Eight members of Christian Climate Action caused traffic disruption, and five were later arrested for marching to demand that the British Government halt all licences and consents for new oil, gas and coal projects.
At 8:00 am this morning, the supporters marched slowly in the road near West Kensington Station, carrying placards saying “For God’s Sake, Just Stop Oil” and “Praying for a Future for Our Children”. They later marched again in Parliament Square where at least five were subsequently arrested.
The group included three Anglican priests, a charity worker, a software developer and a retired teacher.
Just Stop Oil supporters are continuing into their sixth week of marching in central London and have been marching six days a week since April 24th.
Today’s Christian group were just one of four groups to march this morning, with 66 supporters in total marching slowly down roads in West London. Traffic was held-up as long queues formed. Police were seen dragging supporters off the road at around 8:30am.
One of those arrested this morning, Rev’d Hilary Bond, 58, a Church of England priest from Wareham, said: “As a Christian, I believe that care of all of creation is an integral part of the expression of my faith. I believe in a God who throughout history has put great emphasis on the desire for justice for all, and that includes climate justice. We can be part of bringing about climate justice by stopping new oil and gas exploration now.”
“Many of the poorer parts of the world are already enduring great suffering because of the effects of climate breakdown. I cannot with integrity stand by and watch this happen. We know what our continued use of fossil fuels is doing to our home and we also know that there are other, more sustainable energy options. It is time for this government to stop putting their desire for money above our desire for justice. They must stop issuing new oil, gas and coal licences now.”
Suzie Brown, 27, a software developer from Bristol who was also with the group said: “In civil resistance we imitate Jesus, who would not stand for hypocrisy from the authorities. Our government is failing in its duty to protect the citizens they represent. I will not be a bystander.”
“Jesus calls us to protect and care for the vulnerable. What that looks like in the UK today, is forcing the government to end the fossil fuel projects that are destroying the lives of the most vulnerable people on the planet.”
“Jesus knows better than any of us what it is like to be mocked, brought before the authorities and imprisoned, all for the sake of saving people from self-destruction. It is a privilege to imitate Christ in this small way, bearing a fraction of his suffering in the hope of waking up our government.”
These Christians have taken time away from their day to day work in order to do their duty in line with their faith, as Rev Sue Parfitt, 80, who was also arrested today, said: “Jesus needs us to make sacrifices to help save all life on earth. That requires us to do all in our power to at least slow down the impending climate catastrophe. If this means being arrested, or even sent to prison, so be it.”
The marches this morning come as further extreme heat is recorded over Asia. China has been experiencing an extreme heatwave, with 130 stations across ten provinces recording their highest May temperatures, with areas hitting 43C. Shanghai recorded its hottest day in May in 100 years hitting 36.7C. Record May temperatures were also recorded in Japan and Thailand with temperatures of 37C also recorded in Russia.
In Israel 176 fires swept across the country as a heatwave combined with strong winds swept the country, whilst in Gaza crop failure due to extreme weather has reduced wheat yields down by 1000 tons versus last year.
On Sunday, the Peruvian government proclaimed a state of emergency in the country, for a period of 60 days across 131 districts in response to the potential arrival of the El Niño phenomenon, which it is deeming an “imminent danger”. Whilst in Canada, out of control wildfires in Nova Scotia have forced 16,000 Canadians from their homes.