600 Arrests in Four Weeks - Just Stop Oil campaign blows past major milestone in monumental climate campaign

Earlier today, a group of 14 people were arrested seconds after beginning a march from Trafalgar Square in London in support of Just Stop Oil’s demand of no new oil and gas. This brings the total number of arrests with Just Stop Oil to 612 since October 30th.

JSO is drawing inspiration from recent demonstrations in the Netherlands, where activists blocked the highway in front of the Hague for nearly a month straight, accruing a total of over 9,000 arrests before the Dutch parliament was forced to vote to end fossil fuel subsidies. Can Just Stop Oil reach similar numbers of resistors and arrests to force the UK government to meet its demands? It is entirely within the realm of possibility.

Greg Sculthorpe, a 37-year old accountant, was one of those marching today. He had this to say, “Yesterday nine people were arrested for marching for 30 seconds. If charged under the Public Order Act, they risk a year in prison. This is legislation that was written with the aid of an oil company funded think-tank. Do these seem like the actions of a liberal democracy or a tin-pot dictatorship?” He continues“This demonstrates how weak this government is. They serve the oil companies and they are so threatened by people raising their voices, and taking to the streets as people have done for centuries, that they are imprisoning teenagers, for simply demanding the government take basic steps to protect their generation from annihilation. We must do our civic duty and do everything we can to stop these criminals in government from destroying the lives and futures of ordinary people.”

Callum Goode, a 24 year old math graduate, also marched today. He said. “I know what I’m risking – that I’ll likely be sent to prison for continuing to peacefully march. But that risk is nothing compared to what is to come if this government continues to issue new fossil fuel licenses. I can’t continue on as normal in this emergency. If I refuse to act in nonviolent resistance, I am complicit in this government’s acts of oblique genocide." He continues, “No level of police and government oppression can change that; I must act. I’m terrified for the future – a future of unimaginable suffering, starvation and death that new oil and gas will lock in. Nonviolent action is now the only thing I can do to meaningfully protect my friends, family and everyone else.”

It is difficult to read statements like these, or see the photos of peaceful people being arrested for marching for their survival, and not be moved. There are now 9 people in prison for nonviolent action in the UK in support of Just Stop Oil, 7 of whom were arrested during a slow march. Of course, gaining the sympathy of onlookers and the general public is part of the strategy of nonviolent civil resistance. However, it seems that for many of these activists, the journey has ceased to be about tactics, necessarily. It’s taken on something of a spiritual depth.

These people know what the state is capable of — Morgan Trowland and Marcus Decker have been imprisoned for over a year and were sentenced to 3 years and 2 years 7 months respectively. These were the longest sentences ever awarded for peaceful direct action. Phoebe Plummer was given a 6 month sentence for slow marching. And yet, more people continue to march.

To bear witness to other people holding on to their morals in a time of rotting, materialist, postmodern thought, and on the brink of climate breakdown… to witness them taking action in defiance of a government which is clearly in the wrong, is something very special. These actions contain seeds of rebellion, which are sown in the minds and hearts of all those paying attention. 

Winning their demand will be an exquisite addendum… the main story, though, is the spread of a spirit of sacrificial, determined, nonviolent rebellion. In that, they have already won.

In Solidarity, Jon Tijerina

 

 

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Jon Tijerina

About

Jon Tijerina writes for the Daily Rebellion. He 's been arrested 14 times for civil disobedience to get government action on the climate crisis. He loves falafel, reading classics and spending time with good people. He lives in California.