Just Stop Oil activists break court ban to march on Kingsbury oil terminal

The action is the first since Just Stop Oil suspended its activities from 19 to 25 April

Saphora Smith
Climate Correspondent
Tuesday 26 April 2022 16:50
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<p>Just Stop Oil activists break an injunction outside Kingsbury oil terminal in Warwickshire</p>

Just Stop Oil activists break an injunction outside Kingsbury oil terminal in Warwickshire

A group of climate activists protested outside Kingsbury oil terminal in Warwicskhire Tuesday despite a court ban barring demonstrations at the site, the Just Stop Oil coalition has said.

At 7.30 a.m. around 16 people carrying placards walked peacefully towards the oil terminal in Warwickshire where climate protests took place earlier this month.

A spokesperson for Just Stop Oil said the activists were approached by police, who read out the injuction which bars the defendants from organising or participating in any protest against the production or use of fossil fuels at Kingsbury Oil Terminal in certain areas.

Just Stop Oil activists protest outside Kingsbury oil terminal in Warwickshire despite a court ban.

The court ban gives police the power of arrest without warrant if they suspect that a person is in breach of the injuction.

Just Stop Oil later said 16 people were arrested after they sat in the road blocking the entrance to the oil terminal. Obstructing an entrance to the oil termianl is listed in the court ban as a banned activity.

Warwickshire police said breaching the injunction in place around Kingsbury oil terminal can carry a maximum penalty of two years’ imprisonment. The police said a number of arrests had been made.

“A number of arrests have been made this morning and our priority continues to be to minimise any disruption to the community and the local road networks, while ensuring the terminal can go about its day-to-day operational activity,” Assistant Chief Constable Dave Gardner said in a statement.

“A heightened police presence will remain in the area as we deal with the protesters and continue to protect the public from harm.”

Amy Pritchard, 37, a care worker from London, speaking ahead of the action Tuesday said if her imprisonment helps wake people up to the seriousness of the situation facing the planet then it would be worth it.

“The UN Secretary General clearly states ‘fossil fuels are a dead end’ and ‘delay means death’,” Ms Pritchard said. “No new oil and gas is not a controversial demand. I want to have children and I want them to have a future.”

This is Just Stop Oil’s first action since it paused activities between 19-25 April.

Sarah Webb, 51, a special educational needs tutor from Oxfordshire, said she was breaking the injunction in Kingsbury and risking prison time by standing peacefully on a grass verge and not blocking anything.

“Our Government and judicial system have now effectively outlawed peaceful protest,” she said. “Is this Russia, is this China? No, it’s the UK.”

The action is the first after Just Stop Oil suspended its activities from 19 to 25 April.

The aim of the coalition’s pause on activity was to give the government a chance to announce that it would immediately halt all future licensing and consents for the exploration, development and production of fossil fuels in the UK. No such pledge has been made.

The coalition said that since 1 April when supporters of Just Stop Oil first began blockading oil terminals there have been more than 1,000 arrests. The Independent hasn’t independently confirmed the figure.

Just Stop Oil said it will continue the disruption until the government makes a statement that it will end new oil and gas projects in the UK.

Responding to Ms Webb’s comments, a spokesperson for the Home Office siad the claim was “sensationist” and “not true.”

“The right to peaceful protest is a fundamental part of our democracy and that will never change. But nobody should have unchecked rights to endanger the public, themselves and cause misery for the hardworking majority – as we have seen in Kingsbury recently,” the spokesperson said.

“Injunctions are granted by the courts, which are independent of government. But the long term solution remains our Policing Bill, which will give police the powers to better manage such guerrilla protest tactics and protect the rights of the British public to go about their lives.”

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