Just Stop Oil activists brought central London traffic to a standstill once again today with a slow march as they ramp up their eco campaign, and were seen laughing and joking with police officers who escorted them.
The eco-warrior group has been blocking roads by slow-marching along the street, with police following behind them without taking action to stop the disruption.
Video footage shows protesters walking slowly outside the Barbican centre holding banners saying ‘just stop new oil’ while chanting ‘no new oil, no new gas’.
Oscar Bailey, 26, from London said: ‘I’m taking action because I’m tired of government inaction on the biggest issue of our generation, possibly in the history of our species. We know the problem, we know the solution, as a society we just need to enact it.’
The activists’ campaign for the government to end all new oil and gas has seen direct, disruptive action which has included blocking roads and targeting famous works of art.
Alex De Koning, a spokesman for Just Stop Oil, told Sky News that targeting artworks ‘marked an escalation’ in the group’s action and warned it will ‘continue to escalate unless the government meets our demand’.
Just Stop Oil protestors blocked streets in north London today by slow-marching along the street
Met Police officers joke with the protestors as they march along the street in North London
The eco-zealots also passed by the Barbican centre as part of their protest, blocking traffic in central London this morning
An officer extends his hand to a Just Stop Oil protestor known as ‘Irish Sean’ as the group blocks the roads
The 24-year-old added: ‘If things need to escalate then we’re going to take inspiration from past successful movements and we’re going to do everything we can.
‘If that’s unfortunately what it needs to come to, then that’s unfortunately what it needs to come to.
‘We’re fighting for our lives, why would we do any less?’
Asked if future protests could involve slashing artwork, he said: ‘It could potentially come to that at one point in the future, yeah.’
De Koning, who describes himself as a ‘climate scientist’ said the activists could follow the suffragettes who ‘violently slashed paintings in order to get their messages across’.
De Koning, who according to the Times took a break from his PhD in green hydrogen production at the University of Newcastle, also confirmed more disruption is planned in the lead up to Christmas.
Met police officers have been escorting protestors as they march through London on their demonstration
Protesters holding signs saying ‘just stop new oil’ as they disrupt traffic trying to get around the capital
Just Stop Oil activists in central London this morning – they are on a new slow march
A white van driver shouts at activists as they block the road in Islington this morning
The delivery driver gestures as Just Stop Oil activists protested against oil and gas projects
Last month two Just Stop Oil activists appeared in court accused of throwing soup on a Van Gogh painting.
Anna Holland, 20, from Newcastle, and Phoebe Plummer, 21, from Lambeth, south-west London, both pleaded not guilty to criminal damage to the frame of Van Gogh’s painting in a hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on October 15.
Holland and Plummer spoke only to confirm their name, date of birth, addresses and to enter pleas of not guilty to criminal damage to the value of less than £5,000.
District judge Tan Irkam released the pair on bail on the condition they do not enter galleries or museums and do not have paint or adhesive substances in a public place.
He set their trial for December 13 at City of London Magistrates’ Court.
Heinz tomato soup on Vincent Van Gogh’s £76 million masterpiece at the National Gallery
Plummer and Holland pleaded not guilty to criminal damage to the frame of Van Gogh’s painting
A lawyer for climate activists last week suggested they may have ‘increased’ the value of a Vincent Van Gogh painting after two of them glued themselves to its frame at a London art gallery.
Just Stop Oil supporters Emily Brocklebank, 23, and Louis McKechnie, 22, have been found guilty of causing £2,000 of criminal damage to the frame.
Ms Brocklebank received a 21-day sentence and has been suspended for six months. However, she is subject to an electronically monitored six-week curfew. Meanwhile, Mr McKechnie has been jailed for three weeks.
Jonathan Bryan, prosecuting, said the activists used super glue to attach themselves to Van Gogh’s 1889 work Peach Trees In Blossom at the Courtauld Gallery, on the Strand, on June 30.
Just Stop Oil supporters Emily Brocklebank (right), 23, and Louis McKechnie (left), 22, were found guilty of causing just less than £2,000 of criminal damage to the frame of a Vincent Van Goph painting
Eco-zealots from Just Stop Oil cover John Constable’s The Hay Wain with their own apocalyptic pictures
Just Stop Oil activist accused of spraying paint on car showrooms denies criminal damage
Emma Brown (left) and Carmen Lean (right)
A Just Stop Oil activist accused of spraying orange paint on luxury car showrooms in Mayfair denied criminal damage charges today.
Architecture student Carmen Lean, 27, allegedly targeted HR Owen Bugatti, Jack Barclay Bentley, Bentley Motor Cars London and Ferrari Mayfair on 26 October this year.
Lean and fellow protester Emma Brown, 31, used fire-extinguishers, filled with the orange paint, to spray orange paint over the glass facades of the showrooms, it is said.
The pair had travelled from Glasgow to join the campaign group’s campaign of civil disobedience as they demand the government freezes all new oil and gas licences.
Lean, of Glasgow, denied five counts of criminal damage at Southwark Crown Court.
Brown, of Glasgow, denied the same charges when she appeared in court on Monday.
Judge Gregory Perrins fixed their trial date for 13 May 2024.
Lean was granted bail on condition she does not come within the M25 unless she has a court appearance.
She is also banned from being in possession of any paint in a public place.
According to the charges, damage was caused at Berkeley Square House as well as HR Owen Bugatti, Jack Barclay Bentley, Bentley Motor Cars London and Ferrari Mayfair.
In another case, the trial of two Just Stop Oil protesters for criminal damage was delayed earlier this month after they struggled to get legal representation due to lawyers being overwhelmed with cases.
The two climate change protestors glued themselves to the frame of John Constable’s masterpiece The Hay Wain with the help of double sided sticky tape.
Hannah Hunt, 23, co-founder of Just Stop Oil and Eben Lazarus, 22, staged the protest at the National Gallery on July 4.
The pair were held after allegedly sticking large sheets of paper over the 1821 Suffolk landscape of what activists called ‘an apocalyptic vision of the future’.
The image featured scenes of scorched trees, polluted skies, and discarded household waste.
The Brighton students then glued their hands to the frame, it is alleged.
They appeared at City of London Magistrates Court on November 3 for trial, but it was adjourned as they had no representation.
The pair claim their actions were necessary to address the climate crisis.
The pair will appear at Westminster Magistrates’ court on December 6 for a two hour trial.
Both remain on bail under the condition that they do not attend any art gallery or exhibition in England and Wales. They are also banned from possessing any adhesive substances including glue and tape in public.
Yesterday a serial eco-zealot who ‘flagrantly ignored’ warnings his protests risked jail was finally locked up.
Just Stop Oil supporter Jan Goodey, 57, was among a group of climate change activists who brought a section of Britain’s busiest motorway to a standstill during the morning rush hour, with tailbacks stretching for miles.
The Kingston University lecturer and journalist was handed a six-month custodial sentence yesterday after climbing a gantry at Junction 16 over the M25 near Uxbridge in west London on November 7 – weeks after being let off with a conditional discharge for blocking a road in a similar stunt earlier that year.
District judge Daniel Benjamin, sentencing him at Westminster Magistrates’ Court, said: ‘I struggle to see what more the courts could have done to warn you this type of conduct goes beyond what is legitimate and acceptable by way of peaceful protest.’
Goodey pleaded guilty to causing a public nuisance with the protest. He will spend half of the sentence in custody, with time spent on remand deducted automatically.
Just Stop Oil protestors are accused of spraying orange paint on luxury car showrooms in Mayfair
Jan Goodey on the gantry he climbed as part of a Just Stop Oil protest on the M24
And on Monday Just Stop Oil protesters gave police the run-around as officers were forced to follow the group around London as they stopped for a picnic in the park and then went on a pub crawl.
Around 80 officers policed the protest and were put on stand-by at locations throughout the capital ready to intervene if it ‘tipped over to the point where the disruption is serious’.
But a slow march through the Strand did not meet the threshold for becoming unlawful, and when it finished police continued to monitor the group as they went out for drinks to celebrate a birthday.