Do You Hear the People Sing? Just Stop Oil Disrupt Les Misérables

   On October 4th, performers were in the midst of waving their red flag of revolution in the musical number “Do You Hear the People Sing?,” when the protesters displayed their own symbols of rebellion. This included Just Stop Oil’s emblem, as well as messaging that declared “the show cannot go on.” The show was indeed brought to a halt, as the protesters secured themselves to the set with bicycle locks. Within 20 minutes, by 9:10 pm, the theatre was evacuated. 

   Among the protesters was 23 year old community worker Hannah Taylor. She draws the connection between the historical, tragic musical and the modern, disturbing reality, "The show starts with Jean Valjean stealing a loaf of bread to feed his sister’s starving child. How long before we are all forced to steal loaves of bread? How long before there are riots on the streets? The show cannot go on. We are facing catastrophe. New oil and gas means crop failure, starvation and death. It is an act of war on the global south and an utter betrayal of young people. . . Am I not, like Jean Valjean, justified in breaking the law to oppose this criminal government and its murderous policies? Ask yourself, will you, like the citizens of Paris in the play, stand by and watch, or will you stand up against our governments’ criminal plans and call for an end to new oil and gas?"

   Taylor continued to give current context to the political climate in the UK that consequently affects the climate everywhere. "Rishi Sunak has just approved Rosebank, a new oil project in the north sea which will produce as much carbon as the annual emissions of the 28 lowest-income countries combined. It will lead to hundreds of thousands of deaths due to starvation as crops fail in the increasingly extreme weather conditions."

19 year old Poppy Bliss, student from Nottingham, also engaged in the revolutionary event, and shares what calls her to action, "I am taking action with Just Stop Oil because I am absolutely terrified for my future. I don’t want to be disrupting people’s evenings out, but I have been left with no other choice. Our government is betraying the young and putting everyone’s futures on the line for the sake of a few votes. I am doing this because I am desperate. . .We are frighteningly close to losing everything we love. Everything we know will be destroyed by climate collapse. I cannot do nothing and just watch that happen. I want a liveable future for my generation and the generations to come. The show cannot go on."


In “Les Misérables”, the musical number “Do You Hear the People Sing?” is a protest anthem that has been utilized globally in movements and campaigns, calling on communities to stand up to those in power who do not put collective needs first. Just Stop Oil calls on the government now to stop licensing all new oil, gas and coal projects, as the British government has approved the development of Rosebank field, a new oil and gas field in the North Sea. Rosebank can still be stopped- join Just Stop Oil and take action:

In Solidarity, Leia Perreira



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Leia Perreira


Leia advocates for sustainability and Earth through art, bearing an extinction symbol tattoo. She is a staff writer for Daily Rebellion and community outreach for XRPathways.