May 24, 2024

By Amber Allott

Just Stop Oil claims that over 20 officers, some of whom were armed, and seven vehicles have been sent to arrest one teenage activist for spray painting a building at a university.

In the last three days, members of climate activists’ student division have targeted eight universities with a protest blitz. They painted buildings orange including Oxford University’s Radcliffe Camera as well as University College London’s iconic pillars. Just Stop Oil claims that the campaign demands the UK Government immediately stop planned new oil projects. This comes after Rishi sunak announced over 100 new fossil-fuel exploration licenses in the North Sea.

Protesters also called on faculty and students to join Just Stop Oil’s march in London in November. They also criticised UK Universities for receiving allegedly PS40m of fossil fuel funding from 2022. Protesters targeted three universities on Thursday (12th October): Cambridge, Manchester and Leeds.

Just Stop Oil claimed in a press release that over 20 police officers, including a “military unit of police,” arrived in six cars and a van with the goal of arresting the 19-year-old student who was taking part in University of Manchester’s action. The statement said that the 19-year-old girl used a fire extinguisher to spray paint the Alan Gilbert Building of the University, and then painted ‘Just Stop Oil on the window’ with her hands.

NationalWorld has seen videos in which at least four officers are seen carrying the teen away from the scene, by both her legs and arms, to two cars that were waiting. In another clip with different officers, she was being searched in a van behind the police. Two of the officers present were armed, according to The Mancunion – a university student publication.

Just Stop Oil’s spokesperson described the protester as “a 19 year-old Just Stop Oil supporter”. Just Stop Oil continued, “Like all those who take action in Just Stop Oil, she received nonviolence instruction and is responsible for her actions.” Compare this to the harsh response from the authorities.

It is an overreach of the state to send armed officers and more than 20 policemen for a single arrest. This shows that they’re afraid that the young are putting up a fight against a government who is determined to destroy [her] generation. “Young people are entitled to protect themselves, and the ones they care about against this government which is determined to kill millions of people for profit.”

NationalWorld was informed by a Greater Manchester Police representative that reports had been made of damage to property on Oxford Road, in the heart of Manchester City Centre. A 19-year-old woman has been arrested and is being held in custody to be questioned on suspicion of criminal damages.

As of publication, they had yet to respond to questions about the number of officers present and whether or not any of them were armed. NationalWorld also contacted the University of Manchester to get a comment.

Also, students at the universities of Leeds and Cambridge took part in a protest. Just Stop Oil reported that a Cambridge PhD student used a fire-extinguisher spray paint to cover the neogothic gates of King’s College with orange.

They also said that a former University of Leeds student used a paint extinguisher in the Vice-Chancellor’s Office. The two were photographed as they left the scene.

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