Just Stop Oil supporters slow-march through Harrods as El Niño arrives to supercharge the Climate Crisis

Just Stop Oil supporters are slow-marching in central London this morning. They are demanding that the government halts all new licences and consents for oil, gas and coal projects in the UK. [1]

At 8am, 34 supporters began marching in six groups in Hammersmith, Victoria, Westminster,  Westminster Borough, Kensington, and Tower Bridge. Public reaction to the marches has been diverse, ranging from strong opposition, to shouts of support and encouragement. The mini-march on Tower Bridge lasted around 10 minutes before police issued a Public Order Act (Section 12) notice, forcing the march off the road. All six marches were off the road by 9am, with four issued section 12 notices. 

A further four marches continued from 10am, which saw four Just Stop Oil supporters arrested in Parliament Square, including Reverend Bill White, 68, a priest and grandfather, who was arrested for the third time this week for peacefully marching. All groups were issued Section 12 notices, many for a five mile radius from the marches, and were off the road by 10:50.

Another slow-march set off from inside Harrods department store. Security was seen assaulting independent press photographers, wrestling them from the shop.

Today’s marches come as the El Niño effect starts to impact our weather the world over; it is set to combine with carbon emissions to create record-breaking heat crises.

Judy Judkins, a mum of three and grandmother of three, from Preston, was in the road today. She said: 

“I’m pursuing other legal methods to make changes but still think it’s necessary to be on the streets. We are in an emergency and I’m marching in the same way as those who won us universal suffrage, decent working conditions and LGBTQ+ rights to name a few. This is how we change the political conversation.”

“All over the world, governments are choosing to silence those warning us how bad the situation is, rather than deal with the problem. Last week in France, the group ‘Les Soulèvements de la Terre’ was forcibly closed down by the police. Where does it end?”

The climate emergency is set to be exacerbated by El Niño, causing impacts all over the world. “We can reasonably expect even an increase in infectious diseases because of the temperature,” said Maria Neira, Director for Environment, Climate Change and Health at the World Health Organisation. The weather event is known for directly impacting areas around the Pacific Ocean, but its impacts will be felt all over the world. [2] [3]

Sue Houseman, a 53 year-old mother-of-two from Lancaster, whose family has been flooded out of their home, was marching in the road today. She said:

“I am here because I can no longer sit back and watch this corrupt government sit back and take no positive action. Instead, they seem intent on committing arson on a monumental scale.”

“The last straw for me was the Rosebank oil-field approval – no benefit for ordinary people, whilst throwing our money at fossil fuel companies. This will do nothing to alleviate the cost of living crisis or halt the climate breakdown.”

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 around 230 arrests this year.

Since the Just Stop Oil campaign launched on 14th February 2022, there have been over 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 in the longest sentences for peaceful climate action in British history.

Time’s up for new oil, gas and coal. It’s time everyone got on the streets, marching every day to demand change. Join us to march from the 16th-23rd July. Sign up for action at juststopoil.org.


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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.reuters.com/business/environment/temperatures-seen-surging-el-nino-weather-pattern-returns-wmo-2023-07-04/

[3] https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/jun/24/el-nino-how-the-weather-event-is-affecting-global-heating-in-2023