Campaign groups unite to defy the Bill

Just Stop Oil is among a number of campaign groups that have promised to defy the government’s new Public Order Act during a series of speeches at a rally in Central London.[1]

More than 300 people gathered in Parliament Square waving banners and flags as they cheered at criticism of the government’s anti-protest laws, anti-strike laws, anti-traveller laws and anti-migrant laws. [2]

A diverse range of groups have joined the rally including Animal Rising, Republic, Just Stop Oil, BLM Croydon, Stand up to Racism, Gypsy Traveller League, Fuel Poverty Action, DPAC and Kill the Bill [3] 

Addressing the crowd – in which people held signs that read “Not My Bill” and “Defend the Right to Protest”, Alex from Extinction Rebellion said:

“We unite to defy and we unite to survive. We are here to declare that the Public Order Bill is an infringement of our human rights.”

JR from Gypsy Traveller League said:

“We are here to make a change once and for all. We are fighting to bury discrimination for Gypsies and Travellers. We’ve had enough.”

Kush Naker from Just Stop Oil said:

“Without free speech and freedom to assemble our democracy is under threat. Our democracy is under threat from the Public Order Act 2023 and the Police, Crime Sentencing and Courts Act which have criminalised peaceful protest. Our democracy is under threat from new oil and gas. … because when billions are forced to flee floods, fires and famine and the resulting conflict that will inevitably threaten our ability to govern peacefully and democratically, there will be no democracy.”

Graham Smith from Republic said:

“The bill has removed our right to protest. We now only have the freedom to protest contingent on that permission and that is a disgrace.”

Following the speeches, the assembled groups took to the streets on a march to Downing Street to protest the government’s ongoing anti-democratic and racist assault on refugee rights, human rights and our legal rights to assemble and protest. Supporters of the Gypsy  Traveller League carried a coffin to Downing Street and for the first time in history were able to enter Downing Street to deliver a letter to the Prime Minister.[4]

The assembled crowd also heard from Just Stop Oil supporters Morgan Trowland and Marcus Decker, who received draconian three year jail sentences for climbing the QE2 Bridge as part of Just Stop Oil’s campaign of disruption in the capital during October and November 2022.  Morgan Trowland spoke by phone to the assembled crowd, and a recording of Marcus Decker singing was played.  [5]

The Public Order Act which came into force on May 3rd has been widely criticised by campaign groups, human rights groups and even the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Turk,  who called it  “deeply troubling legislation that is incompatible with international human rights obligations” as he urged the government to repeal the legislation “as soon as possible”. Amnesty has said that the “expansion of stop and search powers related to protests, protest banning orders and criminalising locking on are “deeply authoritarian.”[6][7]

The legislation came into force shortly before the Coronation at which Metropolitan Police unlawfully arrested 52 people including 20 Just Stop Oil supporters wearing t-shirts and carrying flags. [8][9]

Since the Just Stop Oil campaign began on April 1st 2022, there have been almost 2,200 arrests and 138 people have spent time in prison, many without trial. 

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 all 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. Join us while you still can. Our campaign of civil resistance will not end until our government ends new oil and gas.

Come to Parliament Square at 7am every weekday and midday every Saturday to join a slow march to stop new oil and gas.


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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.


[3] Animal Rising, Republic, Just Stop Oil, Peace & Justice, BLM Croydon, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Extinction Rebellion UK, Money Rebellion, HS2 Resistance, Fuel Poverty Action, Don’t Pay UK , DPAC , Kill the Bill, Liberty, Amnesty International, Stand up to Racism, Gypsy Traveller League, CND.