Just Stop Oil's most controversial stunts, from stopping football games to throwing soup on a Van Gogh

Just Stop Oil's most controversial stunts, from stopping football games to throwing soup on a Van Gogh
Just Stop Oil activists climb Dartford Crossing QEII Bridge

They’re less than a year old as an organisation, but Just Stop Oil has already managed to become the most controversial protest group in the UK.

A string of high-profile stunts and protests has made them a household name, as they continue to strive for maximum disruption in order to get their message heard.

They call themselves “a coalition of groups working together to ensure the Government commits to halting new fossil-fuel licensing and production.”

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.

“If we continue down our current path, it will destroy families and communities. We will face starvation and the slaughter of billions of the poor – and the utter betrayal of our children and their future.

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“Does our government get this? They are actively enabling the fossil-fuel industry through obscene subsidies and tax breaks for new fossil-fuel extraction.”

Recent weeks have seen their efforts to raise awareness of their cause step up, and they’re making more headlines than ever.

These are the group’s most disruptive stunts to date.

Football protest – March 17

Protestor Louis McKechnie caused a stoppage in a Premier League gameAnthony Devlin/AFP via Getty Images

The first time Just Stop Oil came to most people’s attention came during the Premier League game between Everton and Newcastle United.

Louis McKechnie, 21, was charged with pitch encroachment and aggravated trespass after the incident at Goodison Park, which saw him tie himself to a goalpost.

The protestor later said he received “hundreds” of death threats since the incident.

Speaking during a press conference for Just Stop Oil in London, the mechanical engineering student said: “They (fans) were chanting, screaming at me, hoping that it worked – hoping that my air was cut off long enough to really feel it.

“I hated the idea of ruining these people’s favourite pastime, but these people have a right to know what is coming, that their lives are on the line too so they can act accordingly.

“Since doing this action I’ve received hundreds of death threats. I don’t think I can ever return to Liverpool or Newcastle again. I have court there in a few weeks and I expect I will be in quite a lot of trouble with the locals."

Activists storm Essex terminal – April 6

Just Stop Oil activists hoping to cut off the supply of petrol to the whole of southeast England then occupied one of the region’s busiest oil terminals in April.

A group of 25 members of the Just Stop Oil campaign used ladders to scale the fence at Navigator oil terminal in Thurrock, Essex, in the early hours of the morning on the sixth day of continued action from the campaigners who also led protests against oil terminals across the southeast and Midlands.

Throwing soup on a Van Gogh – October 14

In one of the most talked-about stunts yet, 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?”

Throwing paint on the New Scotland Yard sign – October 14

A Just Stop Oil activists sprayed orange paint over the New Scotland Yard sign at the Met Police headquarters in London to protest against the arrest of the five environmental activists.

“We are holding peaceful protesters in prison and all they are doing is standing up to a corrupt Government and corporations,” protester Lora Johnson said.

The Metropolitan Police said in a statement that it arrested 24 protesters on “suspicion of conspiracy to commit criminal damage”.

Met Police added: “Several individuals ‘locked on’ or glued themselves on to the road surface. Specialist officers have now removed them and they are being taken into custody at various central London police stations.”

Spray painting an Aston Martin showroom – October 16

Just Stop Oil protesters spray painted the Aston Martin showroom and blocked Park Lane in central London as part of the continued protests.

The campaigners led the protests as a way of calling for the government to halt all new oil and gas licences and consents.

Demonstrators sat down in the road, holding large orange banners, with a number glueing themselves to the tarmac or locking themselves together. Photos and footage from the scene showed police officers trying to talk to those blocking the road while a cordon was put up around the activists.

Stopping traffic on the Queen Elizabeth II bridge and outside the BEIS – October 17

Two Just Stop Oil protesters climbed to the top of the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge which links Essex and Kent and forced police to close it to traffic on Monday.

Just Stop Oil protesters also stopped traffic outside the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) in London, and threw soup over the building.

A total of 12 protesters walked on to Victoria Street in Westminster and sat down while holding banners. Some glued themselves to the tarmac and each other.

Just Stop Oil said that they targeted the BEIS because it is the Government department responsible for allowing new fossil fuel extraction and that they used soup in “a reference to the fact that countless families in this country cannot afford a tin of soup, and famine is rife across sub-Saharan Africa”.

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