(Photo credit: Just Stop Oil)
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Home Secretary Suella Braverman have met with police chiefs, represented by Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley and Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist, to discuss how to tackle actions launched by some environmental protest groups, such as Just Stop Oil.
Mayor Sadiq Khan warned that the Government’s responses to Just Stop Oil remains “within the law”, after the Prime Minister promised to grant police new powers to crack down on disruptive protests.
The recent tactics used by the group is to block different parts of some major roads in London, including M25, by slowly walking on roads or glueing themselves to the tarmac to slow traffic causing delays or congestion during rush hour.
Sunak described the protests as “completely unacceptable” that people were having their lives disrupted by a “selfish minority”, who joined the demonstrations.
Sunak had made it clear that the police have his full support in acting decisively to clamp down on illegal protests.
Sunak said: “The public has had enough of this disruption and those breaking the law should expect to feel the full force of it.”
On Friday, Sadiq Khan said: “I think when you protest you should do what you can to try to encourage the public to join your campaign. You have got to protest in a way that is lawful, safe, and peaceful.”
Khan was worried that some of the tactics used by Just Stop Oil are driving people away from joining the campaign to tackle the climate emergency, and are doing nothing to change the opinion of the Government.
Khan also added: “What the government has got to realise, though, is that protest is a cornerstone of our democracy, and they have got to make sure they take action within the law.”
A Green Party member of the House of Lords, Jenny Jones, tweeted her opinions about Sunak’s suggestion to the police: “This is absolute stupidity on the part of the Govt, trying to police our way out of our climate crisis. The quickest way to stop Just Stop Oil would be to stop opening new fossil fuel projects. Simple. And the safest for all of our futures.”
This is absolute stupidity on the part of the Govt, trying to police our way out of our #ClimateCrisis. The quickest way to stop @JustStop_Oil would be to stop opening new #FossilFuel projects. Simple. And the safest for all of our futures. https://t.co/qMBQU6n5mS
— Jenny Jones ?? (@GreenJennyJones) December 2, 2022
A spokesperson for Just Stop Oil said they will not be intimidated by changes in the law or government posturing on tougher policing tactics.