Just Stop Oil supporters march into cracks in the criminal justice system

Just Stop Oil supporters including students are once again marching to the point of arrest to demand an end to new oil and gas. [1]

At 11:15 am, 17 Just Stop Oil supporters stepped into the road at the Holland Park roundabout near Shepherds Bush and began marching towards Kensington. Around 50 police arrived with a police helicopter at around 11:45. All are expected to be arrested however events are still unfolding.

Yesterday, Noah Crane, 18, was remanded to Wandsworth Prison for marching to demand the government take action to protect his generation. He said:

“We young people have been so conditioned into pursuing fancy degrees and careers above all else that we’ve forgotten to ensure those things mean anything. When I think about the situation we are in, I realise we are faced with a choice. Either we can sit back and watch the government commit mass genocide, or we can do everything in our power to prevent it.”

Noah joins two other Just Stop Oil supporters remanded in prison for marching. Yesterday another 66 Just Stop Oil supporters were arrested on Cromwell Road, bringing the total number of arrests since October 30th to 532. There are currently 25 people being held for court.

A large uptick in the number of people being held for court combined with a lack of court slots means the police are now holding people illegally for days without seeing a judge. HMCTS is running extra court sessions from 4-8pm. The news has caused consternation among lawyers who have long-resisted Ministry of Justice attempts to introduce extended working hours beyond the usual 10 am to 4.30pm court day.

The Criminal Bar Association told its members they are “not obliged to attend court out of hours”. Some law firms are intending to boycott the evening sessions. Failure for the legal system to process people in a timely manner may lead the way for potential false imprisonment claims. [2]

A Just Stop Oil Spokesperson said:

“What we see is a brazen disregard for the law in this country, the police ignore the law when it suits them, we have the Prime Minister ignoring High Court rulings, we have Home secretaries circumventing parliament to introduce legislation to ban the right to protest in this country. The cracks are showing, the emperor has no clothes on. The government can relieve the pressure on the police and the courts and end the disruption on London’s roads if they make a meaningful statement that they will halt all new oil gas and coal licences.”

This week, the Metropolitan Police Federation warned that policing ongoing protests in London was becoming unsustainable, echoing events that unfurled in the Netherlands recently. Sustained blocking of the A12 motorway near the Hague inflicted so much pressure on Dutch police, that the government there was forced to negotiate with those blocking the road; eventually leading to the government voting to end fossil fuel subsidies. [3][4]

One of those marching today is Grace Nicholls, 20, an Environmental science student from Manchester. She said:

“I’m marching today and potentially risking a criminal record because I want to be able to use my degree in the future and if we don’t stop new oil and gas now, there’ll be nothing left to save. We are in a crisis and I can see no other alternative. I have to do everything in my power to protect my home and the people I love.”

Another of those marching today is Poppy Bliss, 19, a student from Bury St Edmunds, she said:

“I am taking action with Just Stop Oil because I have been left with no other choice. New oil and gas is a death sentence for billions and a betrayal of the young. My generation, and all the generations after mine, are having our futures destroyed by the criminals in government who value profit over human lives.”

“I’m 19 years old, it shouldn’t be up to me and all the others here alongside me to do this, but we are desperate. We have been utterly failed and I cannot stand by and watch as everything we love is threatened. It’s time to pick a side, profit or life.”

There are currently five Just Stop Oil supporters held in prison, three remanded without trial and two who have now been imprisoned for over a year for nonviolent direct action. Morgan Trowland and Marcus Decker have been sentenced to 3 years and 2 years and 7 months respectively, in the longest sentences ever awarded for peaceful direct action. [5]

Continued expansion of new oil and gas will bring about the wholesale destruction of ordered society and an end to the rule of law. We are not prepared to watch while the government continues to serve the interests of a few, to the detriment of everyone else. It’s up to all of us to come together and resist. It is the will of the vast majority of people that we end new oil and gas and together we can make it happen.

12pm, Saturday November 18th, People vs Oil, the people are marching as one. Our government is waging war on its people, and we’re fighting back. They’re imprisoning peaceful protestors, protecting the real criminals, and licensing more than 100 new oil and gas projects. We’re coming together to demand an end to new oil and gas. Meeting at Jubilee Gardens near the London Eye at midday.  [6]


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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.

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.standard.co.uk/news/crime/courts-protest-just-stop-oil-palestine-justice-b1120290.html

[3] https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2023/11/13/met-police-palestine-marches-london-christmas-unsustainable/

[4] https://extinctionrebellion.nl/a12-blockades-netherlands-effective-lower-house-asks-cabinet-for-phase-out-plan-for-fossil-fuel-subsidies/

[5] https://juststopoil.org/2023/04/21/bridge-climbers-get-3-years-in-longest-ever-sentence-for-peaceful-climate-action/

[6] https://actionnetwork.org/forms/people-vs-oil-march