Just Stop Oil: what is this movement and why do its members attack world masterpieces

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Just Stop Oil: what is this movement and why do its members attack world masterpieces

Recently, activists of the Just Stop Oil movement have become more and more active and give daily new newsbreaks for the media.

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Activists of the Just Stop Oil movement, which is gaining momentum in the UK, continue to pour sauces, soups and ketchups not only on paintings in galleries, but also on luxury brand boutiques, and also block roads in London, thus advocating for the termination of licensing and production of new fossil fuels.Focus has collected everything that is known today about this movement, its goals and plans.

According to the organization's website, Just Stop Oil is a coalition of groups working together to ensure the government is committed to ending all new licenses and permits to explore, develop and extract fossil fuels in the UK. In simple words, they oppose the further expansion of oil production, because they are sure that this will lead to irreversible climate change.

The movement declared itself on February 14, 2022, but began to show activity on April 1.

< p>It was organized by Roger Hallam, a strategist in a socio-political movement that uses non-violent struggle methods to speak out against climate change, biodiversity loss and the risk of social and ecological collapse Extinction Rebellion and its offshoot Insulate Britain. The last one came out this summer. The Insulate Britain campaign is calling on the government to fund insulation for all public housing in the UK by 2030 to reduce carbon emissions.

Just Stop Oil: what is this movement and why are its members attacking world masterpieces

Just Stop Oil: what is this movement, and why its members attack world masterpieces

Just Stop Oil activists declare their goals, motivating them with the conclusions of scientists who claim that climate change is a threat to human well-being and the health of the planet. They are confident that any further delay in concerted global action will close the window of opportunity to save the Earth.

The campaign was inspired by the oil protests 22 years ago, when carriers used trucks to blockade oil refineries and fuel depots.

“Our government wants to give the green light to 40 new oil and gas fields in the North Sea, but this is incompatible with protecting the citizens of the UK, our brothers and sisters in the global south, or signaling to the world what action is needed to overcome the climate and natural crisis. The government could to pass the Climate and Environmental Emergencies Bill (CEEBill), instead they plan to continue developing new oil and gas fields.Extinction Rebellion and Insulate Britain have shown that civil disobedience works.They also show that we need to do much more to stop the greatest crime against humanity. That is why we are moving to Civil Resistance – it is no longer a separate project or campaign, but a resistance to a government that harms us, our freedoms, rights and future, and makes them work for us, “the supporters of the project say.< /p>

“Just Stop Oil realized that if we really want to protect ourselves and everyone around us, we need to go beyond these protest actions that people have been doing with Extinction Rebellion and Insulate Britain, and then we need to move forward towards civil resistance,” – said one of the movement's supporters, Jess Cosby.

Another campaign supporter described the project as “a non-hierarchical coalition of organizers, academics, lawyers and former oil workers who cooperate in both demands and tactics.”

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Who finances?

Most of their funding for recruitment, training, capacity building and education comes from the Climate Emergency Fund, the movement says. They also receive donations from members of the public who support the campaign, as well as from foundations and groups that are “terrified of the unfolding climate crisis”.

Just Stop Oil recently received a million dollars from Eileen Getty, the granddaughter of major oil tycoon Jay Paul Getty (founded Getty Oil) and founder of the nonprofit Climate Emergency Fund. Getty herself did not work in the oil industry, now she is supporting various non-profit initiatives, including eco-activism, the fight against the spread of AIDS and the development of plant-based meat production technologies.

The most high-profile actions involving Just Stop Oil activistsOn October 14, Just Stop Oil eco-activists Anna Holland, 20, and Phoebe Plummer, 21, doused Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh's $39.7 million painting “Sunflowers” with tomato soup at the National Gallery in London. over soup, Anna and Phoebe screamed that families couldn't afford to reheat meals due to the current cost-of-living crisis. Fortunately, the painting was not damaged, as the canvas is protected by special anti-vandal glass. The activists were detained and charged with criminal damage and aggravated trespassing.

On 17 October, two Just Stop Oil supporters climbed to the top of the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge at the Dartford Junction between Essex and Kent, forcing it to close. In recent weeks, they have also blocked Shoreditch High Street in London by sticking to the asphalt, as well as Park Lane and the streets of Westminster.

On October 23, eco-activists at the Barberini Museum in the German city of Potsdam threw a painting by Claude Monet “Haystacks” worth $110 million in mashed potatoes to protest fossil fuel extraction. After that, they glued their hands to the floor.

On October 24, 20-year-old Eilid McFadden from Glasgow and 29-year-old decorative artist from Sunderland Tom Johnson approached the exhibition with the Royal Family of Great Britain at the London Museum and, shouting “It's time to act”, stained the figure of Charles III with cake. The wax figures of Camilla, William and Kate remained unscathed.

On October 27, three eco-activists tried to spoil the painting “Girl with a Pearl Earring” by the Dutch painter Jan Vermeer in the Mauritshuis Museum. One of the activists taped her head to a glass-covered painting beside her, and the other glued her hand to the wall next to her. All three were arrested for “public violence against property.” The detainees have Belgian citizenship, they are 45, 45 and 42 years old. Fortunately, the painting was not damaged.

On October 28, members of the movement poured orange paint over the window of a Rolex watch store in London.

“We're doing this because our government refuses to act on the climate crisis and we need to have a meaningful statement that we won't have new fossil fuel projects, it's that simple,” they explained.The antics of activists do not go unpunished. Over the course of the movement's existence, Just Stop Oil protesters have been arrested more than 1,700 times, and five members are currently in prison.

The reasons for the arrests vary. Police said 26 people were arrested for intentionally obstructing a highway after protests in Shoreditch and 54 after demonstrations in Westminster. Two protesters who threw soup at a Van Gogh painting have been charged with causing damage.

Government reaction

The government said that while recognizing the “strength of feelings” of the protest group, it condemns its “guerrilla tactics that prevent people from going about their daily business.” Home Secretary Priti Patel added that “hard-working people across the country are seeing their lives come to a standstill because of selfish, bigoted and downright dangerous so-called activists.”

Environment Minister George Eustis also criticized the protests as “not just point-blank” but “attempts to harm other people's lives.”

“We're trying to make some changes to the law to address some of these problems related to people sticking to highways and so on. This is really unacceptable,” he stressed. The official added that reducing the use of fossil fuels has now become “high on the agenda” so “people don't really need to make such extreme protests to make their case.”

But Caroline Lucas of the Green Party said that such subversive protests were “the only way people feel their voices can be heard.”

Meanwhile, in Germany, members of the Scientist Rebellion group, an eco-movement, staged a sit-in at the Volkswagen Exhibition Center and went on a hunger strike . The staff did not interfere with the action and closed the activists in the pavilion. Now the activists are going to sue the automaker.