Over 300 Arrests in Three Weeks at Just Stop Oil Marches
Monday, students from all over the UK and JSO supporters led a march down Hendon Way in North London. Just Stop Oil has been holding peaceful marches in London, demanding the UK government to halt all new oil, gas, and coal projects. They have reached over 300 arrests in the span of three weeks.
Police began to arrest Just Stop Oil supporters as soon as they began marching. These arrests are being made in alleged violation of Section 7, part of the anti-protest bill passed in May 2023. There weren’t enough police to take every protester into custody, leaving at least 70 marchers to continue.
After three weeks of protest, there had been 300 arrests, 132 Just Stop Oil protesters charged, and three remanded to prison.
Among the protesters was Dr. Juliette Brown, a 53 year old doctor from London, “Democracy doesn’t start and end at the ballot box. Whether it’s marching for a ceasefire in Palestine or taking action with Just Stop Oil, I feel driven to act by government policies that are threatening the lives of countless millions of ordinary people.”
Another protester was Taylor Collins, 19, a student from Southampton, “Politicians are making huge money by trashing our future with unsustainable oil and gas, corrupt lobbying, and prolonging the cost of living crisis with an addiction to fossil fuels.”
“The climate crisis has been worsening throughout my entire life. Politicians have failed to address it. This is a terrible hand for a 19 year old to be dealt. Young people will face all the consequences but none of the benefits of carbon capitalism. If I could, I’d change the policy right now. But by the time my generation will have any influence, it will be too late. This is my last resort.”
Just Stop Oil marched again on Tuesday, marching north towards Kennington. After 15 minutes, they’d moved out of the road temporarily in order to allow traffic, as blue lights and a siren approached. However, a few minutes after that, an officer again declared their march a breach of the anti-protest bill, Section 7.
Additional officers arrived, and began making arrests. Just Stop Oil supporters used peaceful noncompliance tactics of going limp, making the detainment difficult to manage.
These acts are not going unnoticed, and it successfully takes a toll on law enforcement, even in their peaceful methods. The chair of the Metropolitan Police Federation even conceded on Monday, saying that there was “no magic box of public order officers.”
This mimics the events in Netherlands recently, where there were persistent road blocks that racked up massive arrests daily, in order to end fossil fuel subsidies. Police unions warned that this policing was “unsustainable”, however, the raised awareness resulted in the successful passing of a motion to end the fossil fuel subsidies.
A 24-year-old electrician, Thomas Dalton, 24, was at the march today, “I am a tradesman, an electrician. The cost of renewable energy is far lower than that of new oil and gas. We as a society need to build a new way forward that ensures clean, cheap energy and meets the needs of its citizens.”
“I am taking action due to the criminal negligence of our government. New oil and gas licensees are not only a direct assault on the possibility of a livable future. They are also evidence of a government that doesn’t care for its most vulnerable people but only looks after wealthy donors and corporations destroying the world”
A 20-year-old astrophysics student from Manchester, Mairi Johnston, took action today as well, “I’ve had to make peace with the difficult fact that the future I’ve envisioned for myself doesn’t exist. I’ve been hesitant to do anything that jeopardizes my plans, but there is no point in protecting that future if nothing changes. Taking action with Just Stop Oil is how I will protect it.”
“Scientists are predicting we will have permanently breached 1.5C in 2030. Then we will be facing societal collapse, billions of people will be displaced, and the world will look nothing like it does right now. I will be 26 years old. Our government is responsible for genocide – it’s as simple as that. We are taking action because we don’t see any other option.”
Another protester, Cressida Gethin, refused to comply. She was held another day as she refused to attend a court hearing, “I’m in prison because I am in civil resistance, and I am in civil resistance because the UK government is licensing new oil and gas projects. New oil and gas means the deaths of billions of people, and so I refuse to just carry on with my daily life while this atrocity is being played out. What choice do I have? At this stage of the game in 2023, with scientists pulling their hair out at how bad the climate crisis is getting, what choice do any of us have but to be in civil resistance? We’re moral beings, we know what’s right, and sometimes we just have to stand up and fight for it.”
Against all expectations, Cressie has been released today. The judge refused to imprison her as she remained noncompliant in court, saying, "I shouldn't be in the dock, it should be government ministers in this dock".
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“What are our responsibilities at this time? Because of the fossil fuel industry, we are facing horrors of a magnitude never before experienced in our existence. Our government continues to lead us to the edge of no return. We must stand up and defend ourselves. No one else is going to do it. It must be us, if we want to live.
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