Around 20 Lancashire residents arrested after blocking central London roads as part of Just Stop Oil protest
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The Metropolitan Police said 54 protesters were arrested on suspicion of wilful obstruction of the highway on Tuesday during a fourth day of demonstrations in Westminster.
They remain in custody at various police stations in the capital.
The group met outside Downing Street before marching in the road towards Parliament Square where they established roadblocks on all four corners, with some gluing themselves to the road surface.
Alan Woods, a 58 year old Company Director from Wigan, said “As a business owner of over 40 years I’ve seen a lot of challenges, but the climate and energy crises are the most important issues of our time.
“And the solution to both is to stop new oil and gas, and to start a rapid transformation to a fairer society, decided by ordinary people and paid for by the oil industry and the richest people in society – those whoare profiting from humanity’s destruction.
“But the Government is doing the exact opposite, and that’s why I’m here sitting on the road in London when I should be back in Wigan with my family and running my business.”
The demonstration was held in response to plans by the North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA), the body that represents the UK’s offshore energy sector, which is hoping to launch a further round of oil and gas licensing in October.
UK Business and Energy Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg has given the move the green light, stating that “in light of Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine and weaponisation of energy, strengthening our energy security is an absolute priority”.
Environmental activists meanwhile are opposed to the plans, with some considering legal action.
Sandra Elsworth, a mother of two and pensioner from Morecambe, said “I’m here to stop new oil and gas.
“The Government keeps issuing new fossil fuel licenses when they know, because the scientists tell them, that oil and gas are killing us.
“The Government has to get a grip and stop issuing new licenses, and I’ll keep coming back until they do.”
Esther Salomon from Lancaster, said “We’re demanding an end to new oil, as well as affordable, sustainable, nationwide public transport, and insulation forour homes.
“These are reasonable demands, and they're demands that will benefit our futures and all of our lives right now. “
Helen Shaw, 23 , an Environmental Science Graduate also from Lancaster said “I'm here today, sitting in a road outside Parliament Square, because if we do not take action now, I will not have a future.
I fear the horrific heatwaves we saw this summer are only the beginning.
“I studied environmental science for three years, and I'm sick of our politicians lying. That's why I'm here today.”
Just Stop Oil has vowed to continue the blockages in the capital for at least a month.
A spokesperson from the group said “This is not a one day event, this is an act of resistance against a criminal government and their genocidal death project.
“We will not stand by while everything we know and love is wilfully destroyed.
“We do this because it is the right thing to do and so we have a duty, a responsibility to continue.”