Just Stop Oil supporters unlawfully arrested after new ban on right to dissent 

Just Stop Oil supporters are once again marching in their eighth week of daily action in the capital to demand that the UK Government halt all licences and consents for new oil, gas and coal projects. [1]

At around 8am, 68 Just Stop Oil supporters, in five groups, began marching on roads around West London including the Westway and Cromwell Road, and near the Chiswick roundabout. Two supporters were arrested at around 8:20 am for walking on the A205 near Chiswick roundabout. Another supporter was unlawfully arrested on Cromwell Road after police did not appropriately issue a Public Order Act (Section 12) notice. 

The arrests come following an important vote on new public order regulations in the House of Lords last night. At the end of April, the government introduced new Public Order regulations which redefined the meaning of “serious disruption” in the Public Order Act to mean anything more than minor. An attempt to strike down these regulations was defeated in the House of Lords last night. [2][3]

One of those on the road this morning, Eddie Francis, 74, a retired joiner from Lincoln said: 

“I’m terrified of a collapsing society because of the climate crisis, we’re experiencing crop failure already. I feel I have to stand up and take action to get the government to stop new oil, gas and coal, because I can see, right now, that it’s presiding over a disaster.”

Another of those on the road this morning, Rachel White, 52, a former NHS Health professional from Rochford, said:

“I am taking action with Just Stop Oil because I have tried writing to MPs and signing petitions, I even walked 500 miles from London to Glasgow to COP26 to try and raise awareness, but our government is still issuing new gas and oil licences. This is a death sentence for millions. Canada is on fire, the Arctic is melting at a rapid rate, Europe is already reaching record temperatures, but this is hardly reported by the media.”

“If my grandchildren are to have a liveable climate, all new gas and oil must stop. What other choice do I have other than to take action? There is no other choice now, as it is clear the government will carry on business as usual unless everyday people like me demand otherwise.”

Today’s marches come against a backdrop of increasingly extreme weather events in the UK. Flash flooding has hit parts of the country. Patients were urged to  stay away from the A&E department in Luton, due to flooding. Meanwhile, drivers on the M1 found parts of the road submerged. [4]

Just Stop Oil supporters have completed up to seven marches a day, six days a week since the 24th April –  a total of 114 marches. Around 600 ordinary people from all over the UK have taken part. To date there have been 98 arrests and 40 people have been charged with failure to comply with public order act (section 12) conditions. 

Since the Just Stop Oil campaign launched on 14th February 2022, there have been 2,200 arrests and 138 people have spent time in prison, many without trial. There are currently two Just Stop Oil supporters serving three year prison sentences for resisting new oil, gas and coal. 

We stand with these political prisoners, with the 1,800 victims of the UK’s 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. Ordinary people must come together to resist this criminal government and hold them to account for their genocidal policies. [5][6]

Just Stop Oil is calling on everyone to get off the sidelines and join in civil resistance against new oil, gas and coal.

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 makes a meaningful statement halting new fossil fuel projects in the UK.

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.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-65897513

[3] https://www.amnesty.org.uk/press-releases/uk-passing-new-public-order-laws-marks-dark-new-era-peaceful-protest

[4] https://www.lbc.co.uk/news/uk-weather-alerts-thunderstorms-hospital-flooded/

[5] 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/

[6] 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/