51 Just Stop Oil supporters jailed after mass civil resistance in court

cross-posted from Just Stop Oil

51 ordinary people who took action at Kingsbury Oil Terminal on Wednesday were remanded to prison for at least a week by high court judges in Birmingham and London today after they refused to comply with court proceedings. [1]

This included 30 Just Stop Oil supporters who appeared at the Queen Elizabeth Court in Birmingham before Her Honour Judge Kelly and 21 supporters who appeared before Mr Justice Lavender at the Royal Courts of Justice in London.

The Just Stop Oil supporters refused to comply with proceedings in a variety of ways:

El Lytton stood on the court furniture, while Ruth Jarman, of Christian Climate Action, refused to recognise the court’s authority, saying she was accountable to a Higher Power.

Tez Burns and Sheila Shatford turned their backs on the judge while Gerard Latimer, Mary Adams and Charlotte Kirin refused to stand for the judge and talked over her to explain their reasons for non-compliance.

Darcy Mitchell took off his shirt to reveal the words “SHAM JUSTICE KILLS KIDS” written on his body, while Rajan Naidu held up a copy of “The Uninhabitable Earth” by David Wallace-Wells and recommended it to the court before promising to break the injunction again if bailed.

Many of those appearing today had taken action with Just Stop Oil earlier in the year, but for Sheila Shatford it was her first arrest.

During the Birmingham hearings, the following statements were made:

‘I will just go and do it again, and again, and again. What else can I do?’ – Diana Hekt.

‘The judiciary is colluding with people destroying life on earth. I will break the injunction again – I have a moral duty to do so’. – Zoe Cohen.

‘’This court upholds the law in favour of corporations causing genocide and ecocide’ – Pam Williams.

“This court is complicit in crimes against humanity’ – Sue Sidey.

“I don’t accept the authority of this court. I will go and do it again if I’m released. I will not return to this court” – Gillian Bird.

In London, those attending court spoke bravely and calmly. Michelle Cadet Rose spoke about her family in Barbados and how they will either drown or become climate refugees, and we know what happens to climate refugees with dark skin, she said. Victoria Lindsell questioned the judge on his complicity and asked if he made any emotional connection to the case.  He said his job was to judge this legal question. Theresa Norton told the judge that he does have a choice, that he could throw the case out and take a moral stand. All stated that if released they would return immediately to break the injunction.

The 51 remanded today join 3 other Just Stop Oil supporters currently held in prison without trial. Since April 1st when supporters of Just Stop Oil first began blocking oil terminals there have been over 1350 arrests. [2]

As the government doubles down on fossil fuel energy by “ramping up supply” and breaks its manifesto commitment on fracking, Just Stop Oil supporters will continue to take nonviolent direct action to demand an end to this genocidal death project. We accept the consequences of our actions and we don’t need you to feel sorry for us, we need you to step up and join us.  [3] [4]

This is the moment to come together and resist. We are not prepared to just watch while they destroy everything we love. We’re done with begging. Voting has changed nothing. We are going to stop new oil whether those in power agree or not. As citizens, as humans, as parents and children we have every right under British law to protect ourselves and those we love. This is the moment, we are the last generation that can solve this. Will you step up and join us? If we all come together we can do this. We can Just Stop Oil. Join us on October 1st in Westminster.

ENDS

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Notes to Editors

[1] The 51 are charged with contempt of court for breaking the North Warwickshire injunction. They will now spend at least a week in prison ahead of their committal hearings scheduled for 20th and 21st of September.  https://www.northwarks.gov.uk/downloads/file/9139/injunction_order

[2] Still being held without trial for taking action with Just Stop Oil are: Joshua Smith, 29 from Manchester and Louis McKechnie, 21 from Weymouth, who have been on remand since July 7th and are expected to face trial in February 2023.  Chris Bennet, 31 from Bristol, who occupied one of the Essex tunnels near the Navigator oil terminal. In addition one person is in prison for resisting the Southampton- Heathrow pipeline.

[3] https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/pm-liz-trusss-opening-speech-on-the-energy-policy-debate

[4] https://www.carbonbrief.org/factcheck-why-fracking-is-not-the-answer-to-the-uks-energy-crisis/

About Just Stop Oil

Just Stop Oil is a coalition of groups working together to demand that the government immediately halt all future licensing and consents for the exploration, development and production of fossil fuels in the UK – set for substantial expansion under the premiership of Liz Truss.

We must urgently end our reliance on fossil fuels to avoid irreversible changes in the earth’s climate system. We cannot continue to burn fossil fuels in the belief that future developments in carbon capture and storage and other so-called “unicorn technologies” will allow us to suck vast quantities of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

The UK must begin this process immediately. It starts by calling a halt to any further fossil fuel projects on the UK Continental Shelf. That would give us eight years of fossil fuel production left in which to rapidly transition to a zero carbon economy.

Everyone knows we have to engage in massive changes. Just Stop Oil is a coalition of groups demanding the no-brainer things be done immediately – actions that will reduce the demand for fossil fuel energy dramatically such as insulating our homes, rethinking how we travel, getting on with renewable energy and making sure no-one is left behind.

We either come together as humanity or we die. Youth know which they choose. They have already chosen. They are in the streets to demand a future. We are all in the streets to make sure they get it. It’s as basic as that.

Further information about Just Stop Oil and our demands here: https://www.juststopoil.org

Victory! Court Rules MN Sheriff’s Blockade of Line 3 Water Protector Camp Was Illegal and Bars Ongoing Efforts to Obstruct Access+

cross-posted from Center for Protest Law and Litigation

Today, a Minnesota court issued a ruling protecting an Indigenous-led camp of Line 3 opponents from Hubbard County’s unlawful blockades and targeted harassment. This victory on the part of steadfast frontline climate justice activists is part of the crucial legal fight-back against oppressive police tactics as they place their bodies on the line to defend the planet.

The ruling comes after months of litigation on behalf of Indigenous water protectors, including Tara Houska and Winona LaDuke, and a successful temporary restraining order against Hubbard County, Sheriff Cory Aukes, and the local land commissioner in northern Minnesota for unlawfully blocking access to Giniw Collective’s Line 3 Camp Namewag in 2021.

The Center for Protest Law and Litigation, EarthRights International, and local counsel Jason Steck represent the plaintiffs.

Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, constitutional rights lawyer and Director of the Center for Protest Law & Litigation at the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund stated:

“Today David beat Goliath in a legal victory for people protecting the climate from rapacious corporate destruction. The outrageous blockade and repression of an Indigenous-led water protector camp was fueled by massive sums of money flowing from the Enbridge corporation to the Sheriff’s department as it acted against water protectors challenging Enbridge’s destruction of Native lands.”

“Today’s decision finds that the paramilitarized blockade was illegal and orders the Sheriff and Hubbard County to desist from any ongoing effort to obstruct access. This has been a hard-fought case as Hubbard County and its Sheriff have perpetuated the history of efforts to deprive Native people of access to land. Today’s victory sends a message to the next police force that might consider similar tactics that activists will not back down and will fight to assert their rights.”

Plaintiff Tara Houska, Founder of the Giniw Collective, stated:

“15 months ago, I was woken up at 6am and walked down my driveway to a grinning sheriff holding a notice to vacate my years-long home. That day turned into 50 squad cars on a dirt road and a riot line blocking my driveway. 12 people, guests from all over who came to protect the rivers and wild rice from Line 3 tar sands, were arrested and thrown into the dirt.”

“Today’s ruling is a testament to the lengths Hubbard County was willing to go to criminalize and harass Native women, land defenders, and anyone associated with us — spending unknown amounts of taxpayer dollars and countless hours trying to convince the court that the driveway to Namewag camp wasn’t a driveway,” Houska continued. “It’s also a testament to steadfast commitment to resisting oppression. This is a piece in the long game and we aren’t afraid. We haven’t forgotten the harms to us and the harms to the earth. Onward.”

Plaintiff Winona LaDuke, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Honor the Earth, stated:

“We are grateful to Judge Austad for recognizing how Hubbard County exceeded its authority and violated our rights. Today’s ruling shows that Hubbard County cannot repress Native people for the benefit of Enbridge by circumventing the law. This is also an important victory for all people of the North reinforcing that a repressive police force should not be able to stop you from accessing your land upon which you hunt or live.”

Marco Simons, General Counsel of EarthRights, stated: 

“The court’s ruling is a major rebuke to police efforts to unlawfully target water protectors and to interfere with their activities protesting the Line 3 pipeline. Blocking access to the Namewag camp exemplifies a pattern of unlawful and discriminatory police conduct incentivized by an Enbridge-funded account from which the police can seek reimbursement for Line 3-related activities.

“Police forces should protect the public interest, not private companies. Cases like this highlight the dangers of allowing the police to act as a private security arm for pipeline companies.”

Read the opinion here. 

BACKGROUND

The Hubbard County Sheriff unlawfully blockaded access to a camp serving as a convergence space and home for Indigenous-led organizing, decolonization and treaty rights trainings, and religious activities by water protectors seeking to defend the untouched wetlands and the treaty territory of Anishinaabe peoples. Activists attempting to access the property were harassed by Hubbard County police, issued unlawful citations for driving upon the property’s driveway, and threatened with arrest for coming to and from the camp.

The Sheriffs’ departments in the region received funds from the Enbridge pipeline corporation for their time spent acting against the pipeline’s opponents through a “Public Safety Escrow Fund.” Enbridge paid more than $8 million to “reimburse” law enforcement, effectively privatizing Minnesota’s public police forces in service to efforts to repress opposition to the pipeline.

Enbridge’s Line 3 tar sands oil pipeline runs through hundreds of miles of Northern Minnesota land, including the lands of the Anishinaabe people and the headwaters of the Mississippi River. Enbridge is already responsible for the largest inland oil spill in the United States.

THE PLAINTIFFS

Tara Houska is an environmental and Indigenous rights attorney and advocate, land defender, founder of the Giniw Collective and a leader of the efforts to  stop Line 3. She is a citizen of Couchiching First Nation.

Winona LaDuke is a renowned activist working on issues of sustainable development, renewable energy, and food systems. She is the co-founder and executive  director of Honor the Earth. She lives and works on the White Earth reservation in northern Minnesota, and is a member of the Mississippi Band Anishinaabeg.

NorCal: Urgent Call for Statewide Support for Threatened Coastal Forests & Tribal Sovereignty

cross-posted from Save Jackson Forest

Urgent Call for Statewide Support for Threatened Coastal Forests & Tribal Sovereignty

Please join The Coalition to Save Jackson at a  “30×30” Kick Off Rally on September 28th, 2022! The rally begins at 11 am, outside of the California Natural Resources Agency’s 30×30 Kick Off Event at 715 P St, Sacramento, CA 95814.

Our Coalition is supporting the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians as they negotiate co-management of the Jackson Demonstration State Forest (JDSF) in their Pomo homelands. Establishing co-management and ending commercial logging in Jackson, the largest state-owned forest, are necessary if California is to enact the goals of reconciliation with Tribal people and reach its 30×30 goal of preserving lands to slow climate change. Governor Newsom established the 30×30 goal of protecting 30% of the state’s lands and waters by 2030. Scientists have advocated a similar global goal, in the face of accelerating climate change and declines in global biodiversity.

Supporting this campaign has statewide impacts because the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians is negotiating with the State based on Governor Newsom’s little-publicized directive to state agencies to co-manage lands with the Tribes of California. What happens in Pomo Homelands can affect Tribal co-management in all of California. Please join us!

Tribal Chairman Michael Hunter said “For co-management to succeed, it must be a government to government relationship that creates equal decision making powers. I worry that the State does not understand the importance of the words they are using. We must ensure that co-management creates an equal relationship between the State and the Tribes with equal decision making authority.” At the rally we are going to amplify Tribal Elder Priscilla Hunter’s call for “No More Broken Promises” because, after halting logging, road building, and pesticide operations for seven months during negotiations with the Tribe, CalFire and CNRA are attempting to resume these operations before negotiations with the Tribe are complete.

The Tribe and Coalition protest that the State is desecrating Pomo and Coast Yuki Sacred Sites and cultural resources with their logging operations in JDSF. Furthermore, the State is squandering one of its best tools for fighting climate change by logging mature coast redwoods. “Redwood forests have amazing climate mitigation potential and management needs to maximize that potential,” said Sara Rose, a youth activist with Mendocino County Youth for Climate and member of the Coalition. “My generation will have to live with what the planet becomes if we don’t save it. We have to face the reality of climate change.”

Please join us in Sacramento, please share this call for support, and please send us your organization’s  logo if you support the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians and the Coalition to Save Jackson in this campaign. If your organization can write a letter supporting our campaign, thank you. Please click here to sign a petition to shame CAL FIRE’s deception and protest logging in Jackson Demonstration State Forest! For more on this campaign read this background info, check out Savejackson.org, follow @savejacksoncoalition on Instagram, and like Coalition to Save Jackson The People’s Forest on Facebook!

Logos, questions and RSVPs can be emailed to Showing Up for Racial Justice Mendo Coast chapter, a member of the Coalition to Save Jackson: surjmendocoast@gmail.com

You can register for the State’s 30×30 event for free here if you would like to go inside the event and make your presence known.  Our rally will be outside the event.

 

Railway Blockade on Unceded Nitassinan (Saguenay)

cross-posted from Montreal Counter-Information

Anonymous submission to MTL Counter-info

Wednesday evening, a collective of Indigenous and settler activists blocked the Roberval-Saguenay railroad belonging to the multinational corporation Rio Tinto in solidarity with the National Committee for First Peoples’ Rights which is paralyzing for a third consecutive day the railroad line located at the border of Labrador and Schefferville, which is used by the mining company Tata Steel. The solidarity blockade lasted one hour. These actions have the objective of reminding the governments that the members of the Indigenous communities in this country will no longer accept any compromises regarding criminal acts committed against them.

The band councils of Uashat mak Mani-utenam (ITUM) and Matimekush-Lac John are suspected of having obtained the majority of electoral votes through corruption, fraud, extortion, and breach of trust. The alleged acts took place between 2019 and 2022 and involved nearly $1.8 million in bribes and favors of various kinds. In the official complaint formulated to the Sûreté du Québec by the First Peoples’ Rights Committee, a list of evidence coming directly from ITUM’s accounting system shows that there were, without the knowledge of the members, approximately 325 billing payments from registrants for an approximate amount of $1,780,000. This amount would be the result of a contract signed with the mining company IOC Rio-Tinto in 2020, in which Chief Mike McKenzie’s team would have hidden the legal meaning of the numerous clauses of this agreement from the members, which would have had the effect of giving away, in an exclusive manner and without any time limit, all future rights to decision-making about exploitation of natural resources on the unceded Great Nitassinan, the territory of the Innuat people!

Today’s action by the collective in Saguenay is a reminder that the Iron Ore Company of Canada (IOC) and the band councils, which are nothing more than organizations of colonial assimilation set up by the federal government, are not masters of unceded Nitassinan. Agreements signed illegally, by extortion, without the consent of the entire Innuat people, will never again be tolerated. The mining companies have been destroying and polluting the territory of the Innuat for several decades. Our action is a direct act of ancestral sovereignty of the First Peoples. We have been perpetuating this ancestral governance for thousands of years. We are also acting for future generations to leave them a healthy land and to perpetuate our ancestral rights, our sacred relationship with Assi (the Earth) and all living beings. Enough is enough! Today we are acting in the name of a movement by Indigenous people and their allies, to denounce these criminal acts sanctioned by the Canadian and Quebec courts. We call for the multiplication of solidarity actions in relation to this struggle.