Students demand action to safeguard their future

Just Stop Oil supporters are commencing their tenth week of slow marching on the streets of central London to demand that the UK Government halts all licences and consents for new oil, gas, and coal projects. [1]

At around 8 am, 59 Just Stop Oil supporters, in four groups, began marching on key roads in North, West and South London. It is the students’ turn to march and young people will be taking to the streets every day this week to demand action from our criminal government. All four marches were issued section 12 notices and off the road by 9:30. Further marches are expected later this morning.

Public reaction has been mixed, with the usual signs of support from sympathetic public, contrasting frustration from some corners. A group of teens implored marchers to keep amplifying their message, calling out “tell them again!” Moments later a car was driven into students on Camberwell Green SE5 at 8:50am. In Archway N19 one member of the public leapt to the defence of the Just Stop Oil supporters when another bystander attempted to physically intervene in their march, de-escalating the situation with the words “brother listen – you can’t physically touch somebody”.

One of those on the road this morning, Arthur Clifton, 22, a student from Devon, said:

“I have been called many things whilst marching with Just Stop Oil, but strangely the one that has stuck with me the most is ‘unreasonable.’”

“If what I am doing is unreasonable then 33 million Pakistanis wrenched from their homes by floods must seem reasonable. Then 1.2 billion climate refugees in a couple of decades is reasonable. Then 3.6 billion people living in areas that are highly vulnerable to climate collapse is reasonable.”

“I do not believe this unimaginable heartbreak, loss, and death is reasonable. I am being ‘unreasonable’ alongside the United Nations, the International Energy Agency, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, who all say there can be no new oil and gas. If this is where the line is drawn, I encourage everyone to be as unreasonable as possible for as long as it takes.”

Another of those taking action this morning, Hannah Smith, 20 a student from London, said:

“As one of the leading polluting countries of the world, we have a responsibility to make sure we don’t continue. Historically, we are the eighth biggest emitter and with the huge diversity of renewable sources we have available we have all the resources to leave fossil fuels behind.”

“This situation is fixable and it is in everyone’s best interests to do so. It would ensure energy security, at a fraction of today’s prices. That’s why the government is resisting change; a small number of people are getting very rich off the current sky high energy costs. We are here because we have hope that things can be better.”

This morning’s marches come as nearly half a million people in India have been affected by severe flooding, killing at least 19, whilst thousands have been evacuated. There were similar scenes of flooding and evacuations in Chile, with officials stating they’ve been at the receiving end of the worst weather front in a decade. Meanwhile, Texas and other parts of Southern America are facing a record-breaking heatwave, which experts have ascribed to “human-caused climate change”. [2][3][4]

Droughts ravaging Uganda and other parts of East Africa have left hundreds dead and show no sign of abating, with half a million facing starvation. At the same time, a spate of lawsuits and civil actions against agents of the climate crisis are in motion globally. They range from the Oregon county suing fossil fuel companies for a fatal heatwave they endured in 2021, to Sarah Finch who is taking Surrey Council to court in order to challenge new permissions for oil drilling in the area, to students in Uganda fighting to avoid prison after they were brutalised and arrested for peacefully protesting the maligned “carbon bomb” EACOP pipeline. [5][6][7][8]

Just Stop Oil supporters have completed up to seven marches a day, six days a week since the 24th April. Over 600 ordinary people from all over the UK have taken part. Including arrests at the Coronation and cultural and sporting events there have been over 160 arrests this year and 50 people have been charged with various offences including 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. Just Stop Oil supporters Morgan Trowland and Marcus Decker are serving three year prison sentences for resisting new oil, gas and coal. [3]

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.