Tory Government Considered Just Stop Oil Protesters ‘Extremists’

In an exchange as baffling as unexpected, Downing Street has criticised BBC presenter Chris Packham’s defence of Just Stop Oil protests, showcasing the widening gulf between environmental activists and the Government. Here’s the whole story.

War Against Protest

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The Government’s recent war on the right to peacefully protest has taken yet another strange turn recently. 


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After singling out anti-war demonstrators as “extremists” and implying that Muslim citizens are somehow part of a mob that is running the country, the Conservative Party has turned its sights on an even more unexpected target. 

Just Stop Oil

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Downing Street berated BBC Presenter Chris Packham over his defense of protests outside MPs houses organised by the environmentalist group Just Stop Oil.


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Number Ten released a measured response to the support of environmental protestors by Packham, a naturalist and conservationist, stating that his support for the group was “irresponsible.”

Culture War

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This latest strange twist in the Government’s ongoing culture war has caused an outcry and raised questions over the convergence of the boundaries of protest and the imminent climate catastrophe. 


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Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s spokesperson condemned Just Stop Oil’s protests as “intimidatory.” 

New Powers

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They also made clear that the police would be given full authority to use their newly minted powers to stop or move on protests like the recently organised by the group. 

Encouraging Protest

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Sunak’s spokesperson stated, “It is clearly irresponsible to encourage people to protest at the home addresses of MPs, which is exactly why the democratic policing protocol agreed last week that any protests at the home addresses of MPs would be considered intimidatory and the police will use their powers to direct protesters away from them.”

“Clearly Unacceptable”

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They continued: “We’ve seen examples that are clearly unacceptable, and it’s right that the public expect the police to tackle this sort of behavior.”

Human Rights 

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Several human rights organisations, including Human Rights Watch and Liberty, heavily criticised the Government’s stance, arguing that curtailing the right to protest undermined one of the founding principles of any democracy. 

“Very Definition of Authoritarian”

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The UK director of Human Rights Watch, Yasmine Ahmed, was brutally frank in her denunciation, stating, “A country that only allows you to demonstrate on issues it agrees with is the very definition of authoritarian. For a government that prides itself as a defender of free speech, it seems this defense is conditional on you agreeing with the Government.”

Much Ado About Nothing

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For all the furore raised over Chris Packham’s comments, in reality, his objections were relatively straightforward, as he defended Just Stop Oil’s right to protest peacefully. 

“Science Tells Us We Have To Act”

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Packham argued the need for protest was one of environmental survival, telling Times Radio, “The science tells us we have to act. These people are frightened for my future, for your future, for the future of any children they might have. They need to draw attention to this issue.”

“Non-Violent Demonstration”

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He continued: “If this is a peaceful, non-violent demonstration then we in the UK, for all the laws that have been radically changed in very recent times, have to preserve that right to protest. We’ve got a law out there, it needs to be applied equally to everyone.”

Expressing Solidarity

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Packham expressed solidarity with Just Stop Oil’s objectives, advocating for a swift transition to renewable energy sources to help stop the impending climate disaster that global warming will lead to. 

Radical to Pedestrian

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He also argued that various forms of protest, ranging from the radical to the more pedestrian, were required when considering the scale of the world’s problem.

Legal Challenge

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Packham also revealed plans for a high court legal challenge against the Government’s decision to weaken key climate policies. 

Phasing Out Fossil Fuels

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The judicial review aims to contest Rishi Sunak’s proposals to delay the phase-out of fossil fuel-powered vehicles and heating systems, emphasizing the importance of upholding ambitious climate targets instead of forever postponing the necessary steps. 

Home Protests

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The Government has consistently reiterated its belief that protests outside of MPs’ homes are unacceptable.

Cut Off

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Some Ministers have even suggested proposals that curb MPs’ ability to interact or work alongside protest groups. 

Unexpected Clash

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The clash between Downing Street and Chris Packham is just another step along the strange road Britain seems to be going down, with protests being legislated against consistently as the issues that cause them to protest become more pronounced. 

Tick Tock

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Whether the actions of Packham or Just Stop Oil will affect the Government’s plans to burn fossil fuels until the last possible moment remains to be seen.

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The post Tory Government Considered Just Stop Oil Protesters ‘Extremists’ first appeared on Edge Media.

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Grant Gallacher is a seasoned writer with expertise in politics and impactful daily news. His work, deeply rooted in addressing issues that resonate with a wide audience, showcases an unwavering commitment to bringing forth the stories that matter. He is also known for satirical writing and stand up comedy.

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