Many of the businesses on Deansgate affected by the closure seemed cheerful about the occupation. Chris Seville, of Forsyth’s music shop, said they would just get their deliveries round the back – “and maybe we will sell a few more drums this week”. Like Lee Scholes, the manager of the Sofa Workshop next door, he said he supported the aims of the protesters. Seville was worried about the Amazon rainforest, while Scholes said he would get behind “anything that is about reducing carbon emissions”.
Activists protesting against climate emergency set up camp kitchen in busy Deansgate
Last modified on Fri 30 Aug 2019
Extinction Rebellion protesters have begun blocking Manchester’s Deansgate in protest at the “huge contradictions” of a city region that has declared a climate emergency planning to massively expand its airport.
A yellow boat bearing the words “Planet Before Profit” was parked at the John Dalton Street junction and a tipper truck arrived packed with straw bales. Soon, guerrilla gardeners had set up a nursery of plants on what is one of Manchester’s most polluted streets, and a camp kitchen began to be erected.
As the demonstration got under way, Richard Katsouri was ready. His deli, Katsouri’s, is famed across Greater Manchester for its sausage paella and huge hot roast meat baps, carved as customers wait. He had tweaked the menu to capitalise on the four-day environmental takeover of the road outside.
“We’ve ordered in loads of vegan sausages for a vegan paella, we’ve made sure we’ve got a vegan soup option and we’re experimenting with falafel too,” he said.
Staff were dancing behind the counter as they served up breakfast barms at 8.30am. They appeared to be enjoying the drummers who were banging away outside as dozens of Extinction Rebellion protesters worked to block all access routes on to a key section of Deansgate, one of Manchester’s busiest shopping and eating streets.