Just Stop Oil marchers kettled by counter-protestors as scientists warn ‘we are damned fools’ for not acting on crisis

Just Stop Oil supporters are disrupting roads in central London during their thirteenth week of continuous resistance against new oil, gas and coal. [1]

Throughout the morning, starting from 9am, 132 supporters began marching in nine groups around West, East London and South London. This morning’s marches have been eventful. On Cromwell Road, a coach was seen driving into the march, whilst in Elephant and Castle, a march was kettled by a group of counter-protestors wearing t-shirts emblazoned with ‘Just Stop Pissing Everyone Off’. Polite discourse about the necessity for culturally disruptive action ensued, as the Just Stop Oil supporters sat and gave personal testimonies whilst encircled. 

One Just Stop Oil supporter addressed the counter-protestors, who applauded her as she spoke:

“I’d like to see how long you are willing to stand there, because this is great for us, we’re having conversations and I think it’s been so beneficial this morning being able to meet with some of you lovely people and have these conversations with you, and for us to find out why we’re here and why you’re here, because believe me we are the ordinary people and we have the power. The only thing that needs to happen now is we need to connect the dots and join together.”

After some discussion the anti-Just Stop Oil protestors left cordially, and the march proceeded on the road. 

A further ten marches are currently under way from 11am.

Yesterday, 55 people were arrested, many unlawfully after stepping in the road for a few seconds. This morning, a Just Stop Oil supporter was arrested after his house was raided by the Metropolitan Police. Daniel Knorr, the marcher who was assaulted by a motorist yesterday, is reportedly feeling well but at the encouragement of others sought treatment at A&E for a potential concussion. In interviews he asserted that he wasn’t interested in pressing charges to the individual involved, but would rather see climate criminal oil executives and politicians prosecuted.

One of those on the road this morning, Jonathan Kennedy, 44, an Engineer and Parent of two young children, from Brighton, said:

“I’m marching today with Just Stop Oil to demand that the government stops all new oil and gas licensing. We are on track for devastating climate chaos, food scarcity, water scarcity, hundreds of millions of climate refugees- leading to conflict and war. It’s already happening. As a parent, I can’t sit by and watch as the government actively makes the situation worse by issuing more oil, gas and coal licences. This is the complete opposite of what we need to do.”

“When my children ask me what I was doing when there was still a chance to prevent the worst effects of climate breakdown. I will say I tried everything I could. Rishi Sunak and Grant Schnapps, what will you say to your children when they ask you the same question? You have the power to stop all new oil and gas licences. For the sake of your children and their generation, make the right choice. Be on the right side of history, be able to look at your children and say, ‘I did what I could’.”

Another of those marching, Rajan Naidu, 72, from Birmingham, said:

“Yesterday I was arrested. I do not like to be arrested, but if getting arrested is the only way that ordinary citizens, like us, can get our voices of desperation heard, as we sound the alarm for urgent action to be taken, then so be it.”

“Rishi Sunak and his government act like science-deniers even though they have access to the very latest climate science. The very real climate crisis that has been devastating India and Pakistan- sabotaging their ability to feed themselves, does not seem to affect our government, or stimulate them to take decisive, effective action to keep us safe. Either we end the fossil fuel era or the fossil fuel era will end us.”

Today, Eddie Whittingham will be facing a plea hearing for his action taken on Monday 17th July, which saw him spray orange paint at the University of Exeter graduation ceremony. He was tackled by university security and handed over to the police, and has been kept on remand since then. This student being imprisoned for nonviolent actions demonstrates the university’s unwillingness to tolerate criticism of their collaboration with climate criminals. Many academics and students have already spoken up in support of Eddie’s actions, calling on the university to end their greenwashing programme with Shell Oil.

Yesterday, James Hansen, the US scientist who alerted the world to the greenhouse effect in the 1980s said “we are damned fools” for not acting upon warnings over the climate crisis. Hansen, whose testimony to the US Senate in 1988 is cited as the first high-profile revelation of global heating, warned in a statement with two other scientists that the world was moving towards a “new climate frontier” with temperatures higher than at any point over the past million years, bringing severe impacts such as stronger storms, heatwaves and droughts, which will lead to millions unable to eat and forced to flee their homes. [2][3]

Since the Just Stop Oil campaign launched on 14th February 2022, there have been over 2,350 arrests and 138 people have spent time in prison, many without trial. There are currently three Just Stop Oil supporters imprisoned for demanding an end to new oil, gas and coal.

It’s time to get off the sidelines and join in civil resistance to end new oil, gas and coal. We are inviting everyone to come and march with us every day in London from the 16th-23rd July. Sign up for action at juststopoil.org.

Just Stop Oil is gathering evidence and details of the crimes perpetrated by climate criminals. Fossil fuel executives, bankers, ministers, officials, and members of the legal and media professions who order, administrate, or facilitate the exploitation of new oil and gas resources, or who conspire to prosecute those taking action to prevent the greatest act of mass murder in human history, will be held responsible for their actions. 

To those who wish to help gather evidence or discuss the issues arising in a safe online space, please email: [email protected]


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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.theguardian.com/environment/2023/jul/19/climate-crisis-james-hansen-scientist-warning

[3] https://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/2023/ClimateDice.13July2023.pdf