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Berta Cáceres a powerful symbol of resistance at Extinction Rebellion protest

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Twitter photo via Juan Mayorga.

More than 682 people have now been arrested at Extinction Rebellion organized actions in London, England since Monday April 15.

Rebels have held key landmarks including Waterloo Bridge, Marble Arch, Parliament Square and Oxford Circus in central London for the past five days.

Central to the Oxford Circus occupation is a large pink boat named in honour of Indigenous land and water defender Berta Cáceres, who was the leader of the Civic Council of Grassroots and Indigenous Organizations in Honduras (COPINH)

Cáceres was murdered in March 2016 for opposing a hydro-electric dam on the sacred Gualcarque River on Lenca territory in Honduras.

Less than a year before she was killed, Cáceres stated, "Let us wake up! We're out of time. We must shake our conscience free of the rapacious capitalism, racism and patriarchy that will only assure our own self-destruction.”

She then highlighted, “Our Mother Earth -- militarized, fenced-in, poisoned, a place where basic rights are systematically violated -- demands that we take action."

The Extinction Rebellion media release issued at the beginning of this week also quotes Cáceres who said: "We must undertake the struggle in all parts of the world, wherever we may be, because we have no other spare or replacement planet."

On April 17, COPINH tweeted (in Spanish), "In London, the ship Berta Cáceres carries the 'Tell the truth' badge in honor of the search for truth and justice. In the world, Berta's struggle multiplies. Those who wanted to kill her did not realize that she was a seed."

That same day, Latinos in London tweeted (in Spanish) about the boat and the protest stating, "Berta will come back and it will be millions."

After five days at the centre of Oxford Circus, the police moved in to remove the boat.

On April 19, The Guardian reported, "Late on Friday afternoon police managed to remove protesters who were glued to the boat and dismantle the sound system that had been installed."

That article adds, "As police tried to remove the boat from the junction, protesters blocked side roads, attempting to thwart them, leading to a stalemate. In the evening, as the pink vessel was finally loaded into the back of a truck and driven away."

After this happened, British photographer Sean T. Hawkey posted on Facebook, "This symbol of the Extinction Rebellion needed hundreds of police to capture, but protestors moved in to take up the space again."

The boat was removed, but Cáceres' spirit of determination and resistance remained with the ongoing occupation of Oxford Circus. This is further proof that Berta did not die, she multiplied (Berta no murió, se multiplicó).

Brent Patterson is the Executive Director of Peace Brigades International-Canada, a political activist, and a writer. The Peace Brigades International-Honduras Project began providing protective accompaniment to COPINH shortly after Cáceres was murdered.

Image: Juan Mayorga/Twitter

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