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NewsJust Stop Oil supporters from Greater Manchester arrested in 5th week of...

Just Stop Oil supporters from Greater Manchester arrested in 5th week of London road blockades

There have been around 15 arrests of Just Stop Oil supporters from Greater Manchester in London over the weekend, following at least 13 from the county earlier this month. They are among hundreds of Just Stop Oil supporters who have been arrested for blocking traffic in Central London, bringing the capital to a standstill for the 5th week running.

They are demanding that the Government commits to ending all new oil and gas projects in the UK.

Just Stop Oil supporters from the North of England blocked the three roads next to Mansion House Tube station on Thursday. The same group – 61 in total – returned on Saturday to block four locations across central London – Charing Cross Road, High Street Kensington, Harleyford Street and Blackfriars Road. Each time they disrupted traffic by sitting in the road with their now familiar banners. Some supporters glued themselves onto the tarmac while others locked on to each other with steel tubes, making their removal more difficult.

Paul Harnett, a 62 year old Economist from Manchester, said “I work on climate change with the World Bank and the UN so I am very familiar with what the scientists are telling us and it leaves me terrified for friends and family and all the world’s people. If we allow our government to go after new oil and gas as the say they will then we have no chance of avoiding climate breakdown and the loss of all that we hold dear. That is why I have joined thousands of ordinary people taking nonviolent direct action against our government and the suicidal fossil fuel industry; asking nicely hasn’t worked so we are demanding an end to new oil and gas and we are prepared to go to jail to make that happen.”

Lucy Timlin, 44 year old single mum and campaigner from Manchester, said “I am here because young people deserve a future and the actions of our government in licensing new oil and gas projects is stealing that future from them. Our children do not have a voice but we do and it is important that we use it to create a world in which they can thrive. If ordinary people like myself have to break the law to make this happen then so be it – asking nicely hasn’t worked and it’s time for action.

Rev Mark Coleman, 63, a retired vicar from Rochdale, has been arrested several times since the blockades began on 1st October, having just been released from prison after blocking Kingsbury Oil Terminal in Warwickshire. He said “The government has been told there can be no new oil and gas if we’re to have a liveable future. I will not walk by on the other side while millions starve. We do not have to commit collective suicide. There is another way. Let’s start with renewables, insulation and free public transport – these are easy solutions that will benefit us all and will set an example for other countries to follow. We have a chance to be world leaders but it is clear to me that our government will not do this without pressure from ordinary people.”

Jane Touil, 56, from Rochdale, said “I gave up my public sector job earlier this year to enter into civil resistance against this criminal government which is going to get us all killed unless we fight for a liveable future. I am terrified by what’s coming. Millions are already suffering and dying in places like Somalia and Pakistan where climate change has caused famine and floods and it’s heading our way too if we don’t act. I cannot stand by while the government wilfully ignores the science and licences new oil and gas production, it’s absolute madness! We could move easily and quickly to cheaper, cleaner, greener energy but the government is hell bent on going after the fossil fuels that are killing us so we need to force them to stop.”

Alan Woods, 58, a business owner of over 40 years from Wigan, has been arrested multiple times since the blockades began on 1st October. He said “Our Prime Minister has made it clear that he is not taking the climate crisis seriously, he can’t even be bothered to attend the COP 27 climate summit in Egypt next month – he’s totally out of touch with what ordinary people are demanding which is a clean, green, secure future free of fossil fuels. Now the Government is looking to license 130 new oil and gas fields – totally contradictory to what all the world’s scientists tells us is necessary, and incompatible with any sort of habitable future. The chance to turn this ship around is closing fast. There can be no new oil and gas if we want a liveable future. It’s that simple, the science is clear.”

Paul Barnes, 43, a Dad of two young children from Bolton and one of those arrested, said “It’s like living in a dream world where everyone’s sleepwalking to disaster and I’m screaming for them to wake up. I’m still waiting for an emergency broadcast on all TV channels, where the public is communicated the full science and consequences of what climate breakdown means.

We tell our children that we’d do anything to protect them, and I know if mine were trapped in a burning building I’d be kicking the door down. The climate emergency is just the same only on a global scale. As a parent I’m willing to do all I can to protect my children, which is why I’m willing to risk arrest and imprisonment to draw attention to the crisis, and I appeal to all parents like me to join us.  We can’t afford to wait to act.

It’s so hard to think about all the children around the world right now who are being killed due to climate breakdown caused by fossil fuels. The climate crisis is here now and we have to do something, because our government is going in the opposite direction and we’re facing crop failure, mass migration, civil unrest and violence as society breaks down.”

A number of those arrested were remanded in custody and taken to court the following day.

There have been scenes of angry drivers shouting abuse, throwing traffic bollards and dragging the Just Stop Oil supporters off the road, only for them to return immediately to sit down in the road again. However, despite these reports, recent polling has shown a huge surge in support for nonviolent direct action of the sort carried out by Just Stop Oil, with 66% saying they support taking nonviolent direct action to protect the climate and just 34% opposed.

The actions over the weekend follow 29 days of continuous disruption by supporters of Just Stop Oil, which have resulted in around 650 arrests. Since the campaign began on April 1st, Just Stop Oil supporters have been arrested nearly 2,000 times, with 6 currently in prison.

The London blockades come after the Government announced it plans to license more than 130 new oil and gas projects. Just Stop Oil say they are peacefully resisting those plans, and what they see as the government’s failure to tackle the climate crisis and fulfil its promise to help people with their skyrocketing energy bills. The energy price hike on October 1st means almost 8 million households are expected to fall into fuel poverty by April 1st 2023, while energy companies are accused of making huge profits.

A spokesperson from the campaign said “This is not a one-day event – expect us every day and anywhere. This is an act of resistance against a criminal government and their genocidal death project. Our supporters will not stop until our demand is met: no new UK oil and gas.

We will not be intimidated by changes to the law; we will not be stopped by private injunctions sought to silence peaceful people. Our supporters understand that these are irrelevant when set against mass starvation, slaughter, the loss of our rights, freedoms and communities.

Stand with our supporters in prison, with the 1,700 murdered across the global south, for protecting all our lives. We have every right, and indeed a duty, to disrupt, to disobey and to resist. We stand to lose everything we’ve got, so we’ve got to give it everything we’ve got. It’s going to take all of us. Step up and take action. Join our weekly zoom calls on Tuesdays at 7pm. And join us at Downing Street at 11am every day during October.”

Sam Allcock
Sam Allcock
With over 20 years of experience in the field SEO and digital marketing, Sam Allcock is a highly regarded entrepreneur. He is based in Cheshire but has an interest in all things going on in the North West and enjoys contributing local news to the site.
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