Who is Just Stop Oil and what do they protest against?

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Just Stop Oil protesters staged a demonstration on the M25 during the morning rush hour after Britain experienced its hottest day on record

Activist group Just Stop Oil has caused delays for commuters after a protest on the M25.

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Members of the group formed a blockade on the busy freeway and scaled freeway signs as part of their demonstration.

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Protesters climbed onto signs at the eastbound junction 10 near Cobham, Surrey, at the Poyle interchange at Heathrow between junctions 14 and 15 and in Dartford between the northbound Queen Elizabeth Bridge and junction 30.

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It comes as Just Stop Oil ramps up its protests, with significant demonstrations taking place in recent months.

But who is Just Stop Oil and what are the group’s goals?

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Just Stop Oil has been holding protests across the UK for the past few months. (Image credit: Getty Images)

Who is Just Stop Oil?

Just Stop Oil is a relatively newly formed climate activist group.

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Members have made headlines in the past for demonstrating and protesting at high profile events and notable locations across the country.

Formed in February 2022, the group protested on the red carpet for the 2022 BAFTA FilmAwards shortly after its formation on March 13.

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Members chanted the slogan “Just stop oil” while playing drums near the red carpet as celebrities made their way into London’s Royal Albert Hall.

Later that same month, they made headlines again after individual members of the group ran into the park at several Premier League football matches.

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In a now famous image, security struggled to remove a protester who had tied himself with cables to the goal posts at Goodison Park during a game between Everton and Newcastle United.

Security teams attempt to remove a Just Stop Oil protester from the goal posts at Goodison Park. (Image credit: Getty Images)

Likewise, a member of Just Stop Oil made it onto the pitch at Molineux Stadium in Wolverhampton the following day.

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Another six protesters attempted to enter the pitch during a match between Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham but were quickly removed by security forces and later banned from the stadium.

Just Stop Oil has also participated in blockades attempting to shut down oil facilities across the country.

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Demonstrators have blocked access to oil facilities in the past. (Image credit: Getty Images)

This caused oil companies, including Exxon Mobil, to temporarily suspend operations as they could not leave the premises.

The activist group recently visited the National Gallery in London and stuck to John Constable’s 1821 painting The Hay Wain.

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An image of an “apocalyptic vision of the future” was affixed to the historical artwork before police arrested three protesters.

A similar protest also took place at the Royal Academy of the Arts, when members taped themselves to a copy of Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper and spray-painted the words “No New Oil” on the wall below.

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A demonstration was held at the National Gallery where members taped themselves to the artwork ‘The Hay Wain’ by John Constable. (Image credit: Getty Images)

What are the goals of Just Stop Oil?

Just Stop Oil’s goals are pretty self-explanatory.

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The group aims to block the UK government from creating new licenses for fossil fuels and their production.

Protesters have slammed plans to develop new oil fields while also criticizing the government’s lack of commitment to net-zero emissions targets.

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Why did Just Stop Oil block the M25?

At the July 20 protest, five protesters climbed onto motorway signs on the M25 during the morning rush hour.

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Surrey Police confirmed the protest, saying in a statement: “Officers were called just after 7am this morning following reports of a protest on the M25 just after junction 10 of the anti-clockwise carriageway.

“Officials visited the scene and found a female protester sitting on scaffolding above the freeway.

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“Three lanes had to be closed while we worked to safely remove the woman, which involved a team of specialists trained to deal with incidents at height.”

Police confirmed that a 22-year-old woman had been arrested in connection with the demonstration.

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Just Stop Oil said the demonstration came after record-breaking temperatures of over 40C were observed for the first time in the UK.

A spokesman for the group said: “The main thing is that we have just seen the 40-degree temperatures that have been predicted for decades, maybe a little faster. But it has just shown how inadequate the government’s preparations for climate change and all its policies are, and basically we’re just saying that it’s now obvious that we can’t go ahead.

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“As we move on, we must stop new oil. It is the first step towards a future worth living in, and it may already be too late for that.

“This is something we absolutely must do.”

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They added that the government needed to make a “meaningful statement” to signal its intention to distance the country from UK fossil fuel production and consumption.

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