Climate protesters will block roads ‘day after day’ in October, says XR founder

Speaking at Glastonbury festival, Roger Hallam said the disruption caused will be ‘the same if not greater’ than that seen in 2019.

Roger Hallam said the action will be halted if the Government changes its policy on drilling for new oil (Edd Dracott/PA)
Roger Hallam said the action will be halted if the Government changes its policy on drilling for new oil (Edd Dracott/PA)

Climate activist Roger Hallam has said protesters will cause disruption “the same if not greater” than was seen in the 2019 Extinction Rebellion demonstrations, if the Government does not stop investing in new oil projects.

Mr Hallam, who co-founded Extinction Rebellion and Insulate Britain, called for recruits to join the Just Stop Oil action as he gave a speech at the Speaker’s Corner at Glastonbury.

Mr Hallam, 56, said there will be a rotation system in which Just Stop Oil protesters will travel to London to block routes “day after day after day”.

“From October 1 there will be mass civil disobedience in London – assuming, of course, the Government doesn’t stop investing in new oil projects,” he told the PA news agency after the speech concluded.

Extinction Rebellion protest took place across October in 2019 (Victoria Jones/PA)

“There’s a specific ask, which is the Government doesn’t dig, drill, explore or license new oil – that’s the single demand.

“There’s a concerted effort to mass mobilise on the same scale as happened in 2019, if not greater.

“The difference between now and 2019 is that there are a lot more annoyed people in the country and people are realising the cost of living crisis is very interrelated with the climate crisis.”

The Government said earlier this year that it was taking a “sensible and pragmatic view” on new North Sea oil and gas to reduce reliance on Russian fossil fuel imports following its invasion of Ukraine.

Mr Hallam told the crowd of a few dozen people at Speaker’s Corner that he “could not guarantee” any of the action will work to successfully change the Government’s policy.

“But I’m 100% guaranteeing that nothing else works at all,” he said.

“There’s loads of great ideas in this festival, but none of them are going to come to fruition unless someone knocks the door down.

“We have to knock the door down – that’s how we do it.”

Mr Hallam was talking at Speaker’s Corner (Edd Dracott/PA)

The crowd were invited to speak in small groups after the talk, to discuss joining the protests and helping to spread the climate message around the festival at Worthy Farm – with organisers offering them the chance to sign up for non-violence training to ensure the demonstrations are peaceful.

During a week in which rail strikes caused severe travel delays, PA asked Mr Hallam how he felt the public perception of climate protest disruption differed.

“We’ve had 140 years or so of labour strikes in its modern manifestation, so society has had time, at least in this country, to accept that part of democratic life,” he said.

“The right to close down a country whose Government is engaging in the murder of the next generation is a right that hasn’t been established, because young people don’t have the social power to force the ruling class to give them that right.

“But obviously, things are going to move very fast over the next 10 years, as the actuality of that criminality becomes ever more clear.

“In the same way as some people hated the suffragettes, then they supported them.”

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