Joining protesters around the world, campaigners from the environmental group – as well as members of the International Solidarity Network and Articulation of the Indigenous Peoples of Brazil [AIPB] – gathered at the iconic central London spot on Sunday morning.
The dramatic demonstration was held in order to draw attention to more than 600 deaths suffered by indigenous people in Brazil, as well as raise money for medical funds. Protesters also gathered to oppose the ongoing deforestation of the Amazon rainforest and associated biodiversity loss.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion said: “To date, more than 21,000 APIB lives have been harmed by coronavirus in Brazil, with more than 600 lives lost.
“This alarming situation continues to grow more serious every day, because in addition to the threat of the virus, the threats of racism, illegal deforestation, criminal networks, mining companies, missionaries, and big corporations continue to advance further into the most vulnerable territories of Brazil.
“This rapid increase of violence and loss of life suffered by one of the most vulnerable communities in the world puts a high risk of indigenous genocide - losing with that thousands of years of cultural history and irreplaceable wisdom past on from generation to generation.”
As well as covering the steps in fake blood, activists also dyed fountains in the square a lurid green.
APIB protester Celia Xakriaba said: “It’s not just a number. Each indigenous body holds an ancestral enchantment. For each indigenous person who dies, part of our collective history dies too.”
Brazil has the second-highest number of coronavirus deaths in the world, with the toll topping 100,000 on Saturday – falling behind only the US.