An Insulate Britain campaigner is facing the prospect of spending Christmas in prison after taking part in motorway protests on the M25, breaking a high court injunction.
Paul Sheeky, 46, has been a climate change activist for two-and-a-half years, first with Extinction Rebellion and now Insulate Britain.
During his time as an activist he has been arrested 14 times, Cheshire Live reports.
Recently, Mr Sheeky took part in blockades on both motorways and A-roads in London and, now faces a trial at the Royal Courts of Justice in London for breaking an injunction.
He now fears he may be sentenced to between two to four months in prison, meaning he will face Christmas behind bars.
Mr Sheeky said that he “always wanted to be a revolutionary”. He was involved in anti-capitalist protests in the early 2000s, and also anti-Iraq War protests.
“That was actually a pivotal moment,” he said, “When two million of us marched in London and it was just ignored.
“Then I thought, this is not working, this way of doing things is not working.”
Peaceful protesting, he beleives, was not enough and he took to civil disobedience. He joined Extinction Rebellion and then Insulate Britain as Extinction Rebellion was inactive during lockdowns.
“It felt like quite a desperate time,” Mr Sheeky said. “The climate doesn’t stop changing because we are having a pandemic.
“It still was getting worse and worse and worse, and the signs were really clear.”
After joining Insulate Britain, activists blocked the motorways and roads, including the M25 and roads in Manchester.
He said: “It’s a real shame that we have to do it, but it is justified because what we’re trying to do is save lives at the end of the day… from both fuel poverty and also from climate change.
“If you look at the predictions of how many people are likely to die if we don’t tackle this, we’re talking in the millions.
“So it’s regrettable that the government is so bad that we have to do things like this to actually get in the media and get this message across.
“We certainly wouldn’t be doing it unless we were absolutely desperate.”
The protests have caused backlash from the public, but Mr Sheeky said it’s not all negative.
“It’s a big shock to the public that anyone would do this,” he explained, “So initially, the people that we were preventing from getting to work were just stunned that anyone was even doing this.
“When we started talking to them about why we were doing it, some people accepted it, some people got it. And that’s what you don’t tend to see across the right-wing media.
“Not every single driver was angry, we have people that are coming up and thanking us and supporting us.”
Even after the high court issued the injunction on September 21, Mr Sheeky continued to protest.
He is due at the Royal Court of Justice in London today (December 15) for sentencing, after breaking the injunction and being held in contempt of court. Contempt of court offences can be punished with up to two years in prison or unlimited fines.
Mr Sheeky predicts he will be given two to four months behind bars. He will admit breaking the junction.
Mr Sheeky is critical of the decision to charge through the civil courts rather than the criminal, which means there will be no jury.
He has now accepted his fate of prison time, but it has been emotional and upsetting to come to terms with. He also urges the public to educate themselves about the climate crisis.
“Insulation is just one of the many ways that we need to change society in order to… stop the unmitigated disaster that’s coming.
“I could advocate writing to your MP, but I know from experience that it doesn’t work.
“Get involved in your local community and get involved with local activists.”
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