Just Stop Oil activists disrupted Wimbledon to demand that the UK government halts new licences for fossil fuels.
In the afternoon of 5 July, two Just Stop Oil supporters ran onto Court 18 while Sho Shimabukuro and Grigor Dimitrov were playing. They threw orange confetti glitter and jigsaw pieces onto the courts before being removed by security. The game was disrupted while marshals cleared up the debris.
68 year-old Deborah Wilde took part in the action. She said:
I’m just an ordinary grandmother in resistance to this government’s policy of serving us new oil and gas licences. In normal circumstances this sort of disruption would be entirely unacceptable, but these aren’t normal circumstances. We’ve just had the hottest June on record, breaking the previous record by nearly a whole degree! We don’t need Hawk-eye to see that our government issuing over 100 new fossil fuel licences is a very bad line-call.
Forget strawberries and cream, scientists are warning of impending food shortages, mass displacement and war. We are facing new pandemics, economic inflation and increasingly authoritarian governments who will attempt to crush civil unrest. This is a crisis and it needs a crisis response. I want a safe future, not just for my grandchildren but for all children around the world and the generations to come.
‘Humanity vs oil and gas’
66-year-old Simon Milner-Edwards also took part in the action. He said:
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I’m here for my grandchildren and everybody else’s. I’m not prepared to let our politicians wreck everything and leave the next generation to pick up the pieces. The last thing I want to do is spoil people’s enjoyment of Wimbledon, but right now, on Centre Court, it’s humanity vs oil and gas- and the umpire is getting every call wrong. How long are we going to take this before we see a McEnroe-level meltdown!?
Their action comes after the Met office confirmed that June was the hottest since records began in 1884.
The Just Stop Oil supporters targeted Wimbledon after it signed a sponsorship deal with Barclays Bank. The groups argues that Barclays is using the tournament as a means of greenwashing its reputation. It says Barclays has given £30bn to oil and gas companies including Exxon Mobil, Shell, and TotalEnergies, in the last two years alone.
Over 2,200 arrests
Just Stop Oil said:
Since the Just Stop Oil campaign launched on 14th February 2022, there have been over 2,200 arrests and 138 people have spent time in prison, many without trial. Just Stop Oil supporters Morgan Trowland and Marcus Decker are serving three-year prison sentences for resisting new oil, gas and coal in the longest sentences for peaceful climate action in British history.
Trowland and Decker were imprisoned for hanging a banner from Dartford Bridge about the climate emergency and stopping traffic.
As Just Stop Oil activists continue to protest, we are likely to see more ridiculous prison sentences like this. The British government has passed draconian new laws such as the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts (PCSC) Act and the Public Order Act. The PCSC Act is extensive, and includes increasing police powers to stop/control demonstrations, allowing police officers to impose conditions on protests if they are ‘noisy’, making the obstruction of vehicle access to parliament an offence, and creating an offence of statutory public nuisance. Meanwhile, the Public Order Act has granted the state powers which include locking people up for a year in custody for blocking roads, railways and airports. On top of this, protesters who use the tactic of locking-on could face six months in prison.
Meanwhile, Just Stop Oil is gearing up for more action. The group said:
Time’s up for new oil, gas and coal. It’s time everyone got on the streets, marching every day to demand change. Join us to march 16-23rd July, sign up for action at juststopoil.org.
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