Climate activists warn ‘thousands of students’ will be arrested in November for civil resistance

Students have threatened a wave of civil disobedience across UK campuses if university Vice Chancellors fail to condemn the government over new oil and gas licenses.

The student wing of the campaign organisation Just Stop Oil have called on Vice Chancellors to ‘pick a side’ and condemn the government over its decision to license a new round of oil and gas fields in the North Sea.  

It comes after Gillian Keegan wrote last week to university bosses expressing her ‘extreme concern’ over students involved in environmental campaigning. The education secretary ‘strongly encouraged’ universities to warn students about the consequences of engaging in civil resistance.

But Just Stop Oil hit back urging university bosses to join them and to, “face up to the far worse consequences coming down the line as a result of the government’s genocidal policies.”

Climate activists have warned that ‘thousands of students’ will be arrested in November for taking part in a slow march in London, an act that is now illegal under the government’s new Public Order Bill.

Vice chancellors, academics and lecturers have been encouraged to show solidarity with students by joining in on the slow march and civil resistance, ultimately to be “arrested and imprisoned along with them”.

Just Stop Oil accused universities of failing to speak out about the climate crisis and of being ‘complicit’ with government policy, by partnering with fossil fuel companies and undertaking research for industrial agriculture, auto, aviation and defence industries.

The campaign group wrote: “Now comes your moment to stand up against evil. It is time for you to put your head above the parapet and publicly announce that the government’s policies are criminal and condemn the next generation to obliteration. It is time for you to tell the truth, that new oil and gas means the end of everything. It is time for you to engage in civil resistance.

“It is time for you to pick a side. Either you side with the government, and the education secretary who is responsible for allowing the UK’s places of education to physically crumble into disrepair – or you side with your students as they take action to protect their lives and their futures.”

(Image credit: Just Stop Oil)

Hannah Davenport is news reporter at Left Foot Forward, focusing on trade unions and environmental issues

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