Court and Prison now sites of Civil Resistance

Since Tuesday May 4th Birmingham County Court has been at the centre of Just Stop Oil supporters’ continuation of Civil Resistance.

So far 17 Just Stop Oil Supporters have refused to attend court when summoned, either staying away, refusing to leave their prison cells or returning to the Kingsbury Oil Depot where an injunction brought by Valero Energy is in place.

Today, as the horrific climate busting implications of fossil fuel companies’ plans were revealed [1], 12 Just Stop Oil supporters travelled to Kingsbury and broke the injunction, six of them disobeying a summons to attend Birmingham County Court to do so. One those who is refusing to attend court is Hannah Torrance Bright, 20 based in Glasgow, she said

“I’m refusing to attend court because I won’t accept the legitimacy of any legal process that so blatantly protects the profit of the fossil fuel companies over the futures of the people. I committed to putting my body on the line to fight this gross injustice, and I am choosing to continue doing that over attending a court date that could see me fined or imprisoned for begging the UK government for a livable future”.

Just Stop Oil expects all 12 to be arrested and Hannah Torrance, 20 from Glasgow, Beth Garrett from Yorkshire and Rajan Naidu, 71 from Birmingham, Karen Wildin, 58, Leicestershire, Joe Howlett, 32, Somerset and Victoria Lindsell, 66, Warwickshire to be held on remand until they attend court. 

Yesterday eight Just Stop Oil supporters who had been held in custody for nine days for failing to attend court had their cases heard at Birmingham County Court. Barry Mitchel, 71 from Shropshire chose to remain in the court cell and not attend in the dock, Dr Sarah Benn, 55 a GP from the West Midlands made a mitigation statement, but was warned a number of times by Judge Kelly for making a ‘political speech’. Benn continued, resulting in Judge Kelly leaving the court after asking that Benn be carried out.

As Benn was removed she continued 

“I will not be be silent, I will not comply, I will not be complicit – I will be heard” 

All eight were later released from custody with no fines and no costs.

Emily Brocklebank and Amy Pritchard have today been released from HMP Foston Hall after refusing to leave their prison cells to attend court yesterday (May 11th). Currently Michelle Charlesworth is in her cell at HMP Foston Hall continuing her campaign of non-complicance by refusing to leave and attend court.


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[2] Just Stop Oil is a coalition of groups working together to demand that the government immediately halt all future licensing and consents for the exploration, development and production of fossil fuels in the UK.

We must urgently end our reliance on fossil fuels to avoid irreversible changes in the earth’s climate system. We cannot continue to burn fossil fuels in the belief that future developments in carbon capture and storage and other so-called “unicorn technologies” will allow us to suck vast quantities of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. 

The UK must begin this process immediately. It starts by calling a halt to any further fossil fuel projects on the UK Continental Shelf. That would give us eight years of fossil fuel production left in which to rapidly transition to a zero carbon economy.

Everyone knows we have to engage in massive changes. Just Stop Oil is a coalition of groups demanding the no-brainer things be done immediately – actions that will reduce the demand for fossil fuel energy dramatically such as insulating our homes, rethinking how we travel, getting on with renewable energy and making sure no-one is left behind. 

We either come together as humanity or we die. Youth know which they choose. They have already chosen. They are in the streets to demand a future. We are all in the streets to make sure they get it. It’s as basic as that.

Further information about Just Stop Oil and our demands here: