Christian Climate Action (CCA) members, Rev Tim Hewes and Ben Buse have been jailed for 14 days each for contempt of court after they glued themselves to court furniture in protest at the Court’s complicity with the government’s lack of action on the climate emergency. Ben and Tim were at City of London Magistrates Court for a hearing after Ben was charged with breaking a S14 order during an Extinction Rebellion protest in September 2020. Tim livestreamed in court.
Yesterday, Rev Sue Parfitt, 79, and Ruth Jarman, also CCA members, were arrested for contempt of court after they glued themselves to court furniture at the same court and Ruth livestreamed the action. They were later released under investigation.
Ben gave a statement in court:
‘Today I am protesting in court for time has run out. The earth is dying, species are dying, island states, livelihoods and cultures are dying, the coral reefs are dying. We are crossing the global climate system tipping points, and are on the brink of runaway heating, mass migration, immense suffering and destruction. It fills me with grief that we are continuing as normal as everything precious is dying around us. Protestors are dismissed and prosecuted, whilst business as normal continues.
‘So, I challenge the court as to the absurdity of the situation, what are you doing prosecuting the protestors as the world is dying? Suppressing the voices that cry stop – as we destroy the world. We praise the suffragettes, Gandhi and Martin Luther King, for the good they won through protest, and yet we are prosecuting those protesting now. In my own Christian tradition, I’m reminded of Jesus’s words condemning the honouring of the tombs of the ancient prophets whilst arresting, imprisoning the prophets of their day (Mat 23:29-end).
‘The courts fail the earth and life, justice is bigger than legal arguments, we must look at the results of the system and decide if we wish to cooperate – HS2 was allowed to continue, and the appeal rejected despite it being unclear that ministers were fully aware of the environmental impacts. An injunction was granted against the protestors in Euston Square Gardens who’d spent a month in tunnels, HS2 is destroying our ancient woodlands, and produces massive amounts of CO2 during construction. The supreme court overturned the ban on Heathrow’s third runway. Prosecutions for section 14 decide to minimise disruption now, rather than heeding the call to stop, stop, stop this madness, to break free from the addictions to unsustainable lifestyles. Judges frequently dismiss the climate crisis as grounds for a defence of necessity. The court’s actions protect business interests, business as usual, whilst failing to protect ecosystems, biodiversity, the health of the planet, and our future.’
Rev Tim Hewes also spoke:
‘Our planet is being choked with carbon dioxide emissions, covered in tarmac, plundered of its limited resources, the deep oceans filled with plastic, biodiversity squandered by a shameful disregard for the integrity and preciousness of all non-human creatures, with forests burned for soya crops to produce industrial beef and other forests inhabited by primates, felled for replanting for palm oil production, to make ourfood and toiletries smoother and “nicer”. This is why I protest today.’
‘Police are being instructed to crack down on lawful protest and the courts instructed to ignore the fact that our world in on fire. Meanwhile law abiding citizens are criminalised for justified and legal protest – as the only way remaining to draw attention to the impending catastrophe.’
Anyone wishing to support Ben and Tim can visit www.christianclimateaction.org for more information.