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Home Breaking Just Stop Oil supporter acquitted of criminal damage for spraying Scotland Yard sign

Just Stop Oil supporter acquitted of criminal damage for spraying Scotland Yard sign

In a significant turn of events, Lora Johnson, a 38-year-old supporter of the Just Stop Oil movement, was acquitted of criminal damage by a Jury at Southwark Crown Court today. Johnson had been arrested on October 14, 2022, for spraying the iconic Metropolitan Police sign with orange paint in front of New Scotland Yard during a month of action organized by Just Stop Oil.

During this period of relentless civil resistance, Johnson was among the 637 individuals detained by police. The movement aimed to pressure the government into halting all new oil and gas licenses and consents. A video capturing Johnson’s arrest on Westminster Bridge, where she passionately declared that “inaction on climate change is a death sentence for all,” garnered over 11 million views.

Just Stop Oil Supporter Acquitted Of Criminal Damage For Spraying Scotland Yard Sign
just stop oil supporter acquitted of criminal damage for spraying scotland yard sign

In response to her acquittal, Johnson stated, “The action I took was painting the New Scotland Yard sign orange, in resistance to the government’s genocidal approval of new oil and gas licenses.” She raised questions about the role of the Metropolitan Police, asking whether they serve and protect the people or the oil-corrupted government.

This acquittal follows a trend of recent legal victories for Just Stop Oil supporters. Five individuals were found not guilty of Section 12 breach at Stratford Magistrates Court, and Fiona Atkinson and Catherine Rennie-Nash were acquitted of Willful Obstruction of the Highway on May 8th. In a notable success, the Swedish group ‘Restore Wetlands’ declared victory after their demands were adopted by all major parties in the Swedish parliament, leading them to cease their highway protests.

Reflecting on her actions, Johnson emphasized her commitment to protecting humanity and the environment, stating, “We are not prepared to watch while everything we love is destroyed. We’re done with begging.” She urged others to join the movement, emphasizing the urgency of addressing the climate crisis.

The acquittal comes amid growing concerns among climate scientists about the escalating climate emergency. A recent Guardian survey revealed that 77% of climate scientists anticipate global temperatures rising by at least 2.5°C above pre-industrial levels, surpassing the critical 1.5°C threshold agreed upon by governments in 2015. The lack of political will and vested corporate interests continue to hinder meaningful action.

In response to the survey, environmental scientist Lorraine Whitmarsh emphasized the existential threat posed by the climate crisis, expressing concerns about the future for the next generation. Stephen Humphreys of the London School of Economics highlighted civil disobedience as an effective means of addressing the urgent challenge posed by climate change.

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