Radical environmental activists caused the disruption of a London “Pride” parade on Saturday, leading to several arrests.
The group, Just Stop Oil, took credit for the disruption, claiming the parade was not adequately supportive of new oil and gas leases. Police reported seven people were arrested, each charged with “public nuisance”.
In a statement on Twitter, the group claimed the parade organizers were allowing “destructive industries such as Coca-Cola… to co–opt it and pinkwash themselves”. They added that “the LGBTQ+ supporters of Just Stop Oil have taken action against Pride in London today because the organization is working with industries complicit in worsening the climate crisis.” The protesters, identifying as LGBT, halted the parade for approximately fifteen minutes before police removed them from the street.
Prior to the event, London Mayor Sadiq Khan commented that “Extinction Rebellion and Just Stop Oil are really important pressure groups.”
Neither the Mayor nor the parade attendees appeared to be in support of the disruption. However, Just Stop Oil has a questionable past when it comes to its methods of activism. In October, two individuals affiliated with the group threw tomato soup at a London art museum, aiming for Vincent Van Gogh’s iconic “Sunflowers” painting. The suspects, Anna Holland, 20, and Phoebe Plummer, 21, were arrested for criminal damage and aggravated trespassing.
The Mayor, however, remains in support of “safe, and peaceful” protests, urging participants to join the “movement to tackle the climate emergency.”
Some are questioning the message portrayed by the group when their own actions seem contradictory to their message. Despite their peaceful claims, the disruption of the London Pride Parade does not appear to be a peaceful demonstration of their beliefs. The seven arrests will no doubt be a cautionary tale for those considering further demonstrations of this type.
The response from the parade attendees should also be taken into consideration. For the most part, the parade goers appeared to disagree with the interruption of their event. Further action from the public seems to reflect their willingness to stand up and voice their opinion against the group behind the disruption.
Nothing is more powerful than the public speaking out for what they believe in. London can only hope that this is a chance for the public to set an example and put an end to distracting demonstrations in the future.
🏳️🌈 BREAKING: JUST STOP OIL DISRUPTS PRIDE
🧯 LGBTQ+ supporters of Just Stop Oil have disrupted the Pride in London parade, blocking Coca-Cola’s float and spraying black and pink paint over the road.
— Just Stop Oil (@JustStop_Oil) July 1, 2023