Climate activists from groups such as Just Stop Oil are facing repression (Picture: Guy Smallman)

Jailed environmental activists—who were sent down for mentioning the climate crisis in court—say state repression won’t stop them from speaking out.

Insulate Britain activist and care worker David Nixon was jailed for eight weeks last week after disobeying a judge’s instruction not to mention the climate crisis. He was charged with contempt of court after he said taking direct action in 2021 was necessary to fight environmental destruction.

Judge Silas Reid had told the defendants not to refer to the climate crisis as their reason for blocking roads. Nixon defied the court’s rules—and, when Reid asked him to apologise, he refused twice.

He told the court, “If London continues to flood, if there are more wildfires, 40-degree heat, these are decisions that you are having to live with. And I— this is going to sound completely unapologetic— I have seen what’s happened in the past week.

“It underlines climate delay and climate action delay. If we were able to say why we did what we did to the jury, they would maybe acquit us.”

Nixon’s case is not the first where activists have been barred from speaking about the climate crisis. Insulate Britain and Just Stop Oil supporter Mark Coleman was on trial in the Crown Court in January along with three others.

They were all charged with causing a public nuisance for sitting in the road at Bishopsgate street in central London. All were barred from talking about the climate crisis, fuel poverty, or insulation.

Mark told Socialist Worker, “The judge was very clear in our trial because we were being charged with public nuisance. We could give no defence. For a lot of us, speaking to a jury was attractive because we wanted to be able to explain why we did what we did to ordinary people.

“But we were all shocked that we couldn’t talk about our motivations. The judge even told us we weren’t allowed to talk about our history.” 

During the trial fellow defendant Stephanie Aylett defied the ruling not to talk about the climate crisis and was charged with contempt of court. 

Mark is now waiting for his sentencing, but he added that his experience in court has made it clear whose side the law is on.

“It doesn’t feel like the law is on our side,” he said. “I took an oath before the trial to tell the truth, but how can you take an oath like that and not be able to speak about your motivations and reasoning? 

“Delaying buses on Bishopsgate street is nothing compared with the disruption that the climate crisis will bring. That’s the truth, and we won’t stop saying it.”

Currently, two trials by a jury of Insulate Britain supporters have resulted in guilty verdicts, including Mark’s. Two trials have resulted in acquittals, and one has been deferred. 

As Insulate Britain trails continue, so do trials of Just Stop Oil supporters. Six Just Stop Oil protesters were found guilty of causing a public nuisance when they disrupted the British Grand Prix at Silverstone on Friday. 

Two of the defendants have already spent significant stretches in prison. Louis McKechnie has already spent 212 days in prison, and Joshua Smith was released on bail after being imprisoned for 170 days. 

Every socialist, trade unionist and campaigner must stand with climate activists facing repression.

Original post


We’d love to keep you updated with the latest news 😎

We don’t spam!

Leave a Reply

We use cookies

Cookies help us deliver the best experience on our website. By using our website, you agree to the use of cookies.

Thank you for your Subscription

Subscribe to our Newsletter