Just Stop Oil to pause protests – but threatens escalation after Friday

Campaign group Just Stop Oil said it will pause disruption after 32 days of protests to give the Government time to “consider their responsibilities to this country”.

Activists have given ministers until the end of Friday to respond to their calls for new oil and gas licences to be halted.

If it does not get a response by then, the group vowed to “escalate” its activities.

The group said: “From today Just Stop Oil will pause its campaign of civil resistance. We are giving time to those in the Government who are in touch with reality to consider their responsibilities to this country at this time.

“If, as we sadly expect, we receive no response from ministers to our demand by the end of Friday November 4, we will escalate our legal disruption against this treasonous Government.

“Our action will be proportionate to the task of stopping the crime against humanity which is new oil and gas.”

It comes after protesters tried to climb the gates of Downing Street on Tuesday before moving on to blocking roads surrounding Trafalgar Square.

At 11.20am, 22 protesters arrived in Whitehall.

One group blocked the busy central London route by sitting in the road, with some gluing themselves to the asphalt, while others tried to climb the Downing Street gates.

A video posted to the group’s Twitter account showed several protesters in orange reflective waistcoats jumping over a smaller gate in a bid to climb the main entrance to the street where the Prime Minister lives and works.

Officers shouted “make way” and “come back please” as armed police prevented some protesters from jumping over the smaller gate and removed a woman who was climbing up the main gate.

Activists were dragged by officers towards police vans as members of the public filmed and watched.

A Just Stop Oil spokesman said: “Rishi Sunak is about to U-turn on attending Cop27.

“We demand that he also U-turn on new oil and gas. This genocidal policy will kill millions of people while failing to address the worst cost-of-living crisis this country has ever seen.”

The Metropolitan Police said: “Two Just Stop Oil protesters who crossed over the outer vehicle gates on the Whitehall side of the main gates of Downing Street … were swiftly prevented from climbing the main gates by police officers present.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak
The group wants Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to “U-turn on new oil and gas” (PA)

“Other protesters with them were also quickly prevented from doing the same or further blocking the road and directed to the pavement.

“Five other protesters who sat down and briefly blocked the road opposite Downing Street in Whitehall at the same time were arrested on suspicion of obstruction of the highway. They have been taken into custody to a central London police station.”

Several videos posted on Just Stop Oil’s Twitter feed also showed protesters marching through Trafalgar Square, where they were followed by rows of police officers as the activists chanted: “No new oil, no new gas, no new coal, insulate Britain, we are Just Stop Oil”.