Just Stop Oil confirm Pride in London action: ‘Reclaim a fossil-fuelled Pride’
Just Stop Oil activists have confirmed they will take action during Pride in London, as a protest against the event’s sponsorship deals.
The action follows several other high-profile demonstrations by the environmental group, which have seen them disrupt the cricket test match at Lord’s, in London, and the snooker World Championships in Sheffield, as well as block key roads in and around the capital.
On Thursday (29 June), the anti-fossil-fuel campaigners tweeted a warning to the Pride event, stating that activists “may or may not take action” during Saturday’s (1 July) parade if their demands are not met.
The demands included Pride in London being open about who its sponsors are, making a statement demanding an end to new oil and gas exploration, and setting up a meeting to discuss joining in the civil resistance against climate change.
As shown on the Pride in London website, the headline sponsor for this year’s event is United Airlines, the third-largest in the world with more than 900 aircrafts in its fleet.
Twenty-four hours after the demands were issued, Just Stop Oil announced it would be pushing ahead with action, with a protest scheduled to take place at noon on Saturday in Parliament Square.
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In a press release on the Just Stop Oil website, the activists stated they would consider “potential escalations” which may result in the “disruption of Pride” if their demands are not met.
“Pride was born from protest,” the group said. “It speaks to how far we’ve come as a community, that high-polluting industries and the banks that fund them, now see Pride as a useful vehicle for sanitising their reputations, waving rainbow flags in one hand [while] accelerating social collapse with the other.
“What would those who instigated the gay liberation movement, during the Stonewall riots in 1969, make of the corporatised spectacle Pride has become?”
The message went on to say: “We are calling on [Pride in London] to make a statement condemning new oil, gas and coal. We also demand that they cease accepting sponsorship money from high-polluting industries and stop allowing the inclusion of floats from these organisations in the parade.
“These partnerships embarrass the LGBTQ+ community, at a time when much of the cultural world is rejecting ties to these toxic industries. We call on Pride to remember the spirit in which it was founded and to respect the memory of all those who fought and died to secure the rights we now possess.”
The group received a mixed reaction to their threat from within, and outside, the LGBTQ+ community.
While a number of people agreed with the group’s message, other said they see the planned demonstration as counter-productive to the Pride movement, taking away from a focus on LGBTQ+ rights.
Commenting on the situation more broadly, writer Arthur Webber tweeted: “If Just Stop Oil do go ahead with protesting at Pride in London, it will be really interesting to see which group commentators and political hacks hate more: the queers or climate activists.”
Left-wing political commentator and journalist Owen Jones tweeted that he would be supporting Just Stop Oil’s action. “Pride is an important day for LGBTQ liberation,” he wrote, “but it can be used by corporations destroying the planet to pinkwash their reputations.
“Pride isn’t just a party – it’s a protest.”
Writer Jason Okundaye said: “Get behind me Just Stop Oil. Pride is necessarily a site for expressive political demonstration and inter-connected struggle. If a celebration claims to be held in our name, we must scrutinise funding sources and whether we’re being used to aid climate devastation.”
Yesterday (30 June), a spokesperson for Pride in London said: “The safety of others is paramount. This year we are highlighting trans+ joy, ensuring that the community knows that with us, they #NeverMarchAlone.
“We call on all individuals, groups and organisations to give this space the respect and focus it deserves in an increasingly hostile and unsafe world.
“We welcome dialogue with Just Stop Oil after the event and wish everyone a safe and happy Pride.”
PinkNews has approached Pride in London for further comment.
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