Disturbing images have emerged on social media of a sticker saying coronavirus is the 'cure' and 'humans are the disease' with Extinction Rebellion branding.
The pictures were tweeted this morning by an account claiming to be the East Midlands branch of Extinction Rebellion (XR).
People were understandably outraged by the statement, and the images have been retweeted by thousands of people who are furious at the sentiment.
While it's true that there have been some temporary environmental benefits of the restriction of movement recommended by governments around the world to halt the spread of coronavirus, it should go without saying that a global pandemic which has killed thousands is no reason to celebrate.
People were quick to take the tweet at face value, and blame XR for spreading such disturbing rhetoric, but it's as yet unclear who is actually responsible for the sticker.
Extinction Rebellion UK, a much bigger account with over 40,000 followers which is largely considered to be a reliable source of the organisation's point of view, condemned the message and blamed "far-right groups" for the stickers.
They also called on people to report the original tweet to help get the account suspended.
A statement tweeted out by Extinction Rebellion UK account says:
As coronavirus takes hold of our day to day lives, the way we organise and support each other will change. We will lose much we hold dear. This calls for an evolution – not a shelving – of our rebellion. This is a time to remember what we are rebelling for – a thriving and just world of regenerative cultures that can weather crises, foster cooperation and look after each other on a global scale.
In response to the coronavirus outbreak, XR launched a campaign called 'Alone Together', which encourages community care, empathy and digital mobilisation. They say:
We are living through an emergency response that shows us things can be done differently. The possibility is opening up to make the necessary and urgent changes to respond to the intersecting global crises – financial, health, climate and ecological – creating a world where life can thrive.
Extinction Rebellion is a decentralised movement, meaning they have no official leader. As a result, it is possible that different members and branches of the organisation could have differing views. As of yet, there is no further information about who is responsible for the stickers.