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Insulate Britain Responds To Jailing Of Nine Activists

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Insulate Britain Responds To Jailing Of Nine Activists

Insulate Britain has responded to the news that nine climate activists have been sentenced to jail time for breaking an injunction designed to stop the group blockading the M25 motorway.

The nine protesters were sentenced to between three and six months in prison, with 27-year-old Ben Taylor receiving a longer sentence because he claimed that he would head straight out to block another highway if not imprisoned.

The group tweeted a short statement that read: "This morning our #InsulateBritain supporters have been sentenced.

"We are being failed and betrayed by our government.

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"Our 9 chose not to standby and be complicit in genocide."

The group then released a full statement in which they accused the government of 'cowardice' and announced that one activist who has been imprisoned will now embark on a hunger strike.

The aim of Insulate Britain is to pressure Boris Johnson and his government into insulating homes around the country as a first step to tackling climate change.

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They want to see all houses in Britain fully insulated by 2030, starting with social housing.

It would unquestionably be a positive step with regards to the fight against climate change, but the group have divided public opinion with their methods, which have included blockading motorways across the country and protesters supergluing themselves to the highway.

The full Insulate Britain statement reads:

Today in the High Courts, the government has shown its cowardice. Nine ordinary people have been committed to prison for demanding that the government fulfil its election pledges by insulating Britain's homes.

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The nine, aged between 20 and 58 years old, were convicted of contempt of court for breaking the National Highways' M25 injunction and were sentenced to between three and six months in prison.

Ana Heytawin and Louis McKecknie received sentences of three months, while Ben Taylor, who had announced to the court his intention to continue, received a sentence of six months.

"The other defendants were sentenced to four months. The judge ordered that all the defendants should serve at least half of their sentence.

After the sentencing, As Emma Smart, 44, announced her intention to go on hunger strike, the following letter from the nine was read aloud from the steps of the High Court by an Insulate Britain supporter:

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Over the last 9 weeks, 174 ordinary people have held the government to account, asking that they deliver on their most basic of duties, to protect the British people, the economy and all we hold dear in our society.

Your government has now chosen to act. It has chosen to imprison us for this demand.

By imprisoning us, the government shows its cowardice.

They would rather lock up pensioners than insulate their homes.

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They would rather lock up teachers than create thousands of proper jobs. They would rather lock up young people than take practical steps to reduce emissions.

They will lock us up and leave thousands to die of cold this winter. We knew we would face prison when we took this action, but we could not stand by while the government betrays the general public.

Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

Following the widely recognised failure of our government at COP26, we are continuing to ask them to get on with the job: of cutting carbon emissions; of insulating cold and leaky houses; of protecting the people of this country from climate collapse, because the lives of our children and those of all future generations hang in the balance.

To the government we say, you can't imprison a flood, there are no unlimited fines against a famine, you can't bankrupt a fire.

To the public we say, no one is coming to save you.

In the past, when governments have failed to protect their people the right thing to do is to highlight this injustice, breaking the law if needed, this is what the suffragettes and Martin Luther King did and it is what Insulate Britain has done.

We call on you to recognise that you also have a duty to act, as our government is betraying us. They can't even act to insulate Britain. What hope do we have of them protecting our children, our economy or our country?

We say to those who look on in fear and denial: this will impact you and all that you love and look at what we did.

A few hundred people captured the country's attention for months.

Think what 1000 people can achieve? You have a choice. To act, to come and join us help change the tide of history, or to be a bystander and be complicit in enabling genocide.

This tide will not come again, will you join us?

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: UK News, climate change, Protest

Tom Wood
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