Just Stop Oil supporters slow march through North London in solidarity with the UK’s political prisoners

Supporters of Just Stop Oil are slow marching in Islington today, bringing traffic to a crawling pace. Starting outside Pentonville prison, they are showing solidarity with the UK’s political prisoners, including seven Just Stop Oil supporters, and demanding that the government stops all new UK oil and gas projects [1].

Since the Just Stop Oil campaign began on April 1st 2022, there have been over 2,000 arrests and 138 people have spent time in prison, many without trial. There are currently seven Just Stop Oil supporters in prison awaiting trial or serving sentences for actions taken with the campaign. 

In addition, Insulate Britain supporter, David Nixon was this week sentenced to eight weeks in prison, simply for mentioning fuel poverty and the climate crisis in court and there are at least five other political prisoners from peaceful resistance campaigns in UK jails. [2]  

Today’s slow march follows the widely publicised adoption of the new tactic in marches across London, Sheffield and Manchester since December and it is the first one since the House of  Lords rejected the government’s public order bill amendments aimed at making marching illegal. [3] 

Daniel, 21, a student from Oxford said:

“When we are facing death and mass migration in the millions, erasing peoples’ cultures and ways of life, there’s only one thing you can call it: genocide. I would do anything to help avert genocide, I’d go to prison my whole life if I had to.

“Politicians in this country have been advised on the science over and over again, they know the facts but they continue to push towards mass misery, what else can we call them other than criminal and morally bankrupt? 

“Taking action has filled me with hope and purpose, when you resist alongside such selfless and determined people you start to think that maybe we have some small chance of winning.”

Anne Richards, 65, a retired University Professor from Greenwich said:

“We have a moral duty to resist when the government is endangering life by licensing new oil and gas exploitation. We walk in peace to highlight the climate and ecological disaster that awaits us unless the government takes urgent action. What sort of society do we live in where peaceful protesters are in prison whilst criminal oil giants are killing us?”

Sam Griffiths, 47, a creative designer from London said:

“We had 40C heat last summer, London burned and thousands of people lost their lives. It was the first time I viscerally understood that my son’s future is being destroyed. Now the government is imprisoning people for taking nonviolent action to defend themselves and the people of this country from the consequences of climate collapse.  

“It’s incredible that at this time when our basic human rights to protest and to strike are being stripped away, simply walking down the road can be a radical act.  I’ve had enough – I cannot be a bystander, I will continue to resist new oil and gas by all means possible.”

Resisting new oil and gas expansion has never been more urgent or more necessary. Last month UN Secretary General Antonio Gutteres warned at Davos “Today, fossil fuel producers and their enablers are still racing to expand production, knowing full well that their business model is inconsistent with human survival. This insanity belongs in science fiction, yet we know  the ecosystem meltdown is cold, hard scientific fact” [4]

This week the big five oil and gas majors – Exxon, Chevron, Shell, BP and TotalEnergies – all revealed that last year was the most profitable in their respective histories and  BP announced that it is scaling back climate targets and doubling down on fossil fuel production. [5][6]

The UK Met Office has recently warned that a global shift to an El Niño climate pattern later this year could pave the way for the world to breach the Paris Agreement limit of 1.5°C of warming for the first time in 2024  – a temperature increase widely understood to be disastrous for nature and humanity. [7]

We stand with UK political prisoners, with the 1,800 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. This is the moment for us to come together and resist the destruction of everything we love, something that is being imposed on us by a few, who only seek to enrich themselves.

We’re done with begging. We are going to stop new fossil fuel projects whether those in power agree or not. As citizens, parents and children, we have every right under British law to protect ourselves and those we love. 

We are the last generation who can solve this. Will you step up? Join us and Just Stop Oil. 


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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] http://insulatebritain.com/2023/02/07/insulate-britain-supporter-jailed-for-eight-weeks-for-telling-the-truth-in-court/

[3] https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2023/jan/30/peers-deliver-several-blows-to-governments-anti-protest-bill

[4] https://www.theguardian.com/business/2023/jan/18/un-head-accuses-fossil-fuel-firms-of-business-models-inconsistent-with-human-survival


[6] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-64544110

[7] https://www.newscientist.com/article/2354672-strong-el-nino-could-make-2024-the-first-year-we-pass-1-5c-of-warming/