Just Stop Oil supporters slow march again as government threatens law change to silence all dissent

Just Stop Oil supporters have stopped traffic on key routes in Central London today to demand that the government halts all new fossil fuel licences and consents. [1]

At 8:15am, around 20 Just Stop Oil supporters wearing hi-vis vests walked onto the A24 near Clapham South and proceeded to march slowly Northwards. They continued along Clapham High Street accompanied by around 7 police officers.

A further action is planned later this morning in Camden Town.

Adam Beard, 53, a gardener and carer from Stroud said:

“I’m taking action to highlight our government’s total disregard for human life and suffering in the pursuit of short-term profit. Not only are they issuing new fossil fuel licences, but they have now given the go-ahead for a new coal mine which will produce the dirtiest kind of fuel there is, almost all of which will be exported. This exposes the massive gap between what government ministers say and what they do. They must change tack and stop all new fossil fuel licences. We will continue to cause disruption until they do the right thing for all of humanity.”

Elvy Swan, 21, from Melbourne, Australia said:

“As young people we need to stand up to the reality we are faced with. Our generation is on the front line of a catastrophe far more significant than we could have conceived of. We are talking about people dying now. People that could have been saved. We don’t have time to squabble about the specifics of change making. We must end new oil and gas.”

A spokesperson from Just stop Oil said:

“Greenlighting a new coal mine signals that our Government does not care about everyday people or democracy. Their support and backing of new coal, oil and gas, is a plan to destroy our freedoms, our rights and the rule of law. It is a plan that will result in the deaths of countless millions and many more not knowing if they should stay where they have lived for generations or if they leave where they can go.   

The real savagery hits home when you realise that most people in this country, and across the world want what Just Stop Oil is calling for ‘no new fossil fuels’.

Government is silencing dissent by locking up ordinary people, calling for an end to new oil and gas, bringing in new laws and taking away your right to walk down the public highway. You don’t get to cheerlead dissent abroad while demanding heavy handed tactics at home.

We ask that you join us, the time to stand-by has passed, we must resist or lose everything”

The government has threatened new legislation before Christmas to “close loopholes” that have allowed Just Stop Oil supporters to march in the road, thus confirming suspicions that the only protests that the government will allow are those that nobody notices. The draconian Public Order Bill is due to finish the committee stage in the House of Lords this week and has been heavily criticised by peers and civil rights organisations alike.  [2]

This week’s action comes after the stunning victory last week in the second jury trial of Insulate Britain supporters. Gwen Harrison, Joshua Smith and Emily Brocklebank were found not guilty of causing a public nuisance by a unanimous verdict at Southwark Crown Court on Friday. The jury concluded after a 5 day trial that the disruption caused by the Insulate Britain supporters due to sitting in the road at Bishopsgate on 25th October 2021 did not amount to public nuisance. A third Insulate Britain jury trial is due to start at 10am today at Inner London Crown Court.  [3]

This week also sees the continuation of plea and bail hearings for the Just Stop Oil supporters arrested as part of the four days of action on the M25 during November as well as for actions taken earlier in the campaign [4] 

Six weeks of continuous disruption and civil resistance by supporters of Just Stop Oil during October and November resulted in over 700 arrests. Since the campaign began on April 1st, Just Stop Oil supporters have been arrested over 2,000 times, with 24 supporters currently in prison. [5]

Just Stop Oil continues to peacefully resist the government’s plans to licence over 100 new oil and gas projects by 2025, and its failure to fulfil its promise to help people with their skyrocketing energy bills. By continuing to encourage new oil and gas they are complicit in the death of millions and are facilitating the collapse of the ordered society that allows democracy to function. 

We stand with our 24 supporters in prison, with the 2,000 victims of our broken criminal justice system imprisoned for over a year without trial and with the 1,700 murdered across the global south, for protecting all our lives. We are not prepared to just watch while they destroy everything we love. As citizens, as humans, as parents and children we have every right under British law to protect ourselves and those we love. This is the moment, we are the last generation that can solve this. Will you step up and join us? If we all come together we can do this. We can Just Stop Oil. [6][7]


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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://www.thecanary.co/uk/analysis/2022/11/28/yet-another-draconian-bill-that-criminalises-protesters-is-about-to-become-law/

[3]  http://insulatebritain.com/2022/12/09/breaking-three-insulate-britain-supporters-vindicated-after-jury-returns-unanimous-not-guilty-verdict/

[4] Hearings this week:

M25 Gantry actions: 

12th December – Southwark Crown Court, St Alban’s Crown Court, 

15th December-  Aylesbury Cown Court, Guildford Crown Court

Art and M25 service station actions:

13th December – Westminster Magistrates Court, Stratford Magistrates Court

[5] There are now 24 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 include El Litten, Barry Mitchell, Abigail Percy Ratcliffe, Adelheid Russenberger, Alexander Wilcox, Callum Goode, Catherine Rennie-Nash, Daniel Shaw, Ian Bates, Jan Goodey, Roger Hallam, Karen Matthews, Lucia Whittaker, Mair Bain, Molly Berry, Nick Onley, Paul Bell, Paul Bleach, Tim Hewes, Joshua Smith, Louis McKechnie, Morgan Trowland and Marcus Decker. 

[6]  Fair Trials reports that the number of people being held in prison without trial in England and Wales is at its highest for over 50 years. 

[7] 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.