Hunger striking Just Stop Oil supporter moved to hospital wing

A Just Stop Oil supporter who went on hunger strike last Friday to demand that the government end new oil and gas, has been unexpectedly moved to the hospital wing as prison staff became increasingly concerned for their health.  [1] 

Tez Burnes (they/them), 34, a bicycle mechanic from Swansea was remanded to Bronzefield prison on Friday 11th November after being arrested for taking part in the Just Stop Oil actions to disrupt the M25 motorway by climbing on the overhead gantries. They started an immediate hunger strike, which resulted in rapid weight loss and low blood sugar levels.  

Tez was among a total of  65 people arrested as a result of the four consecutive days of actions by Just Stop Oil on the M25 last week,  the biggest act of civil resistance undertaken in the UK in a generation. 31 of those arrested were remanded to prison, 32 were released on bail and 2 were released with no further action.  [2]

Speaking from prison, Tez said: 

I am not prepared to stand by and watch while everything I love is destroyed, while ordinary people go hungry and fossil fuel companies and the rich profit from our misery. I have put my body on the line by taking action with Just Stop Oil and I accept the consequences. I am not expecting pity and I am prepared to do whatever it takes to get the government to change course, because new oil and gas is a death sentance and I have no future. 

“The government is guilty of criminal inaction on the climate crisis. They want to issue new fossil fuel licences and drain every last drop of oil from the North Sea. That goes against everything that internationally respected bodies like the UN, IPCC and World Bank are telling us. I don’t want to do this, but I feel it’s my duty as a citizen of the UK, when our government is criminal. I’m furious and I’m devastated.”

Tez and the other 30 people remanded over the last week join five Just Stop Oil supporters already in prison on remand or serving sentences for taking action to demand that the government halts new oil and gas licences. [3]

Last week’s actions followed six weeks of disruption and civil resistance by supporters of Just Stop Oil during which the police made over 700 arrests. Since the campaign began on April 1st, Just Stop Oil supporters have been arrested over 2,000 times.

These actions are part of an ongoing act of resistance against a criminal government and their genocidal death project. We will not be intimidated by changes to the law, we will not be stopped by private injunctions sought to silence nonviolent people. Our supporters understand that these are irrelevant when set against mass starvation, slaughter, the loss of our rights, freedoms and communities.

Stand with our supporters in prison, with the 1,700 murdered across the global south, for protecting all our lives.  [4]

ENDS

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Notes to Editors

[1] 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. Just Stop Oil is a member of the A22 Network of civil resistance projects. Climate Emergency Fund is Just Stop Oil’s primary funder for recruitment, training, and capacity building.

[2] https://juststopoil.org/2022/11/10/just-stop-oil-supporters-climb-m25-gantries-for-the-fourth-day-causing-traffic-disruption-in-multiple-locations/

[3] There are now 36 Just Stop Oil supporters in prison on remand or serving sentances for taking action to demand that the government halts new oil and gas licences. They are Abigail Percy Ratcliffe, Adelheid Russenberger, Alfie Beswick, Lucia De Abreu Whittaker, Samuel Price, Alexander Wilcox, Callum Goode, Catherine Rennie-Nash, Christopher Ford, Christopher White, Daniel Shaw, David Mann, Diana Hekt, Ian Bates, Isobel Rock, Karin Matthews, Roger Hallam, Tez Burns, Tim Hewes, Jan Goodey, Jesse Prince, Louise Harris, Mair Bain, Michael Dunk, Molly Berry, Nick Onley, Niculina Tirpoca, Paul Bell, Paul Bleach, Phoebe Plummer, Rachel Payne, Joshua Smith, Louis McKechnie, Michelle Charlesworth, Morgan Trowland and Marcus Decker. 

There are also 3 Belgian supporters of Just Stop Oil currently in a Dutch prison for gluing to a painting and Elliott Cuciurean is also in prison for taking action against HS2.

[4]  A recent report from Global Witness says that more than 1,700 people have died while trying to prevent mining, oil drilling or logging on their lands.