Just Stop Oil supporters arrested as food prices soar due to climate breakdown

Just Stop Oil supporters are on the road in their fifth week marching to the point of arrest. They are demanding 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 six Just Stop Oil supporters began marching on the pavement from Trafalgar Square to Parliament Square. One of their number was immediately arrested. The remaining five were arrested as soon as they entered the road in Parliament Square.

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 Xandra Gilchrist, 72, a retired social worker, mum and grandma, from Leamington Spa. She said: 

“I’m taking action for my wonderful daughter, my eight year old grandson and for all our futures. As a social worker, I’ve worked in child protection, fostering and adoption services for over 45 years. Now, with undeniable scientific evidence of the disaster of climate breakdown that we can see with our own eyes, and the political complicity that has brought us to this point, l realise I need to take action to protect all our children like never before. This is why l’m taking action with Just Stop Oil and you should be too.”

Also marching today is Margaret Reid, 52, a shop assistant from Kendal, who said:

“We are at a moment of existential crisis, hurtling towards disaster. However, instead of stopping the new oil and gas that is killing us, our government is intent on locking up teenagers and silencing dissenting voices for simply asking the government to take basic steps to protect the population of this country. The metropolitan police and the judiciary are supporting them in this, as we slide into dangerously authoritarian territory.”

“Are our futures safe in any of their hands? No. I am directed by my conscience, not by absurd and draconian rulings from a complicit judiciary. And that conscience tells me not to stand by in this time of crisis, and watch unscrupulous politicians destroy everything we love. I will not be silenced and I will not be intimidated.”

Today’s march comes after an analysis carried out by researchers from the universities of Bournemouth, Exeter and Sheffield, has revealed that more extreme and unseasonal weather, driven by climate breakdown, has accounted for one-third of all food price inflation in the UK this year. Combined with the impact of soaring energy prices – after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine drove up gas, energy and fertiliser prices. The report states that British households had been hit by £605 in additional food costs in 2022 and 2023. While energy prices have fallen back this year, the report warned that the impact from the climate emergency was increasing. The report highlights the necessity to transition the UK’s energy systems to renewables as soon as possible, to insulate the country from energy price spikes and to reduce carbon emissions. [3]

There have been 639 arrests of Just Stop Oil supporters since October 30th. There are currently nine 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) 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. [4][5][6][7]

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 overwhelming majority of people that we take the actions necessary to ensure our survival 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://extinctionrebellion.nl/a12-blockades-netherlands-effective-lower-house-asks-cabinet-for-phase-out-plan-for-fossil-fuel-subsidies/

[3] https://www.theguardian.com/business/2023/nov/27/climate-crisis-energy-costs-fuel-uk-household-food-bill-rise

[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/2023/11/20/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/