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Environmental campaigners rally against Black Friday's ‘catastrophic consumption’

BLACK FRIDAY was marked by protests across the country today, with Extinction Rebellion (XR) rallying against the “catastrophic effects of mass consumption” while trade unionists slammed conditions at Amazon.

The actions came as hundreds of thousands of children in Britain were out of school once again to join global climate strikes.

In Oxford Circus, shoppers were urged to rethink buying into black Friday’s “celebration of consumerism” by XR activists holding up signs reading “Fashion = Ecocide.”

Protesters wanted to highlight the harmful impact of the fashion industry — one of the world’s biggest polluters. 

“It’s an issue that really needs to be addressed,” XR activist Laura Krarup Frandsen told the Morning Star. 

“People are not aware of the true cost behind the things we buy and in general the whole material world we are surrounded by every day.” 

Ms Frandsen said that black Friday encourages “mindless consumption” of cheap goods where the “only ones paying the true cost are the planet and the workers.”

Martina Sorgai, who was also at the protest in London, said that one of the problems fuelling our consumer lifestyle is that “fashion is related to expression.”

“But we don’t need to buy things to express ourselves,” she said. 

The pair, who have both abandoned careers in fashion to be full-time XR activists, called on Brits to take part in a one-year fashion boycott in a bid to slow down consumption. 

In nearby Shoreditch, London, members of general union GMB staged a protest outside Amazon’s British HQ in solidarity with workers fighting for decent working conditions. 

Demonstrations also took place outside Amazon warehouses in Bolton, Manchester and Warrington, Rugeley, Coalville Peterborough, Newport and Sheffield.

The Amazon black-Friday protests follow investigations by GMB into “appalling” working conditions at the retail giant’s warehouses. 

“Workers are breaking bones, being knocked unconscious and being taken away in ambulances,” GMB national officer Mick Rix said — referring to recent reports that more than 600 ambulance calls had been made to Amazon warehouses in a three-year period.

“It’s about time [Amazon CEO] Jeff Bezos showed empathy with the very people that have helped build his vast empire and make sure it is not a black Friday for Amazon workers.”

Early reports from high street retailers and banks today indicated that this year’s black Friday shoppers could break purchasing records in Britain.

At 10am, Barclaycard said transaction volumes were up 12.5 per cent from last year.

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