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West Norfolk climate campaigners begin hunger strike

A group of West Norfolk environmental activists has begun a hunger strike in protest at what they see as a lack of action to tackle climate change.

Four members of the borough’s Extinction Rebellion group are taking the action for up to seven days in a move they hope will finally force the authorities to act.

A statement from the organisation described the move as a “last resort tactic.”

Extinction Rebellion activists Walkiria Bass, Jan Smith and Liz Pendleton are taking part in hunger strikes (22123219)
Extinction Rebellion activists Walkiria Bass, Jan Smith and Liz Pendleton are taking part in hunger strikes (22123219)

They said: “Our leaders have abandoned us as the catastrophe escalates with each passing day. By denying themselves of their basic needs, the hunger strikers hopes their bodies will sound the alarm.”

The move comes as Norfolk County Council prepares to debate a new strategy, which includes a commitment to net zero carbon by 2030, next week.

But, so far, West Norfolk Council has declined to declare a climate emergency, despite repeated calls from opposition councillors and protesters.

The group says it has written to every borough councillor requesting a meeting with them and an explanation of why they have chosen not to act so far.

The authority’s leaders have repeatedly insisted that work on how to tackle the crisis is ongoing and have rejected suggestions that they are denying there is a problem.

But Walkiria Bass, one of the activists who is taking part in the hunger strike, said one councillor was also taking part in the strikes, while two others had agreed to meet with them.

She said the strikers were abstaining from food for as long as they felt able and only eating a small meal when they felt they needed to.

Meanwhile, a separate group, calling itself Climate Genocide Act Now, has called for police to investigate Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his predecessors, Theresa May and David Cameron, over what it says are their “crimes against humanity and genocide.”

Norfolk Police has confirmed a representative of the group did visit its headquarters in Wymondham this morning to make a complaint. However, a spokesman said he was advised to voice its concerns to Parliament.

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