Prison for JSO folk

IssueOctober - November 2022
News by David Polden

On 14 September, dozens of Just Stop Oil (JSO) activists broke an injunction by blockading the Kingsbury oil terminal in Warwickshire. 51 of them were held in prison for at least a week, because they’d been banned from the terminal after a previous action.

Two campaigners, Rajan Naidu, a civil rights advocate, and Dr Sarah Benn, a GP, were given 34-day prison sentences, both for a third breach of the injunction.

Birmingham magistrates gave 28 other activists sentences of up to five weeks in prison – suspended for two years – with court costs awarded against them.

Six others were remanded in custody after pleading not guilty, refusing to plead or refusing to recognise the authority of the court.

Several JSO activists are facing long periods on remand before trial.

Josh Smith, a stonemason, who was remanded to jail on 7 July, will have to wait until 1 February for his trial. Smith was arrested at protests 24 times in a year and refused to give an undertaking to stop demonstrating. At least six other JSO activists are reported to be on long-term remand.

Earlier, JSO had organised a week of action at the end of August which involved hundreds of people blockading oil terminals in London and Essex, as well as service stations on the M25 and across London. Some petrol pumps were also ‘decommissioned’ by having their display glass smashed or being covered with paint.

These actions resulted in some 137 arrests.

On 4 September, three JSO supporters ended a 13-day occupation of one of two tunnels dug under approach roads to the Navigator oil terminal in Essex. They were trying to obstruct heavy oil tankers from entering the terminal. On emerging, they were immediately arrested.

On 15 September, JSO reported that there had been over 1,350 arrests so far during their campaign to obstruct oil terminals (which began in April).

JSO demands that the UK government ends new oil and gas projects in the UK to help limit global warming.