Prison is not where anyone wants to be on a beautiful Spring day but increasing numbers of Just Stop Oil and Insulate Britain supporters are being imprisoned for trying to preserve a liveable planet for us all.
Michelle Charlesworth, 56, has been in prison since May 4th. In a moving letter from prison this week she remembered the last time she felt so alone, when she was pregnant at 19 and had gone to a ‘home for unmarried mothers’ to have and keep her baby. A brave decision without support from her parents. She writes:
“Now – here I am, I’ve sent myself away again. I’ve had my 56th birthday in prison. This time I’m not fighting to keep my baby, Nathan, but fighting for a liveable future for all humanity. And closer to home – for a future for little Oscar, my only grandson, the son of Nathan. Will I get any family visitors this time? Breathe, Michelle. Just breathe. And breathe. It’s OK not to be OK.”
Michelle is just an ordinary person, though extraordinary in her willingness to put her freedom on the line to bring attention to the climate crisis.
There is light and dark in prison. They want to move her to a different wing, where her fellow prisoners could be child murderers and other ‘lifers’ but she’d prefer to stay where she is where the squabbles which break out are mostly around vapes. On the flip side, she talks with her grandson on the phone who has just been to Peppa Pig world she says:
“My heart was singing and for ages after, I found myself smiling”
2 days later she is woken at 6.30 and told she is going to court but has no knowledge of this or any idea why. It turns out to be a mistake, but she gets time to chat to two women who are going to court and to explain to them about the Climate and Ecological Emergency.
David Nixon, 35, has been in Doncaster prison on remand since 20th May and will be held until 31st after having broken an injunction taken out banning any kind of protest in front of Kingsbury Oil Depot, near Tamworth. Before he broke the injunction he said
“I’m going to break the council injunction because this is what loving care looks like in 2022. To resist our destructive course is an act of loving care. I’m doing this because I care. I’m doing this to highlight the fact that the council, the judiciary and the government don’t care. They’ve proved that they don’t care by protecting the fossil fuel industry. There is no future in fossil fuels, and ordinary people understand this.
It’s time to start caring again, it’s time to resist, it’s time to just stop oil”
Gwen Harrison, 44, is today in Styal prison for 7 days. She too broke the injunction at Kingsbury.
The courts continue to grant injunctions and send peaceful protesters to prison; the government continues to bring in more draconian legislation to quash protest but still fails to respond to requests to take fast action on climate change by investing in renewable energy and rolling out insulation across the country and putting a stop on all new fossil fuel licences for new exploration and extraction or oil, coal and gas.