Wednesday, 19 Jun 2024

Just Stop Oil sparks rush hour mayhem despite wave of arrests

Just Stop Oil protesters march in the City of London

Just Stop Oil protesters brought a street in central London to a standstill in a slow-march despite a wave of arrests in recent weeks. About 25 members of the group donned high-vis jackets and carried an orange banner as they caused rush hour chaos in their latest stunt.

Protesters held up buses and motorists in Aldersgate Street in the City of London, not far from the Barbican, on Monday. City of London Police has been approached for comment.

It is the fourth week Just Stop Oil has staged a slow march in the centre of the capital as it calls for an end to new fossil fuel projects. The marches began on April 24.

Cat Scothorne, 20, a history student from Glasgow, said: “I’m taking action with Just Stop Oil because the Government doesn’t care about us.

“It doesn’t care about the millions of people it harms through its expansion of expensive and deadly fossil fuels, it only cares about profit and power.

“Things don’t have to be this way; let’s heat everyone’s homes, feed everyone’s kids and avoid the mass murder that is climate disaster.”

The protest comes after police made a wave of arrests. Just Stop Oil says there have been more than 2,100 arrests since it launched its campaign on February 14 last year.

A total of 138 group members have spent time in prison, according to the group.

It points to the marches happening against a backdrop of increasingly frequent, extreme weather events such as torrential rain causing landslides in Rwanda; Cyclone Mocha leading to thousands of evacuations in Myanmar and residents in Alberta, Canada, being forced from their homes by wildfires.

A Just Stop Oil campaigner, who took part in Monday’s march, shouted: “I have travelled from Glasgow because my Government is not listening to me.

“We are looking at IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] reports that tell us we are not on track to meet our [climate] goals and yet the Government is about to license a new oil project that is the equivalent of 28 lower-income countries’ emissions.

“This project is called Rosebank and it is a death sentence to everyone on this planet.”

The demonstration comes after another on Friday with protesters marching along Cromwell Street, Kensington.

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There was a heated exchange between a Metropolitan Police officer who demanded one protester get off the road.

Video footage shows an officer telling activists to leave the road before a woman walks forward, just avoiding getting hit by a car.

The officer shouted: “Madam, get off the road. You’re going to be knocked down.”

Caroline Cattermole, 70, a cancer patient support worker involved in the Kensington action, said: “We risk famine, starvation and societal collapse as a result of crop failure brought about by extreme weather events. We have to stop new fossil fuels now.”

During King Charles’s Coronation on May 6 one Just Stop Oil protester was carried out of a crowd and searched by police on Whitehall.

Ben Larsen, 25, wearing a Just Stop Oil T-shirt, said he was there to see the coronation and peacefully protest

Grinning at police officers, he told them: “You’ve searched me and haven’t found shit.” To which a police officer replied: “You need to educate yourself on what peaceful protest is.”

Royal fans cheered and shouted “see you later” as protesters were removed from The Mall. Officers were seen carrying protesters from the area while crowds heckled and booed them.

People could be heard saying, “What a waste of time”, as the protestors were removed.

Just Stop Oil said around 20 of its supporters were arrested for protesting during the Coronation celebrations on May 6.

Protesters from the anti-monarchy group Republic, including its chief executive Graham Smith, were apprehended during the day.

Police said they understood public concern after officers made 52 arrests throughout the King’s big day, including alleged affray, public nuisance and breach-of-the-peace offences.

The Metropolitan Police came under heavy criticism after what campaign groups described as “incredibly alarming” detentions during republican protests.

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