Roger Hallam: Who is the leader of Just Stop Oil?

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 16: Extinction Rebellion environmental activist organiser Roger Hallam seen after talking to the crowd of activists being placed under arrest and removed from their occupation of Oxford Circus by the Metropolitan Police on April 16, 2019 in London, England. The group, who have stopped all buses in the center of London until at least Wednesday aims to stop traffic and occupy key locations causing maximum disruption to the capital for up to two weeks unless their climate protection demands are met by Government as a series of their protests are taking place globally. (Photo by Ollie Millington/Getty Images)
Roger Hallam, founder of Just Stop Oil, has reportedly been arrested. (Getty Images)

The leader of environmental activists Just Stop Oil has been arrested ahead of planned protests along the M25 motorway, it has been reported.

Roger Hallam, 56, the controversial group's founder, was arrested on Sunday evening, according to The Sun newspaper, after a police raid on his home in Kennington, south London.

The Metropolitan Police said three people were arrested and that the force expected to make more arrests overnight.

It said climate change protesters were suspected of planning "reckless and serious" disruption to the M25 motorway, which circles London, as the COP27 United Nations Climate Change Conference gets underway in Egypt.

Watch: London mayor supports injunctions against Just Stop Oil protesters

At the weekend, National Highways secured a High Court injunction to prevent Just Stop Oil protesters disrupting the motorway.

Who is Roger Hallam?

The 56-year-old from Wales, who lives in south London, is the leader of Just Stop Oil, an activist group which is calling on the UK government to cease new fossil fuel licensing and production.

A former organic farmer for more than 20 years, he says he lost his 10-acre vegetable growing business near Llandeilo in Wales because of "the impacts of climate change".

PARLIAMENT SQUARE, LONDON, GREATER LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2018/11/24: Extinction Rebellion co-founder Roger Hallam seen at the demonstration.

Thousands of demonstrators from the new Extinction Rebellion climate change movement gathered at Parliament Square for a memorial and funeral march through London. Demonstrators paid homage to the lives lost due to climate change, and marched carrying a coffin from Parliament Square to Buckingham Palace. (Photo by Andres Pantoja/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Roger Allam at an Extinction Rebellion demonstration in London in 2018. (Getty Images)

Between 2017 and 2019 he studied for a PhD at King's College London university, where he researched how to use civil disobedience to bring about social change.

What other groups has Hallam been involved in?

In 2018, Hallam co-founded Extinction Rebellion, whose protesters occupied a number of sites in London in April 2019, and he was also involved in the leadership of Insulate Britain, which staged sit-down protests on a series of major UK roads in autumn 2021.

Has he been arrested before?

On his website, Hallam says: "I have lost count of the number of times I have been arrested."

He says he has been on two hunger strikes and been to prison three times in the past three years.

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 1: Extinction Rebellion founder Roger Hallam looking cheerful in Parliament square as Just Stop Oil call a day of action on October 1, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Guy Smallman/Getty Images)
Roger Hallam at a Just Stop Oil event in Parliament Square in London last month. (Getty Images)

In February 2017, he was arrested after spray painting King's College London's Great Hall, and was charged with criminal damage and fined £500. He was later cleared after a court ruled his actions were a proportionate response to the climate crisis.

In 2019, Hallam was charged with attempting to cause disruption at Heathrow Airport using a drone.

Why was he arrested on Sunday?

The Metropolitan Police said three people were arrested on Sunday evening on suspicion of planning "reckless and serious" public disruption.

Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist said: “Our investigation has strong reason to suspect the Just Stop Oil group intend to disrupt major motorway road networks which would risk serious harm to the public, with reckless action to obstruct the public on a large scale.

Roger Hallam speaking at Speaker's Corner during the Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm in Somerset. The climate activist has said protesters will cause disruption
Roger Hallam at Speaker's Corner during the Glastonbury Festival in June this year. (PA)

“All those arrested are suspected of engaging in conspiracy to cause public nuisance contrary to Section 78 Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022.

“There remains a possibility outstanding suspects are still intent on causing unlawful disruption to the public. The Met has mobilised specialist teams and drawn police officers from across the capital to respond.”

Read more: Who are Just Stop Oil and what do they want?

It followed National Highways securing a High Court injunction to prevent Just Stop Oil protesters disrupting the M25.

It means that anyone entering the motorway and fixing themselves to any object or structure on it, and anyone assisting in such an act, can be held in contempt of court. They could face imprisonment, an unlimited fine, and the seizure of assets.

Who are Just Stop Oil?

Just Stop Oil was launched in February this year with the aim of using civil resistance to force the government to halt new fossil fuel production.

It rose to prominence in recent months with a series of high-profile protests, often targeting famous works of art.

Activists of
Just Stop Oil activists glue their hands to the wall after throwing soup at Vincent van Gogh's Sunflowers at the National Gallery in London in October. (Reuters)

Last month, two protesters threw tomato soup over Vincent van Gogh's 1888 painting Sunflowers at the National Gallery in London, then glued their hands to the wall.

The painting was protected by glass, although some damage was caused to the frame.

Just Stop Oil activists have also spray painted a number of landmarks, including the Home Office, MI5, the Bank of England, an Aston Martin showroom and the rotating sign outside Scotland Yard.

What impact have the protests had?

Just Stop Oil staged 32 days of disruption from the end of September and throughout October, which the Metropolitan Police said resulted in 677 arrests with 111 people charged, and officers working a total of 9,438 additional shifts.

The climate change action group has been calling on the government to abandon plans to licence over 100 new oil and gas projects by 2025, and to do more to help people with their skyrocketing energy bills.

The group says that since April, Just Stop Oil protesters have been arrested almost 2,000 times, with five of their supporters currently in prison.

Watch: Just Stop Oil protesters throw soup on Van Gogh painting