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What is Just Stop Oil? Why it targeted Chelsea flower show and what it hopes to achieve

Climate activist group Just Stop Oil staged a protest at the Chelsea Flower Show on Thursday, throwing orange paint over a landscaped garden.

The Met Police said three protesters were arrested on suspicion of criminal damage in connection with the demonstration.

The powdered paint was thrown over the RBC Brewin Dolphin Garden at the flower show, as a wave of protests across London by the activist group entered its fifth week.

Here’s everything you need to know about the group and its latest tactics.

Why target Chelsea Flower Show?

The orange paint was thrown over the Brewin Dolphin Garden, curated by famous garden designer Paul Hervey-Brookes.

Brewin Dolphin is one of Britain’s biggest wealth management firms.

During the protest, the activists said they were targeting the garden to ask the visitors, exhibitors and the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) to “pick a side”.

Stephanie Golder, 35, a charity project co-ordinator from Southend who staged the protest, said: “Today I disrupted the Chelsea Flower Show to ask, the visitors, exhibitors and the RHS to pick a side; to stand for good over evil, life over death, right over wrong; to stand with the young and the billions of people in the Global South whose lives are being cut short by climate collapse.

“If you love gardens or growing food, you must join in civil resistance against new oil and gas.”

Another protester, Naomi Goddard, 58, a retired landscape architect from Hebden Bridge said: “What use is a garden when you can’t grow food?”

She said her hometown has flooded five times in the past eight years, with sewage water encroaching on people’s homes and destroying “carefully tended gardens”.

She added: “We all know that we can’t carry on like this. We can’t tend the garden and ignore the world on fire. New oil and gas will destroy everything we love.”

What is Just Stop Oil?

Just Stop Oil is an alliance of groups working together to lobby the Government to end all new licences for fossil fuels in the UK.

The coalition aims to raise awareness about the environmental impacts of fossil fuels and promote the transition towards cleaner and more sustainable energy sources.

It has launched a fresh wave of protests targeting London over the past five weeks, with slow marches across the capital six days a week since 24 April.

On Wednesday, six protesters were arrested on Marylebone Road, central London, the group said.

Just Stop Oil interrupted the World Snooker Championships at the Crucible last month by throwing orange paint across a snooker table.

Activists were also arrested and detained at the King’s coronation before even beginning a protest at the event.

What are the group’s aims?

The group is protesting against the Government’s decision to launch a new licensing oil and gas round, with fossil fuel companies submitting more than 100 licences to explore for new oil and gas. 

Last month, the High Court granted Greenpeace permission to proceed with a full Judicial Review of the decision.

Greenpeace is arguing the environmental effects of extracting new oil and gas should be taken into account.

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