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Ripples of Rebellion: Extinction Rebellion’s Venice Statement

Awakening to a Green Canal

Credit: DepositPhotos

Venice greets an unusual morning: its iconic Grand Canal is a startling fluorescent green, a visual protest by Extinction Rebellion (XR) beneath a banner: “While the government speaks, we hang by a thread.”

A Bold Statement at the Rialto

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Activists scale the historic Rialto Bridge, releasing a chemical dye into the canal waters. The act is symbolic, a vivid call to action against climate inaction.

Target: COP28 Climate Summit

Dubai, UAE, Nov. 30 2023: Flags of COP28, UNFCCC and UAE waving on a clear day. 3d illustration render. Selective focus. Rippling fabric — Photo by rarrarorro

XR’s protest targets the COP28 summit in Dubai, chaired controversially by an oil company CEO, drawing attention to the involvement of numerous fossil fuel lobbyists.

XR’s History of Dramatic Activism

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XR is known for its dramatic demonstrations worldwide, including gluing themselves to a Picasso painting and spraying fake blood on buildings to highlight climate crises.

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Venice’s Mayor: A Plea for Respect

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Venice’s Mayor, Luigi Brugnaro, condemns the protest, emphasizing the city’s fragility and the disruption caused to public services and transportation.

The Cost of Defiance

Credits: DepositPhotos

Brugnaro vows to pursue legal action against XR activists. In Italy, defacing protected sites can lead to heavy fines and imprisonment.

Recent Protests in Italian Cities

Extinction rebellion protest spray chalk spraying branch financial bank. They wrote symbol circle represents planet stylised hourglass is a warning paint color, XR is carbon neutral, against financing — Photo by Vynikal

The narrative recalls recent similar protests by Ultima Generazione in Venice and climate activists in Rome, showing a pattern of escalating climate activism in Italy.

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Venice: A City at Climate Crossroads

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Venice’s struggle with mass tourism and climate change impacts is highlighted, underscoring why it becomes a focal point for climate protests.

An Accidental Precedent

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The narrative revisits an earlier incident where fluorescein accidentally turned canal waters green, an ironic foreshadowing of XR’s deliberate act.

Drought Hits Venice

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2023 sees Venice grappling with a severe drought, affecting its famous canals and transportation, further illustrating the city’s vulnerability to climate change.

The Substance Behind the Color

Credit: DepositPhotos

The use of fluorescein, a substance typically employed by building companies in Venice, is explained, linking its practical use to its symbolic role in the protest.

Looking Ahead: Venice’s Climate Future

Credits: DepositPhotos

The slideshow concludes with reflections on Venice’s future, balancing its historical heritage with the pressing need for climate action and resilience.

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