Rebellion’s campaign to tackle climate change.
"I met protesters at County Hall before the meeting to talk about the work I am doing to force the Nottinghamshire Pension Fund to divest in companies with questionable environmental activities.
"The problem I have is that they forced a meeting to discuss this to be held behind closed doors and taken offline for large periods.
"This meant that councillors who refuse to divest in companies involved in fossil fuel extraction, could be largely unaccountable."
Coun Waters, himself a strong environmental campaigner, whose background is in finance, has repeatedly questioned the immoral investments of the £5 billion fund.
This includes exposing Nottinghamshire Pension Fund investing heavily in companies who mine coal and fossil fuels.
He promised to bang the drum for groups like Extinction Rebellion and others over the issue of ethical investments.
But he reiterated that disrupting council meetings was not the way to protest.He added: "I’ll continue to bang the drum for environmental campaigners until the pensions fund stop investing in companies who extract fossil fuel, other companies involved in production of weapons used by terrorists, ones involved in child trafficking and others involved in animal testing.
“I’m all for members of the public coming to meetings – but I am asking them to leave their drums at home.”