Just Stop Oil supporters march in defiance of state crackdown on peaceful dissent

Just Stop Oil supporters are back out in central London this morning, continuing to march in defiance of draconian new laws banning peaceful protest. Just Stop Oil is demanding no new licences or consents for any fossil fuel projects in the UK. [1]

At around 10:00 am, around 40 Just Stop Oil supporters began marching in two groups. One set off along Piccadilly from Green Park, while another began marching from Portman Square. Police are currently threatening arrest if they fail to leave the road. Further marches are expected later this morning.

Just Stop Oil supporters have been marching in the capital, every day since the 24th of April. These marches come in the wake of international outcry over authoritarian crackdowns on legitimate, peaceful protest over the Coronation weekend. 19 Just Stop Oil supporters were arrested on Saturday for possession of t-shirts and flags emblazoned with the slogan. Two independent journalists, with press accreditations clearly visible, were also arrested and held for up to 18 hours. 

James Skeet, a Just Stop Oil spokesperson from Manchester, said:

“When studying history and reading about nations descending into authoritarian police-states, I would often wonder, how did people allow this? Could they not see what was happening? Why did no one stand-up and resist? Now I am watching while the government introduces ever more repressive measures; they are effectively banning protest and arresting peaceful people, simply for possessing a divergent opinion.” 

“I see the corporate-owned media spreading lies, stoking division and hatred. I see seemingly good people at the heart of these institutions abdicating responsibility because they are ‘just following orders’, when we know some of the worst acts in history have been committed by those that said the same. I see rampant corruption at the heart of government, with those in power accepting large sums of money from the fossil fuel industry, conveniently resulting in the incentivising of new fossil fuel projects. Projects that threaten the lives of our loved ones, right now, within our lifetimes.”

“I see this, and I have to ask: What are we as a nation of people doing about it? What will it take for us to stand up and say ‘enough is enough?’ What will it take for us to say that ‘we refuse to be complicit in the worst atrocity in human history?’ It’s time to get off the sidelines and join a slow march at juststopoil.org or in parliament square every Saturday at 12pm.”

One of those taking action, who was arrested on Saturday for possession of a t-shirt, Sam Griffiths, 47 a designer and dad, from Walthamstow, said:

“Our right to peaceful protest is being strangled. All the rights we cherish came from people putting themselves on the line and defying the power of their day. I’m proud to be part of that great tradition.”

“I can’t bear to stand by and see everything I care about being destroyed due to our addiction to oil. I’m sick of the inaction, corruption and callousness of our Government. It is our civic duty to defy them.”

It was recently reported that the Conservatives received £3.5 million from polluters, fossil fuel interests and climate deniers during 2022. The government continues to pay £236 million pounds a week, of taxpayers money, to oil companies. Last week BP announced first quarter profits of $5 billion in the first three months of the year while it’s competitor Shell has been accused of a “profiteering bonanza” after it made record first-quarter profits of more than $9.6bn. [2][3][4]

The Metropolitan Police arrested 52 people on Saturday . Peaceful protestors from the anti-monarchist group Republic were arrested unloading placards from a van and around 20 new Animal Rising supporters were arrested during their first nonviolence training, miles away from the coronation. The group had confirmed numerous times that it had no-intention of disrupting the coronation. 

Shockingly, three volunteers from the women’s safety campaign Night Stars, that works in conjunction with the Metroplotan police, were also arrested for possession of rape alarms. 

Yasmine Ahmed, the UK director of Human Rights Watch stated: “This is something you would expect to see in Moscow, not London.” [5]

Since the Just Stop Oil campaign launched on 14th February 2022, there have been over 2,100 arrests and 138 people have spent time in prison, many without trial. There are currently two Just Stop Oil supporters serving prison sentences for resisting new oil, gas and coal.

We stand with these 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 care about, something that is being imposed on us by a few, who only seek to enrich themselves. [6][7]

In moments of emergency, we must stand up and be brave, we must stand up for good over evil, life over death, right over wrong. Just Stop Oil is calling on everyone to pick a side. We need everyone to get off the sidelines and join in civil resistance against new oil and gas.

The time is now. Join us and slow march while you still can. Our indefinite campaign of civil resistance is underway and will not end until our government ends new oil, gas and coal.

Join Just Stop Oil on a slow march at midday every Saturday, at Parliament Square until we win. 


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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.

Just Stop Oil ‘Blue Lights’ policy: our policy is, and has always been, to move out of the way for emergency vehicles with siren sounding and ‘blue lights’ on.

[2] https://www.desmog.com/2023/03/30/conservatives-received-3-5-million-from-polluters-fossil-fuel-interests-and-climate-deniers-in-2022/


[4] https://www.theguardian.com/business/2023/may/02/bp-profits-energy-windfall-tax-oil-gas

[5] https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2023/may/06/head-of-uks-leading-anti-monarchy-group-arrested-at-coronation-protest

[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, with 1,800 people in prison without trial for at least a year. https://www.fairtrials.org/articles/news/highest-number-of-people-on-remand-in-england-and-wales-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. https://www.globalwitness.org/en/press-releases/deadly-decade-land-and-environmental-activists-killing-every-two-days/