People take part in a Just Stop Oil protest in Whitehall (James Manning/PA)
01 October 2022

Thousands protests against soaring energy prices and climate crisis

01 October 2022

Thousands of activists have gathered across the country in protest against soaring energy prices and the climate crisis.

The demonstrations in cities including London, Glasgow and Belfast coincided with postal and rail strikes, along with a rise in average electricity bills of almost £600.

However, there were signs that enthusiasm may be flagging among veteran protesters, with one claiming they were trying to “shame a Government that has no shame”.

In London, activists supporting striking rail workers outside King’s Cross demanded that ministers cut energy prices before the temperature drops.

“People are not willing to sit back and take this outrageous treatment from the Tories any more,” Lily Holder told the PA news agency.

“The people want and desperately need change – and they need it soon. This winter is a frightening prospect and is going to show the true cruelty of our Government.”

At the same time, members of the Revolutionary Communist Group (RCG), Just Stop Oil and Extinction Rebellion (XR) were gathering outside Euston station to march on Westminster.

While some demanded the overthrow of capitalism – which one banner labelled “the enemy of Mother Nature” – others seemed more moderate in their views.

One protester, who gave his name as George, held a sign criticising the Conservatives’ lack of “fiscal budget responsibility” along with their record on fossil fuels.

“I sound like David Cameron when I say that,” he admitted, somewhat self-consciously.

Westminster Bridge was brought to a standstill for at least an hour when protesters, descending on it from across London, blocked the road to chant, sing and beat drums emblazoned with the XR logo.

“The politicians have turned a deaf ear to petitions and protests and marches – they just don’t seem to care,” David Pearson, who helped organise the march, told PA.

Speaking in front of the Palace of Westminster, he added: “We’re trying to shame a government that has no shame, so there’s a fundamental flaw in our theory of change.”

By around 3.30pm, most marchers appeared to be responding to the police’s requests and had left the scene without being arrested.

The disruption came as protesters from the Enough is Enough campaign gathered on the Buchanan Galleries steps in Glasgow to argue against rising energy bills.

They were joined by striking union members, with the GMB’s Chris Mitchell telling the crowd: “The working class are alive and kicking.”

Elsewhere, a rally outside City Hall in Belfast heard that children could die from hypothermia in the winter months without further Government intervention.

Northern Ireland Children’s Commissioner Koulla Yiasouma said that assurances from ministers meant nothing without a proper response to the cost-of-living crisis.

“Words won’t feed our children, they won’t keep our children warm, nor will they give them a safe place to live,” she said.

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