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Vicar held on remand in jail over climate protest

by Tola Mbakwe
Rev Bill White.jpg - Banner image
Photo Credit: Christian Climate Action

A retired vicar is being held on remand at HMP Birmingham after he took part in a protest outside the Kingsbury Oil Depot. 

Rev Bill White, 67, took part in the Just Stop Oil protest despite a High Court Injunction banning protestors from the site. 
The protest was part of the Just Stop Oil campaign, which is calling on the government to stop granting new licenses for gas and oil exploration. At least twelve Christians, including at least six members of the clergy, have been involved in the Just Stop Oil campaign so far. 

Rev Tim Hewes also attended the protest at the Kingsbury site, but was released by police on bail.

Rev White amplified his protest at Kingsbury by refusing to leave his court cell for a hearing at Birmingham Crown Court on 12th May. 

Campaign group Christian Climate Action says peaceful non-compliance with hearings is an increasing tactic amongst Just Stop Oil campaigners, 18 of whom have now been jailed or remanded.

Rev White, a former Church of England parish priest in both Cheshire and Cumbria, said: "Our world is addicted to oil, and like any addict, we enrich the dealers, harm those around us, and ultimately destroy ourselves. If unresolved this addiction to oil today means our children and grandchildren will not be able to enjoy life as we know it.

Photo Credit: Christian Climate Action

"At the very least it is as a matter of justice for these children that I support the Just Stop Oil coalition, drawing attention to this deadly addiction, admitting my part in it, and hoping and praying our government will come to its senses and seek help. Bringing an addict to the point of realisation often requires tough love. I see this non-violent civil resistance as the outworking of such costly love God is calling us to.

"The £10 million to £30 million a day by which our government subsidises our addiction would be better spent on the transition from fossil fuels to renewables. If this is what it takes to wake our sleep-walking nation I, with many others, am willing to even go to prison."
A report by Friends of the Earth published in October 2021 estimated that around 40 applications for new projects would be brought to the UK government by fossil fuel companies in the next few years.

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