‘Will our children thank us?’- Two Just Stop Oil supporters disrupt thanksgiving service

Two Just Stop Oil supporters have disrupted a thanksgiving service. They are demanding that the UK government immediately halt all future licences and consents for fossil fuel exploration in the UK. [1]

At around 11:20 am today, Sue Parfitt, 81, an active Anglican priest and retired psychotherapist from Bristol, and Judy Bruce, 83, a biology teacher from Swansea, disrupted the USA Thanksgiving Day service at St. Paul’s Cathedral. They interrupted the service and held a sign saying: ‘Will our children thank us?’ and ‘Just Stop Oil’. As the ladies took action, the reverend running the service, Reverend Jennifer Mills-Knutsen, said: “parade and protest, praise and petition are one in the same.” Over 20 city of London police were seen attending the scene, as the ladies were escorted out by security.

Speaking before the action, they said:

“Today, in St Paul’s Cathedral is the Thanksgiving service when Americans especially celebrate family life. But here in Britain, young people are being imprisoned for saying: “We fear for our future – will we be able to have families of our own?”

Eight years ago, our governments pledged to reduce carbon emissions – but they, along with twenty of the largest oil producing nations, are now planning to increase oil and gas production.

We are two women in our eighties who feel we must do whatever we can before we die to turn this around. Our young people need hope — but hope must be earned by action.

Everyone must choose: are we on the side of hard decisions to kick our addiction to oil and gas? For a brighter future? Or are we on the side of business as usual leading to chaos and loss? Don’t be fooled, it’s not what people say, it’s what they do that counts.” [2]

Yesterday, fourteen Just Stop Oil supporters were arrested within seconds of stepping onto the road at Whitehall as they marched to demand an end to new oil and gas. There are currently four people held for court. This morning Christopher Ford (46) a nursery school teaching assistant, and father of two sons, has been remanded to prison for peacefully marching.  

Since October 30th there have been 612 arrests of Just Stop Oil supporters. There are currently ten Just Stop Oil supporters in prison, seven of whom have been imprisoned, without trial, for peacefully marching in the road. They are Cressie Gethin (21), Noah Crane (18), Ella Ward (20), Ruby Hamill (19), Chiara Sarti (24), Phoebe Plummer (22), Sam Griffiths (48) and Christopher Ford (46). They join Morgan Trowland and Marcus Decker, who have been imprisoned for over a year and were sentenced to 3 years and 2 years 7 months respectively, in the longest sentences ever awarded for peaceful direct action. [3][4][5][6][7]

On Tuesday, Secretary General of the UN, António Guterres, warned that on current trends, emissions in 2030 will be 22 gigatons higher than the 1.5C limit for global heating would allow. That is roughly the total annual emissions of the USA, China and the EU combined. These emissions are shattering temperature records with June, July, August, September and October all the hottest on record. He warned we are on course for a ‘dead-end’ 3 degrees of heating above pre-industrial levels. This level of heating will trigger irreversible, catastrophic feedback loops that threaten human civilisation. Gueterres added that: “we must reverse course. The crucial aspect of this is [dealing with] our addiction to fossil fuels.” [8]

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, at the expense 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.

People are marching every day from Trafalgar Square at 12pm, to bring an end to new oil and gas. 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. 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://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/nov/08/insanity-petrostates-planning-huge-expansion-of-fossil-fuels-says-un-report


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

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

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

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

[8] https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/other/un-report-says-world-is-racing-to-well-past-warming-limit-as-carbon-emissions-rise-instead-of-plunge/ar-AA1kewCq