Just Stop Oil: An annoying nuisance or effective direct action to save the planet?

Thursday 27 July 2023

Just Stop Oil (JSO) has attracted attention from the media with their protests about climate change while annoying the public with their disruptive tactics.

The group's campaign has become a national irritation, targeting major sporting events, the Chelsea Flower Show and the London Pride March.

They also disrupted filming of Channel 4 show The Last Leg, and sprayed orange paint on the Department of Energy Security and Net Zero building in central London.

But an intervention by practical jokers has added a touch of humour to counteract the disruption by turning the tables on JSO activists.

Joshua Pieters and Archie Manners are the masterminds behind Just Stop Peeing Everyone Off, a cheeky counter protest movement formed to confront JSO's campaign of civil disobedience.

After infiltrating a banquet held by JSO activists the pair hijacked the event by releasing rape alarms tied to helium balloons.

After being tipped off with the location for a JSO protest in London, the pranksters arranged for a group of counter protesters to surround the activists preventing them from blocking traffic.

Speaking to TalkTV's Piers Morgan, Mr Pieters said: "I think we can all agree that climate change is a very serious issue. And we all know that something needs to be done.

"But when you're protesting and campaigning for things you need to bring people with you and just stop oil are having the exact opposite effect on the British public."

Police say a 13-week campaign by Just Stop Oil (JSO) has cost them more than £7.7 million, the equivalent of 23,500 officer shifts.

Figures released by the Metropolitan Police revealed the cost of policing 515 protests carried out by JSO since April, with action including slow marches in major roads in London and disruption of high-profile sporting events.

Mr Manners said many officers told them their time would better spent focussing on other policing duties.

"To pull these pranks off, we had a mole inside, we infiltrated their ranks, and followed them around for a day before we pulled any stunts," he said.

"It was interesting talking to the police, hundreds of them on Parliament Square policing this stuff. They don't want to be doing it either."