Maternal love in action! 25 mothers arrested for demanding a better future for the world’s children

This afternoon, a group of mothers and grandmothers were arrested while slow-marching in London in support of Just Stop Oil’s demand for the government to end new oil and gas. [1]

At 1:38pm, 33 Just Stop Oil supporting mothers and grandmothers began marching down Whitehall from Trafalgar Square. Metropolitan Police arrived at around 1:41 pm and kettled the group of mothers. By 2:10, around 40 officers had arrested 25 mothers, including a grandmother aged 79 and even a great grandmother. They were detained for allegedly breaching Section 7 of the Public Order Act 2023.

Since Just Stop Oil’s most recent campaign began a week ago, police have refused to respect our supporters’ rights to protest and have opted for immediately arresting slow marchers, but this group of mothers refused to be intimidated.

The mothers say that they refuse to stand by while government policies continue to support the fossil fuel industry, leading to global suffering on an unprecedented scale. The marching mums carried placards explaining why they felt compelled to resist: for their children, for all the world’s children and future generations.

Gill Tavner, a mother of two daughters, aged 19 and 21, from Stroud said:

We’re marching here to oppose corporate greed with maternal love. For years we’ve watched in mounting disbelief as global leaders have failed to take the necessary action to reduce the burning of fossil fuels. This government is travelling in completely the wrong direction.

“It’s crazy that in asking for a liveable world for our children we are vilified and criminalised. My heart aches when I think about the difficulties ahead for my girls, and even more so for less privileged children in the world. If we could rely on responsible leadership, this action would not be necessary, but politics is broken and so I’m compelled to take action. It’s the most important thing I can do as a mother.”

Angela Holland, 79, a mother of three and grandmother of five, from Bristol said:

I’m inspired to march and risk arrest by my grandson and whole family. Their determination has pushed me to read the research on climate breakdown, to understand the urgency for action and to try and adjust my lifestyle accordingly. As George Monbiot says, survival requires disobedience!

Her daughter, Sophie Holland aged 52, a speech therapist and also a mother of three, said:

I’m here because where else would I be? The world is disappearing before our eyes – flooded, burnt, species after species vanishing. Scientists are telling us, loud and clear, this is our last chance. The UN secretary general, the International Energy Agency, Sir David Attenborough, Chris Packham are all saying we are facing catastrophe if we continue to burn fossil fuels. Why isn’t everyone who has children, or knows children, or sees pictures of already displaced and starving children; on the streets, demanding change from our self-serving, criminal government?”

This morning, two of the mums were on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour. They are now on their way to police cells. They explained to presenter Emma Barnett, herself a new mother, why they would be stepping into action two hours later, knowing that they would be facing their first ever arrests and the newly-increased likelihood of severe penalties. “Our fear of what might happen to us today pales into insignificance compared with our fear about the future unless humanity changes course immediately,’“they said.

A spokesperson for Just Stop Oil said: 

We will not be intimidated by our criminal government. Not content with maxing out our oil and gas reserves they are complicit in the greatest crime in human history. New oil and gas will result in unimaginable suffering and destroy the lives and livelihoods of billions of people. No one has ever voted for this, there has never been a democratic mandate to destroy the habitable world.” 

Just Stop Oil supporters are deeply committed to stopping all new oil and gas. If our government refuses to do what is right to protect humanity, then people will step up to do what needs to be done.” 

The painful truth right now is that our politicians and corporations have no intention of acting in accordance with the fundamental interests of either our young people or the country as a whole. Whether those in charge realise that they are committing the crime of genocide, is not the question. For this is how it will be seen by the next generation and all future generations. Our friends in police custody and languishing in prison understand this very well as do we.”

New oil and gas will push the world past irreversible tipping points, destroy our ability to grow food and result in the collapse of organised civil society. Everything we know and love is threatened. To allow any new oil and gas, in full knowledge of these consequences, isn’t just a crime against humanity. It is the greatest crime in human history. [2][3][4][5]

We will not let this stand. We refuse to die quietly. Civil resistance is no longer an option, it is a necessity. This month, hundreds of ordinary people are marching with Just Stop Oil in London, and we will not stop until we win. 

From November 20th, we invite everyone to join us as we meet everyday at midday in Trafalgar Square before marching through the streets of London. It’s People vs Oil!


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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] No new oil, gas or coal development if world is to reach net zero by 2050, says world energy body:

[3] In 2022, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called new fossil fuel expansion “moral and economic madness” and said that “the truly dangerous radicals are the countries that are increasing the production of fossil fuels”.

[4] Climate change is out of control says UN

[5] A billion people could die prematurely from climate catastrophes over the next 100 years.