In the UK, jail time for climate activists

Four days after the end of the world climate conference (COP26), hosted by the United Kingdom, nine peace activists from the Insulate Britain association were sentenced, Wednesday, November 17, to prison by the British justice, for blocking roads around London and Dover this fall. Ana Heyatawin, 58, and Louis McKechnie, 20, were sentenced to three months in prison. Ben Buse, 36, Roman Paluch-Machnik, 28, Oliver Rock, 41, Emma Smart, 44, Tim Speers, 36, and James Thomas, 47, all received four-month sentences. Six months firm has been pronounced against Ben Taylor, 37, as Judge Victoria Sharp found that the words of this very determined activist were “Arsonists” and were related to a “Call to arms”.

Ben Taylor told the court if he didn’t go to jail he would return “Block the highway at the first opportunity (…). If you send us all [en prison], 100 people will come after us and take our places. If you imprison them all, 1,000 more will come behind. “” The defendants, or some of them, seem to want to become martyrs of their cause “, noted Judge Sharp. “This government has let us down and betrayed us. (…) We remain resolute and determined ”, the other Insulate Britain members reacted on Twitter on Wednesday.

The association, formed in the summer, demands that the government insulate all social housing by 2025 and all other housing by 2030, in order to improve the energy efficiency of buildings in the UK. Uni, considered very mediocre. Insulate Britain took action in mid-September, repeatedly blocking the M25 (the motorway that circles Greater London) with very rudimentary means: some activists stick their hands and feet to the asphalt, forcing them to motorists and heavy goods vehicles to stop until law enforcement intervenes.

They “threaten the way of life” of the British

A cleaner removes slime from the road outside Houses of Parliament after Insulate Britain protesters stuck to the tarmac in London on November 4, 2021.

This mode of action is directly inspired by that of Extinction Rebellion, a British movement created in 2018 and calling for civil disobedience to push the government to action against global warming. Extinction Rebellion has led several action campaigns and theorized the tactics of arresting its members (who are chained or stuck to cars or asphalt), aimed at wasting police time. His actions, especially in London in the fall, resulted in hundreds of arrests, and infuriated the ruling Conservative Party.

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In the UK, jail time for climate activists