The Professor has been involved in climate action in Cambridge and more widelyJust Stop Oil with permission for Varsity

A Cambridge professor was arrested during a Just Stop Oil protest in London on Wednesday (01/11).

Professor Jason Scott-Warren, Director of Studies in English at Gonville & Caius, said that civil disobedience from groups like Just Stop Oil is necessary to send a “clear message” that the public “will not stand by as politicians open the gates of hell.”

Scott-Warren, who has been arrested before, during the spate of actions by Extinction Rebellion (XR) in 2019, was stopped on Wednesday by the police during a slow march protest on Cromwell Road.

According to initial Metropolitan Police reports, officers arrived at Cromwell Road within four minutes of the protest beginning, clearing the road within twenty-six minutes. Thirty-five arrests were also said to have been made for breaches of Section Seven of the Public Order Act (2023).

In further updates posted yesterday, the Police said that a further twenty-three Just Stop Oil activists had been charged and remanded in custody with thirteen individuals being bailed.

Varsity spoke to Professor Scott-Warren about his activism and his arrest.

“I’m genuinely scared about the current situation, where we are rapidly approaching 1.5 degrees of warming and are beginning to see how terrible this is going to be, but the people in power are still propping up fossil fuels,” Scott-Warren said.

“This is a war and the fossil fuel industry is winning. Just Stop Oil’s protests are focused on undercutting the business model of that industry, which is a prerequisite for meaningful change,” he continued.

“Just Stop Oil is responding to the government’s draconian anti-protest legislation by organising waves of arrests that send a clear message: we as citizens are rightly terrified and we will not stand by as politicians open the gates of hell,” Scott-Warren added.

When asked about the Metropolitan Police’s approach to Just Stop Oil’s demonstrators, Professor Scott-Warren said: “The Met has been bullied into submission and is no longer protecting the rights of protesters.”

“Its only goal is to get protesters off the road as quickly as possible, by any means; it has become a puppet of the state, which is in turn a puppet of the fossil fuel industry,” he added.

“These arrests, if they result in charges, will not stand up in court, where the right of proportionate protest is still acknowledged,” the professor continued.


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Discussing the disruptive nature of climate-related civil disobedience, Scott-Warren said: “We are fighting for the continued possibility of human society, which is currently threatened as never before in history. Protest, if it’s going to work, has to be disruptive.”

The English professor promised to “continue to take part in protests whenever he can” and encourage others to do the same, stating “this is our last chance”.

Climate protesters have been particularly active at universities in recent days, with a Just Stop Oil activist spraying King’s College with orange paint, following similar actions at Oxford, Bristol, and Exeter universities.