Just Stop Oil, the British climate group that has staged demonstrations defacing famous paintings and blocking busy city streets, said it was considering more extreme measures to protest new fossil fuel development.
In a blog post on Wednesday, the group said it was compelled to escalate its actions because climate change poses such a huge threat to humanity and future generations. While the group pushed back on media reports that they would soon start cutting famous paintings, they said that such actions could be taken in the future.
“What is a proportionate response to knowing that the government is deliberately planning to cut your life short by decades?” the group wrote.
“That by encouraging new oil and gas they have condemned you to a future of fighting for a few miserable scraps of food to feed your hungry children – assuming you feel brave enough to have children? How do young people begin even that gut process- terrible conclusion?”
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The Just Stop Oil blog post then compared the group to civil rights and women’s rights activists of the 20th century. The group said its “violent and accountable ethos” meant it would continue to challenge the morality of existing social systems and reiterated its belief that more oil and gas drilling would harm billions of people.
“So yes, if no action is taken to end new oil and gas, ordinary people may actively consider cutting paintings like the Suffragettes did and yes, if the government does not meet our demand for no new oil, We are considering escalating our actions,” the group’s post added. “That’s what the Suffragettes did, that’s what the Civil Rights Movements did, that’s what everybody does when the inalienable right to life and livelihood is violated.
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“We are engaged in non-violent civil resistance. For now that means slowly marching through the streets of London, calling on ordinary people to take their first steps to help block the gears of the machine and eliminating,” it continued. “This is not a ‘tactic’ – it is an act of self-respect, an act of solidarity, an act of love and necessity.”
The group’s extreme tactics attracted widespread international attention.
In October, activists were arrested with the group after they broke cake on a wax figure of King Charles III at a museum in London. Weeks earlier, other members of the group threw tomato juice on a multimillion-dollar Vincent van Gogh painting located at another museum. The group’s performance also included members gluing themselves to famous artwork.
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Just Stop Oil also organized actions blocking traffic in several city streets. In one case, activists blocked a busy road in London, forcing an ambulance and fire engine to take an alternative route.
The organization is part of the so-called A22 network which is largely financed by the California-based Climate Emergency Fund (CEF). The CEF’s founding donor is Aileen Getty, the granddaughter of the Getty Oil founder.