Last Saturday morning local members of the climate activist group Extinction Rebellion (XR) staged a demonstration at the far end of the pier in which an array of children’s shoes were laid out in pairs as symbols of the risk to children’s futures due to inaction on the climate emergency.

The resulting performance tableau resembled, consciously or unconsciously, a memorial erected in 2005 in Budapest – Shoes on the Danube Bank. That permanent artwork, consisting of 60 pairs of 1940s-style shoes made of iron – commemorates Jewish and other victims of fascist militiamen during World War II who were ordered to take off their shoes before being shot at the river’s edge. The Hastings shoes will be donated to a St Leonards charity for distribution to local families.

The performers wore black and enacted a solemn ritual of laying out the shoes for a film being choreographed and shot by a professional film-maker, John Ford. 

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