Two Just Stop Oil supporters visited Scotland Yard to deliver a letter inviting Met Police boss Mark Rowley to a formal meeting. The letter was in response to the cops pushing the story in the corporate media that the group’s protests cost £20m. It comes as the Met also received a letter of complaint from several human rights groups over its policing of pro-Palestine marches.
The Met and Just Stop Oil: a battle of words
The group’s action came after the Met Police launched a media campaign against it – pushing the line that it has cost the public £20m to police the protests. Predictably, the corporate media widely ran with the story:
So, Just Stop Oil responded. However, when two activists tried to deliver it in person, it was refused by the staff at Scotland Yard:
However, Just Stop Oil are also in touch with the Metropolitan Police by email and social media. The group hopes to arrange a meeting with the commissioner as soon as possible.
The letter from Just Stop Oil also came in response to a request from commander Kyle Gordon that “Just Stop Oil come forward and speak with us, so we can actually work with them”.
Dear Sir Mark Rowley,
Recent statements from the Met Police indicate that policing Just Stop Oil actions has cost the police nearly £20 million. What a waste, and as you point out, arresting non-violent grandmothers, teenagers, vicars, medics, engineers is not the best use of your resources. We have previously reached out to you, and various police federations earlier this year. Just Stop Oil representatives would be able to meet with you, at your Scotland Yard office, in the week commencing 11th December 2023. If this is not convenient please provide us with an alternative date.
Previously, Just Stop Oil has repeatedly attempted to open dialogue with the Metropolitan Police, but have received no response. In October 2023, a Just Stop Oil supporter delivered an open letter to Rowley, which can be read here.
‘Just following orders’
A Just Stop Oil spokesperson said:
We understand that the vast majority of officers serving in the Metropolitan Police have stepped into their role out of a profound sense of duty and a desire to protect and serve their communities. Despite our obvious differences, that desire to protect our communities is something that we all share. However, objectively, at the present time, the leadership of this country are making decisions that threaten our homes, our families, our communities and our entire way of life.
Continued expansion of oil and gas, against the advice of the entire scientific consensus, is leading to crop failure, food shortages and will eventually lead to mass civil unrest, social collapse and an end to the rule of law. I would ask those serving in the police force to consider the actions that they take at this time very seriously.
How will you answer your children in the years to come, when they ask you ‘what did you do’ to stop this crisis unfolding? Did you follow the orders of the people directly profiting from the industries ravaging our shared home? Did you facilitate the actions of people that future generations will come to regard as criminals of the highest order? Or did you make another choice? Did you follow through on your commitment to protect and serve your community and to protect the interests of your children and of generations to come?
One of those who delivered the letter was Pippa Cowtan, a recent politics graduate from London. She said:
I have been arrested numerous times by the Metropolitan police for nonviolent acts of civil resistance. I have had friends as young as 18 imprisoned, without trial, for trying to demand the government protect them instead of only serving the interests of corporations and billionaires.
Meanwhile, the powerful men profiting off the destruction of my home and my future are walking free. I just graduated, and in my lifetime scientists are predicting major ecological and social collapse. How can I plan for a future that is in such jeopardy? The police must act and hold the real criminals to account.
Not just Just Stop Oil complaining about the Met
Just Stop Oil’s intervention follows twelve British human rights and media organisations also writing to Rowley, to protest about the force’s handling of pro-Palestine demonstrations in the capital.
They accuse the Metropolitan Police, which has been beset recently with allegations of racism, of bias in the way they have policed the almost weekly demonstrations that have been held all over London since the Israeli assault on Gaza began in early October.
The letter says that the Met has allowed itself to be influenced by the highly inflammatory and politicised representation of these demonstrations by their detractors in the media, government, and “Zionist lobby”. This has led to the implementation of a biased policing strategy which is heavy handed and excessive for pro-Palestinian demonstrators but overly indulgent towards pro-Zionists who appear to be breaking the law.
Featured image via Just Stop Oil