Just Stop Oil has switched from holding up traffic on roads to disrupting sporting events like Wimbledon. Why have they changed what they target?
Just Stop Oil has been targeting sporting events with disruptive protests. So far this year it has staged demonstrations at several major international events including an Ashes test at Lord’s cricket ground, a rugby final at Twickenham, the World Snooker Championships and Wimbledon.
Last week, protesters twice stopped play when they invaded court 18, scattering orange confetti and jigsaw pieces.
The group’s aim is to get the government to stop licensing future fossil fuel projects in the UK. In a statement afterwards, Just Stop Oil said it targeted Wimbledon because one of the tournament’s sponsors, Barclays bank, provides funding for fossil fuel companies.
Disrupting major events seems to be a new focus for Just Stop Oil. The group began staging demonstrations last year, principally aimed at stopping traffic in cities and on motorways. In October, two Just Stop Oil protesters blocked the Dartford Crossing for two days after scaling the bridge and camping in hammocks suspended from its cabling.
The demonstrators, Morgan Trowland and Marcus Decker, were sentenced to three years in prison after being convicted of causing a “public nuisance”. The length of their sentences surprised the group and Just Stop Oil has not staged any protests on major roads since then. According to a report by The Times, senior police chiefs believe the sentencing of the Dartford protesters has had a “deterrent effect” on the group.
The events Just Stop Oil has targeted this summer are high profile, global competitions broadcast on national and international television so their demonstrations have gained significant media attention.
But the British public take a dim view despite agreeing with the group’s argument that more needs to be done to combat climate change. Recent polling by YouGov suggested that 62 per cent of British people agree with the view that the country should take “strong action” on climate change, but 64 per cent of people hold an “unfavourable” view of Just Stop Oil.
Today’s episode was written and mixed by Ella Hill.