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Climate activists leave tunnel demanding end to new oil and gas projects

Just Stop Oil protest

Climate activists have ended their occupation of a tunnel dug beneath an Essex road after 13 days.

Several Just Stop Oil campaigners were in the tunnel underneath St Clements Way in Grays – a key delivery route for the nearby oil terminal – since August 23, protesting against what they see as government inaction over the climate crisis.

The tunnellers, who voluntarily left the tunnel at around 3.45pm on Sunday, are demanding the government ends new oil and gas projects in the UK.

Just Stop Oil said the protesters were arrested by Essex Police.

Sam Johnson, 39, a groundworker from Suffolk, who was in the tunnel, said: “In July we experienced 40C heat for the first time in UK history and our emergency services could not cope.

“Just look at Pakistan – one third of the country was submerged by catastrophic floods and 33 million people have been displaced.

“This is the reality of climate collapse and it is happening here in the UK, it is happening all around the world and it is happening now. That is why we need to act now.”

Xavier Gonzalez Trimmer, 21, who works in the climbing industry, was also in the tunnel and said: “I cannot stand by and watch while our government allows profiteering energy companies to drive us into poverty, destroy our jobs and wreak havoc on the climate.

“I will not stop until the government agrees to end new oil and gas.”

Joe Howlett, 32, a musician and teacher from Bath, who was also in the tunnel, said: “We are demanding that the UK government stop all new licences and consents for fossil fuels in the UK.

“Join us in Westminster on October 1st. Just Stop Oil.”

Just Stop Oil said that from October 1 in Westminster it will be organising for what it says will be “the largest act of civil disobedience in UK history”.

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