Latest protests show direct action campaign spreading fast, claim controversial group
Climate activists have said they deflated the tyres of 250 4x4s in Brighton and Hove overnight in protest against polluting vehicles.
A spokesperson for Tyre Extinguishers, a loose affiliation of demonstrators, said the action in East Sussex on Moday night showed their campaign was gathering pace.
The direct action protesters say large vehicles are a disaster for the planet because they cause greenhouse gas emissions, health problems from air pollution, and danger on the roads.
The group said the Brighton action was a response to the “deadly climate-change fuelled heatwave [affecting] billions of people across south Asia – something that will only continue to get worse”.
Spokesperson Marion Walker added: “It’s exciting to see how fast the campaign is spreading. Anyone can join in where they are.
“We want to see SUVs put in the dustbin of history, and this is the fastest way to do it.”
The group also said activists targeted more than 30 SUVs in the Edinburgh suburb of Portobello on Sunday night.
A spokesperson for the Edinburgh activists said: “Edinburgh’s politicians have been elected with promises to take action on the climate crisis, on air pollution and on road safety.
“But their plans go nowhere near far enough. Our message to them is: take real action, or we’ll take it for you.”
The Tyre Extinguishers movement also appears to have spread to other nations, with vehicles targeted deflated in Germany, Sveits, Nederland, New Zealand, Arizona and Colorado.
Activists urge followers to deflate tyres by forcing a small object – often a lentil – inside the air valve to hold it open until the wheel is flat.
But their methods are controversial and they have been accused of endangering drivers and sometimes “disarming” hybrid and electric vehicles.
A spokesperson from Sussex Police said the service received a number of reports of vehicles having their tyres deflated in Brighton and Hove overnight on Monday.
Inspector Nicky Stuart, of Brighton and Hove’s Neighbourhood Policing Team, sa: “We understand the impact these crimes have on the community and I would like to reassure the public that our officers are working hard to catch those responsible.
“We are exploring several lines of enquiry, but as always the public are our eyes and ears. If you see anything suspicious, have relevant dashcam, doorbell or CCTV footage, or any information that could help, contact police online or by calling 101, quoting Operation Extinguisher.”