Just Stop Oil supporters march for 30 seconds as UN criticises ‘severe’ sentences

Just Stop Oil supporters are in their fourth week marching to the point of arrest to demand that the UK government immediately halt all future licences and consents for fossil fuel exploration in the UK. [1]

At around 12:30 pm today, a group of approximately nine people began marching from Trafalgar Square in support of Just Stop Oil’s demand. All nine were arrested within 30 seconds of stepping on the road.

Just Stop Oil has issued an open call to the public and to all concerned parties to march together in defiance of this criminal government. This has been inspired by demonstrations in the Netherlands, where repeated road disruptions and continued pressure on the police, has forced the Dutch parliament to vote to end fossil fuel subsidies. [2]

One of those marching today is Mel Carrington, 63, a mum and former environmental consultant. She said:

“As a mum I can’t stand by and watch while 18 and 19 year olds are imprisoned, without trial, for demanding a future. They have barely begun and yet their life chances are being snuffed out by the deceit and denial of self serving politicians and greedy fossil fuel execs. It breaks my heart.”

“I’m afraid that organised society will unravel very quickly in the face of 3C of warming. We’re looking at crop failure, mass starvation and millions of deaths. I’m taking action with Just Stop Oil because I believe that civil resistance is the best chance we have of forcing the government to act.”

Joining the march today in a support capacity, is sustainability campaigner, former Green Party and Friends of the Earth director, and writer, Jonathon Porritt. He said:

“Just Stop Oil’s uncompromising position is wholly justified – morally and politically. Its central objective is crystal clear – and not even particularly radical. Unfortunately, the current UK Government has chosen to ignore the science, and has simultaneously trashed the UK’s reputation as a leader on the climate by doubling down on new oil, gas and coal investments.”

“It’s pretty horrendous coping with all this at the age of 73, but it’s all but impossible for me to imagine how I would be dealing with it, psychologically, if I was still looking ahead to a long life ahead of me. I don’t think there’s any doubt that I would be joining with colleagues, of my own age, to take direct action – for many reasons, but primarily to keep despair at bay through taking that action.” [3]

Yesterday, Cressie Gethin (21) and Noah Crane (18) were remanded to prison where they join Ella Ward (20), Ruby Hamill (19), Chiara Sarti (24), Phoebe Plummer (22) and Sam Griffiths (48), who have all been imprisoned, without trial, for peacefully marching in the road. [4][5][6]

Yesterday Cressie spoke in court before she was remanded:

“I will say that I have the greatest respect for the people in this courtroom as human beings, but I have a moral duty to remain in resistance given the scale of this crisis. Whatever the court decides to do I will remain in resistance. If given bail I will march again. If I am remanded others will march in my place.” [7]

After yesterday’s march, seven people are currently held for court, a number of whom are potentially expecting to be remanded. There are currently nine Just Stop Oil supporters in prison, including Morgan Trowland and Marcus Decker, who have been sentenced to 3 years and 2 years 7 months respectively, in the longest sentences ever awarded for peaceful direct action. [8]

Todays march comes as Mr Ian Fry, the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the context of Climate Change, wrote to the UK government “regarding the arrest and severity of the sentences of Mr. Trowland and Mr. Decker in relation to their work as environmental human rights defenders”.  He stated that the sentences are “significantly more severe than previous sentences imposed for this type of offending in the past.” and continued that he was worried about “the exercise of their rights to freedom of expression and freedom of peaceful assembly and association”. [9]

Speaking from prison, Morgan Trowland, sentenced to 3 years in prison, said: “The sentences given to myself and Marcus Decker demonstrate that our government is determined to protect those who are planning climate genocide. It’s people vs oil and our government has signalled that it is on the side of oil”.

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.

From 20th November the people are marching against oil every day from Trafalgar Square at 12pm. 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 while everything burns. We’re coming together to demand an end to new oil and gas, and it’s not a case of ‘if’ we will win; but ‘when’. 


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

[3] https://juststopoil.org/2023/11/07/supporting-just-stop-oil-by-jonathon-porritt/

[4] https://juststopoil.org/2023/11/16/we-wont-let-them-get-away-with-mass-murder-for-the-sake-of-greed/

[5] https://juststopoil.org/2023/11/16/how-many-people-will-die-before-you-stop-sending-people-like-me-to-prison/

[6] https://juststopoil.org/2023/11/09/a-message-from-sam-griffiths-in-wandsworth-prison/

[7] https://juststopoil.org/2023/11/20/a-week-in-resistance-with-cressie/

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

[9] https://www.msn.com/en-xl/news/other/un-criticises-severe-just-stop-oil-sentences/ar-AA1kgSLE