Climate activist group the Tire Extinguishers claimed its biggest night of action yet against SUVs, with more than 600 vehicles “disarmed” in nine countries.
On the night marking six months since the launch of the campaign, which encourages people to secretly deflate SUV tyres, campaigners took action in the UK, France, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, Czech Republic and Canada.
“Brave citizens around the world last night … deflated the tires of at least 600 SUVs, exactly two months before the UN Cop27 climate summit opened in Egypt,” said Tire Extinguishers. The group said the total was likely to rise, with more reports of actions expected.
“The movement has now deflated the tires of approximately 9,000 SUVs in cities around the world since March, striking continuously, and is expected to exceed its goal of 10,000 deflated SUVs by Christmas,” the statement added.
The group said its aim was to “make it impossible to own an SUV in urban areas around the world”, condemning the vehicles as “useless ‘luxury emissions’, flaunted by the wealthy, which are a climate catastrophe, cause air pollution and make our roads more dangerous”.
He points to research published in 2019 by the International Energy Agency that found SUVs were the second biggest cause of the global increase in carbon dioxide emissions over the past decade. But the group also opposes electric SUVs “on the grounds that they are still dangerous in urban areas”.
The campaign is being coordinated through a website that hosts instructions on using lentils or other legumes to block the valves on SUV tires from opening, slowly deflating them. They are calling on militants to carry out nighttime sabotage raids and leave a leaflet on the windscreen of each vehicle explaining to the owner why they were targeted.
SUV owners who have been victimized by the campaign include John Browne, the former chief executive of BP, and EastEnders actor Jessie Wallace, who posted a photo of the letter left for her by activists on Instagram , commenting, “These motherfuckers should be locked up. »
A Metropolitan Police source said the force was unable to confirm claims by Tire Extinguishers that actions had been launched in London. Investigations within the force had revealed no documents about the group, he said. We wondered if deflating a car tire without damaging it was even a crime.
The shift to covert action marks a shift from the stance of Extinction Rebellion, Just Stop Oil and other recent climate campaigns, which have called on members to account for any potentially unlawful action, with their subsequent arrests and prosecutions making integral part of their protest. strategy.