Just Stop Oil supporter who sprayed Scotland Yard sign acquitted

Just Stop Oil supporter Lora Johnson, 38, was acquitted of criminal damage by a Jury in front of Judge Grieve at Southwark Crown Court today. She was arrested on October 14, 2022, for spraying the iconic, triangular Metropolitan Police sign with orange paint in front of New Scotland Yard during Just Stop Oil’s month of action. [1]

Lora was among the 637 people detained by police during a period of relentless civil resistance that month, demanding that the government halts all new oil and gas licences and consents. A video of Lora’s arrest from two years ago on Westminster Bridge, where she proclaimed that “inaction on climate change is a death sentence for all,” has been viewed more than 11 million times. [2]

Johnson said today:

“I’ve just been found not guilty after six days at Southwark Crown Court by a jury of my peers. The action I took was painting the New Scotland Yard sign orange, in resistance to the government’s genocidal approval of new oil and gas licences.

“I would like to ask the MET police: who are they there to serve and protect? The good people of this country? Or the oil-corrupted government? I would like to ask them how they are planning to police the mass hysteria, the panic, the fear, the looting, the theft, the hoarding and the inevitable violence that will result when our shelves are empty and we can’t feed our children?”

There has been a spate of acquittals for Just Stop Oil supporters in the last few months, including yesterday at Stratford Magistrates Court where five supporters were found not guilty of Section 12 breach, and on May 8th when Fiona Atkinson and Catherine Rennie-Nash were found not guilty of Willful Obstruction of the Highway. Allied Swedish A22 group ‘Restore Wetlands’ have recently declared victory after their demands have been multilaterally adopted by all major parties in Swedish parliament, saying: “We will no longer glue ourselves to the highway with our Restore Wetlands banners. Restore Wetlands declare victory. Peaceful civil resistance works.” [3]

Speaking after her widely-publicised action in 2022, Johnson had said:

“Last week I said I am doing this for my son, that is still true. Today I want to say to those who arrested me, and others, for those who have imprisoned over 100 people acting to protect humanity that we are not prepared to watch while everything we love is destroyed. We’re done with begging. We are acting to stop new oil and gas because it is the right thing to do. 

“As a citizen, a mother, a daughter I have every right under British law to protect myself and those I love.This is the moment, we are the last people that can solve this. Will you step up and join us? Together we can do this. We can Just Stop Oil.” 

In a recent Guardian survey, 77% of climate scientists confirmed expectations of global temperatures rising by at least 2.5C above pre industrial levels, significantly exceeding the critical 1.5C threshold governments agreed to in 2015. Almost half (42%) think it will be more than 3C.

“[The climate crisis] is an existential threat to humanity and [lack of] political will and vested corporate interests are preventing us addressing it. I do worry about the future my children are inheriting,” said Lorraine Whitmarsh, environmental scientist at the University of Bath.

When asked what individual action would be effective, Stephen Humphreys at the London School of Economics said: “Civil disobedience.” [4] 

Until leaders act to protect us, Just Stop Oil supporters will continue to take the proportional action necessary to generate political pressure. This summer airports will be declared sites of civil resistance. Sign up to take action at juststopoil.org


Press contact: 07762 987334

Press email: [email protected]

High quality images & video here: https://juststopoil.org/press-media

Website: https://juststopoil.org/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JustStopOil/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/just.stopoil/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JustStop_Oil

Youtube: https://juststopoil.org/youtube

TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@juststopoil

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.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-suffolk-63147425

[3] https://juststopoil.org/2024/05/08/swedish-just-stop-oil-ally-group-restore-wetlands-declare-victory-in-huge-win-for-civil-resistance/