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Just Stop Oil Van Gogh activist to tour campuses and 'train' students up for 'resistance'

NewsJust Stop Oil Van Gogh activist to tour campuses and 'train' students up for 'resistance'

Just Stop Oil and Extinction Rebellion debate protest tactics

A prominent Just Stop Oil (JSO) activist is planning to tour universities up and down the country to prepare students to “start campaigning for civil resistance”. An event held during the four-day-long Big One protest organised by climate activist group Extinction Rebellion focused on plans the like-minded group JSO is preparing to launch within weeks.

Spearheading the Students versus Oil meeting outside the gates of the Houses of Parliament near London’s Parliament Square, a representative of the group said Phoebe Plummer will travel nationwide to make contact with people attending university who are interested in the JSO movement and its demands.

Ms Plummer reached fame as she allegedly was one of the two young activists who last year threw tomato soup over Vincent van Gogh’s Sunflowers at the National Gallery in London before glueing their hands to a wall. The masterpiece was not damaged as it was protected by glass.

Speaking at the event in London on Sunday, a Just Stop Oil member said the group’s upcoming plans included Ms Plummer’s involvement:

They said: “Phoebe is going to be touring the UK and going to lots of different universities, speaking to students and telling them about this project.

“The very first step is we are inviting students down to slow march in London with Just Stop Oil, we now got an official student week of slow marching, from June 25 to July 2 all the slow marches in London are student territory, it’s going to be students creating that disruption that week, which is epic.”

Slow marching is a form of protest that aims at bringing roads to a standstill.

An activist holding a can of soup in front of Van Gogh's Sunflowers

Last year two eco-activist threw tomato soup at Van Gogh’s Sunflowers (Image: Getty)

Activists holding a banner reading Just Stop Oil

Just Stop Oil is one of the groups taking part in the Big One (Image: Max Parry)

Activists holding placards

The Big One includes several daily events and activities (Image: Max Parry)

The activist said Ms Plummer’s tour of universities will start as early as May and during the summer the group will “train people up as much as possible”.

The week of slow marches was described as a “festival-type vibe, tents in a field all training up for the resistance”.

The group wants to “bring action to campuses” in a way that is “nationally coordinated”, she explained to the small group of people listening to her while braving the rain.

The aim, the activist added, is to arrive at the beginning of the new academic year in September with students across the nation ready to start “campaigning for civil resistance”.

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People taking part in the eco-event

Thousands gathered in central London for the Big One today (Image: Max Parry)

Two women wearing blue dresses standing in front of a 'Sacred Earth Activists' banner

Several groups are taking part in the Big One event (Image: Max Parry)

The activist also said the new strategy is a response to the “urgency” of the climate crisis and the Government’s lack of action against fossil fuels in the UK.

She added the group wants “transformative demands” including meaningful transformation to the economy, but is not “pretending” universities will cave in and support students in their call against the Government.

She said: “Obviously the universities are going to say no, sorry, we can’t demand that of the Government. That then gives us a mandate for civil resistance against our universities, this is the kind of broader picture idea.”

This talk took place as thousands of climate activists and supporters of the cause championed by Extinction Rebellion gathered in the heart of London on the third day of the group’s major event.

Eco-activists holding a banner under a statue of Churchill

The Big One event will last until Monday (Image: Max Parry)

One of them, who preferred not to be named, told Express.co.uk: “We can come down here whenever we want.”

They added the march was “already having an effect” on conversations about the climate.

Started on Friday, the Big One has garnered the support and attendance of several organisations including Greenpeace UK, Humanist Climate Action and Fuel Poverty Action, who are among the signatories of a collective demand issued ahead of the event.

This demand calls for the end of the fossil fuel era and the creation of “emergency citizens’ assemblies” leading fair, long-term solutions to the climate emergency.

The Government is being accused of taking decisions on gas and oil extraction that are at odds with its own commitment to a net zero carbon future.

Pink paper boats

Activists left paper boats addressed to Suella Braverman to protest her immigration bill (Image: Max Parry)

Rather than approve new licences and funding fossil fuel projects, it should commit to a fair transition, the signatories said, which should include reparations for exploited communities and those at the forefront of climate disasters.

The demand also read: “We demand the government announces upfront its commitment to the recommendations of emergency citizens’ assemblies and publicly justifies any rejections of recommendations.

“This would include a parliamentary scrutiny committee where the prime minister must justify inaction on any recommendations.

“Government would allocate funding for a campaign to raise public awareness of the citizens’ assembly process and its outcome.”

The Home Office march

The Big One event has so far included dozens of daily activities and speaking events in Westminster.

On Sunday afternoon, many marched to the Home Office where they left 20,000 origami boats addressed to MPs and Home Secretary Suella Braverman in protest to her Stop the Boats bill, which aims at tackling “small boat” crossings.

The Big One also saw an Algerian refugee who arrived in the UK via the Channel slamming Ms Braverman’s immigration policy.

He said: “According to Suella Braverman I am an invader in this country.”

While cheered by the large crowd in attendance and told he is welcome to the UK, he added: “I am not a military strategist, but if I look at a shore and I see a boat arriving with babies and women pregnant and with paralysed people, the first idea that comes to my mind would not be these are invaders, the first idea would be let’s get these people shelter.”

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