Just Stop Oil stages ‘go slow’ march in Manchester today

Supporters of Just Stop Oil staged a ‘go slow’ march in Manchester today, bringing traffic to a crawling pace across the city centre. They are demanding that the government stops all new UK oil and gas projects [1].

The march follows the widely publicised adoption of the new tactic in marches across London and Sheffield in recent weeks which were carried out in defiance of the Prime Minister’s recent threat to crack down on the ‘go slow’ marches. Further such actions are planned across the north in the coming months. [2] [3] [4].

David Nixon, a Just Stop Oil supporter from Barnsley who attended the march, said:

“The government is intent on crushing anyone who opposes its broken regime. Whether it’s union members demanding fair pay and working conditions, or ordinary people demanding a liveable future for their children, the government is silencing dissent by introducing ever more draconian laws to criminalise us. We all need to stand up against this monstrous attack on our democracy and on our very survival before it’s too late. Join us!”

The government plans to issue over 100 new North Sea oil and gas licenses a move which climate scientists have warned is incompatible with staying within 1.5C of global warming – a temperature increase widely understood to be disastrous for nature and humanity [5] 

The issuing of new licences is not supported by either the Welsh or Scottish governments and is facing a legal challenge by campaign groups. The government is also facing a legal challenge over its approval of the UK’s first new coal mine for over 30 years, at Whitehaven in Cumbria [5].[6].

Another Just Stop Oil supporter at the march said:

 “The world’s climate scientists couldn’t be clearer – new fossil fuel projects are incompatible with continued life on earth. The world is on the brink of multiple disastrous climate tipping points which, if crossed, will spell the beginning of the end of human civilization. By continuing on this deadly path our government is condemning millions across the Global South to a life of famine, war and destitution, and it won’t be long before we’re facing the same here in the UK.”

UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, warned world leaders at the international climate summit, COP27, in December that “We are on a highway to climate hell with our foot on the accelerator. Our planet is fast approaching tipping points that will make climate chaos irreversible. We need urgent climate action”. [7]

The Manchester action follows a campaign of disruptive action by Just Stop Oil in the final months of 2022, with daily roadblocks in the centre of London in October, the repeated closure of the M25 in November when Just Stop Oil supporters climbed the overhead gantries, and a series of slow-marches in the capital in December. 

Since the campaign began on April 1st 2022, there have been over 2,000 arrests of Just Stop Oil supporters, with 150 having been imprisoned.

During this campaign of disruption, polling showed a huge surge in support for nonviolent direct action of the sort carried out by Just Stop Oil, with 66% saying they support taking nonviolent direct action to protect the climate and just 34% opposed. [8]

Just Stop Oil is hosting a talk for members of the public entitled “Our Responsibilities at This Time” at 7pm on 1st February at Friends’ Meeting House, Manchester.[9].

Just Stop Oil Manchester has its monthly meet, open to all, on the 1st Thursday of every month, 6.30 at the Sandbar in Manchester [10]


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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] Just Stop Oil stages go slow marches in London: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/london-police-officers-south-london-harrods-suella-braverman-b2239759.html

[3] National coverage of go slow march in Sheffield on 19 Jan: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11653871/Return-eco-mob-Just-Stop-Oil-activists-cause-traffic-misery-Sheffield.html

[4] Rishi Sunak plans to crack down on ‘go slow’ marches: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2023/jan/09/rishi-sunak-plans-crack-down-go-slow-protests-just-stop-oil

[5] New fossil fuels incompatible with 1.5C warming: https://www.carbonbrief.org/new-fossil-fuels-incompatible-with-1-5c-goal-comprehensive-analysis-finds/.

[6] Government faces legal challenges over its plans to award 100 new UK oil and gas licenses and its approval of a new coal mine: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/dec/12/uk-ministers-face-legal-challenge-over-north-sea-oil-and-gas-licences

[7] UN Secretary General says we’re on a highway to climate hell: https://twitter.com/antonioguterres/status/1589574435719483392?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

[8] A UK poll showing huge support for nonviolent direct action: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/oct/24/huge-uk-public-support-for-direct-action-to-protect-environment-poll?CMP=share_btn_wa

[9] Just Stop Oil talk in Manchester: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/our-responsibilities-at-this-time-manchester-tickets-522525446677

[10] Just Stop Oil Manchester Monthly Meet: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/manchester-monthly-meet-tickets-488074693547?aff=ebdsoporgprofile