A far-left international group that encourages groups of people to deflate tires on parked sports utility vehicles (SUV) in an effort to combat global warming has expanded its operations to 18 countries.
The group, named the Tyre Extinguishers and based in the U.K., has claimed credit for tire-deflating operations in American cities including New York City, Boston, Chicago and San Francisco, and cities in England, Canada, France, Spain, Germany and Italy among others. And most recently, on Thursday, members affiliated with the Tyre Extinguishers conducted an action in Lisbon, Portugal.
“Reports coming in of very angry #CarShaggers who are upset they can’t drive their massive tanks around Lisbon. Oh no!” the group said. “Welcome to the fun, Portugal! Now that we’ve had our first action in Lisbon, where’s next?”
The announcement included an image of a Portuguese-language pamphlet the activists left on one of the targeted SUVs.
On the group’s website, it provides instructions for quickly deflating tires on parked cars and a template for pamphlets that activists can use during operations. After deflating an SUV’s tires, individuals affiliated with the group generally leave the document, with a headline stating “ATTENTION – your gas guzzler kills,” on the vehicle’s windshield explaining to its owner why the action was taken.
“You’ll be angry, but don’t take it personally. It’s not you, it’s your car,” the pamphlet says. “We did this because driving around in urban areas in your massive vehicle has huge consequences for others.”
“We are people from all walks of life with one aim: To make it impossible to own a huge polluting 4×4 in the world’s urban areas,” the group’s website adds. “We are defending ourselves against climate change, air pollution and unsafe drivers. We do this with a simple tactic: Deflating the tyres of these massive, unnecessary vehicles, causing inconvenience for their owners.”
According to the Tyre Extinguishers, it doesn’t have a leadership structure, but is instead a “leaderless, autonomous movement of groups that act independently.”
It says its movement has led to the creation of organizations focused on deflating tires worldwide like The DundeeFlators in Scotland, Les Degonfleurs in France and SUVVersive in Italy.
Overall, activists associated with the Tyre Extinguishers are responsible for deflating tires on more than 10,000 SUVs. On a single night in November last year, the group boasted that its members “disarmed” more than 900 SUVs in a coordinated action across multiple cities in the U.S. and Europe.
“This is the biggest coordinated global action against high-carbon vehicles in history, with many more to come,” it said at the time.