‘This Machine Kills Kids’: SUVs Hit With Spray Paint in Bristol

‘It's getting ridiculous!’, said one Range Rover owner.

by Clare Hymer

5 April 2023

Around six vehicles were vandalised. Chris Bailey/Bristol Live

Climate activists have welcomed the news that SUVs have been targeted with spray paint in Bristol.

“This machine kills kids” was spray-painted onto the doors and bonnet of around six vehicles on Sunday night in Clifton, Bristol’s most expensive suburb, according to Bristol Live.

Chris Bailey, the owner of one of the vehicles, told the website his Range Rover has been targeted twice in the space of four weeks by climate activists.

“Our car was one of six that I counted. We also had our tyres let down a few weeks ago,” he said.

“It’s getting ridiculous, twice we’ve been hit in a month!”

“Activists creeping around the streets at 2am, letting tyres down, and spray-painting any vehicles that are not electric, is causing a negative connotation with climate change, and people are becoming very resentful towards the movement,” said Bailey. 

“Instead these people could do helpful tasks, such as volunteering, to bring a positive association to climate change.”

SUVs, which are more polluting than normal cars – and are also more deadly when striking pedestrians – have been the target of a recent wave of climate activism. Since March 2022, guerilla climate group the Tyre Extinguishers have targeted over 10,000 SUVs across 15 countries, deflating their tyres and making them temporarily unusable.

The Tyre Extinguishers usually put letters explaining their actions on the windscreens of SUVs, saying: “We did this because driving around urban areas in your massive vehicle has huge consequences for others.”

In Bristol, SUV owners have started putting anti-theft dust caps on their tyre valves, while the Telegraph has warned its readers not to buy SUVs in case they get targeted.

In March, members of the Bristol branch of the group told Novara Media they were keen to escalate their tactics. 

“It might be better to have the car moving but shamed,” said one. “So we ‘decorate’ the car to make people aware that it’s not that you [the owner] are successful or amazing, it’s that you’re a climate criminal who’s fucking over other people.” 

The Tyre Extinguishers told Bristol Live that they were not involved in the incident on Sunday evening, however. A spokesperson said: “We didn’t do this, but we love it, and hope that lots of other people do the same!”

Clare Hymer is a commissioning editor at Novara Media.

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