A conservative MP has called for Just Stop Oil to be branded as a terrorist group in the wake of protests across the country.
At prime minister’s questions, Gareth Johnson said “these people are not protestors, they are criminals”, and called for Just Stop Oil to be listed as a “proscribed organisation” under the Terrorism Act of 2000.
Mr Johnson listed off the “misery and mayhem” caused by protestors blocking the Dartford Crossing on the M25, as well as attacks on public artworks.
Earlier this month a police officer was hospitalised amid protests on the M25, while a man missed his father’s funeral due to the action.
He said: “Last month Just Stop Oil clambered up the Dartford Crossing causing chaos for days. They than attacked artworks, the M25 and anything else to cause misery and mayhem.
“These people are not protestors, they are criminals.
“Will the prime minister therefore consider making Just Stop Oil a proscribed organisation so that they can be treated as the criminal organisation they actually are?”
Just Stop Oil has been asked to comment.
The group has also recently hit the offices of Barclay’s Bank in Aberdeen this month, with protestors being arrested.
In reply to Mr Johnson, Rishi Sunak said: “The kind of demonstrations we’ve seen recently disrupt peoples’ daily lives, they cause mass misery for the public and they put people in danger.
“The police have our full support in their efforts to minimise this disruption and tackle reckless and illegal activity.
“The Public Order Bill will give them the powers they need, and I look forward to seeing the support that bill receives from every part of this house.”
The Public Order Bill will issue police in England and Wales with new powers to be proactive against groups like Just Stop Oil and Extinction Rebellion – but has also been criticised as dealing restrictions on the right to protest.
Civil rights organisation Liberty has described it as “a staggering attack on our right to protest”.
Just Stop Oil response
In response to the comments from Mr Johnson, Just Stop Oil said: “Gareth Johnson is right to be cross about the disruption caused by supporters of Just Stop Oil; but as we saw in the floods, days after the M25 actions were halted, the terror and mayhem from extreme weather events cannot be arrested, injuncted or proscribed. Chief Constable Chris Noble, protest lead for the National Police Chiefs’ Council said ‘we’re not going to arrest our way out of environmental protest‘ – he is right. But the government can end the disruption today, by following the advice of the United Nations, the International Energy Agency and the world’s scientists and ending new oil and gas.
“Just Stop Oil supporters are ordinary people who use all possible peaceful means to protect all they love.
“According to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres ‘the truly dangerous radicals are the countries that are increasing the production of fossil fuels. Investing in new fossil fuel infrastructure is moral and economic madness’.
“Gareth Johnson needs to read some climate science, to face up to reality and then seek to protect his constituents by calling for the end to new oil and gas.”
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