'You are entitled to hate me': Just Stop Oil activist cries after …
Just Stop Oil

Just Stop Oil and other eco-protest groups are becoming household names thanks to their controversial protest methods.

It is Just Stop Oil in particular who are currently causing disruption on the M25 with traffic being brought to a standstill for a second day.

Home secretary Suella Braverman went on a bizarre rant about the protesters last month, accusing them of being part of a "Guardian-reading, tofu-eating, ‘wokerati’, dare I say the anti-growth coalition".

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She is also considering measures to allow ministers to apply for injunctions in the “public interest” where protests are causing or threatening “serious disruption or a serious adverse impact on public safety” as part of a Public Order Bill.

But who are these groups and what do they stand for?

Just Stop Oil

It is Just Stop Oil who are causing a stir presently with their series of controversial actions.

The group, which was founded as recently as in April 2022, wants to stop the UK's reliance on fossil fuels and get us on renewable energy sources instead.

Its website says: “Allowing the extraction of new oil and gas resources in the UK is an obscene and genocidal policy that will kill our children and condemn humanity to oblivion. It just has to stop."

In a stunt last week, activists threw tomato soup over Vincent Van Gogh’s masterpiece “Sunflowers” at the National Gallery in London.

Two women wearing Just Stop Oil T-shirts threw two tins of Heinz at the painting worth an estimated £72.5million before glueing their hands to the wall.

One of the activists, Phoebe Plummer, 21, shouted: “What is worth more, art or life? Is it worth more than food? More than justice?

“Are you more concerned about the protection of a painting, or the protection of our planet and people?"

After it caused a stir, one protester explained why they did what they did.

The unnamed protester said: “I recognise that it looks like a slightly ridiculous action. I agree, it is ridiculous. But, we’re not asking the question, ‘Should everybody be throwing soup on paintings?’.

“What we’re doing is getting the conversation going so we can ask the questions that matter. Questions like, ‘Is it ok that Liz Truss is licensing over 100 new fossil fuel licenses? Is it ok that fossil fuels are subsidised 30 times more than renewables when offshore wind is currently nine times cheaper than fossil fuels?’”


Insulate Britain

Insulate Britain dominated the protest news agenda last year when they blocked a number of motorways by glueing themselves to the ground to tackle the issue of home insulation.

The group wants the government to take responsibility for insulating homes so we don't rely on carbon for heating so much. They also reckon it will help those struggling to pay their energy bills and therefore save lives.

So far, so uncontroversial?

Up to a point. Their stunts triggered multiple arrests and debates about their methods, with many suggesting that it was wrong to prevent ambulances from reaching hospitals, to stop people from attending school and work, and to cause general disruption.

One woman showed them exactly what she thought when she drove her car into protesters. Sherrilyn Speid left her vehicle and shouted at protestors to “move out the way now” while trying to take her son to school.

Having failed to get the protestors to shift, she then returned to her Range Rover and drove into the protestors backs as one yelled out “Ow, ow, ow, no!”

At the time, the then transport secretary Grant Shapps condemned their methods. “It’s dangerous, it’s really outrageous, and actually, ironically, it probably adds to pollution as cars idle, waiting for their nonsense … for them to be unglued from the road,” he said.

Tracey Mallagan, a spokeswoman for the group, defended the group’s actions in a statement. She said: “If governments don’t act soon to reduce emissions, we face a terrifying situation.

“We won’t be worrying about shortages of pasta or loo rolls because law and order breaks down pretty quickly when there is not enough food to go round.”

Whatever you think about the group, we can at lest all be united by the moment TalkTV host Mike Graham criticised them by claiming that concrete grows.

Yes, really.


Extinction Rebellion

One of the most talked about protest groups in recent years has been Extinction Rebellion (XR).

The global organisation has pulled more stunts than we can count, to support their campaign against climate change.

One recent action took place in Australia, when two activists glued themselves to a prized Pablo Picasso painting at the National Gallery of Victoria ahead of the state election next month.

Back over in Britain, last month XR activists visited the house of commons and glued themselves to the Speaker's chair.



Animal Rebellion

Animal Rebellion, which is an affiliated group linked to XR campaigning for a plant-based food system, hit headlines this week when they dotted around supermarkets pouring out milk on the floor.

There was no use crying over the spilt dairy milk product and yet people did - especially the police who carried out multiple arrests.

Speaking to LBC's Natasha Devon, Animal Rebellion spokesperson Robert Gordon said: "Right wing commentators would have you believe we picked these supermarkets because it's all we know, because it's where mummy and daddy took us as kids.

"In reality, we're just a group of really concerned individuals who have carefully picked these high-end shops because we acknowledge that when we take action.

"There's an inevitable level of disruption that will be caused - and we really didn't want to be disrupting those who are suffering most in the cost of living crisis".

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