Eloise Jones, 45, social worker from Reading

Eloise was arrested under Section 14 of the Public Order Act during the April Rebellion in 2019. She pleaded guilty on 4th October 2019 at City of London Magistrates’ Court and was given a six month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £105 court costs.

Eloise’s Court Statement

“I consider myself a law-abiding citizen and a good mother of school age children with serious cause for concern for their future. In my working life I am a conscientious public servant. I work in the field of human rights and social justice and I advocate for the most vulnerable in our society. These are issues which I care about deeply.

The increasing damage to our natural world has been talked about for many years. I have signed petitions, shared articles on social media and been involved with tree planting campaigns.

In February of this year, I attended an Extinction Rebellion talk on the science behind climate change. There, I learnt that we face a present and immediate threat, of societal collapse and mass starvation, and that this is already happening to people across the Global South as a direct result of climate change.

The scale of the emergency presented to me at this talk shocked me, but I was not prepared to accept it at face value, so I read up on it further, focusing on peer-reviewed scientific papers. But the message was the same: our continuing poor choices are now seriously damaging our climate, water, soil, air, and the rest of nature that we are entirely dependent upon – huge numbers of people are already dying and displaced. These effects are coming here, and I am very aware that the most vulnerable in our communities will be the first to suffer.

“Taking a stand at the Rebellion in April was an extremely difficult choice, but I felt it was the only way to get the action required in this small window of time that we have.”

These issues have been brought to the attention of government through decades of lobbying, yet they not only fail to act, but commit to new and aggressive projects of devastation and pollution, including the expansion of Heathrow, HS2 and fracking. I feel this is an act of wilful neglect by our government and it is clear they are no longer protecting citizens but protecting the interests of big business.

This is why this issue is beyond politics. The Extinction Rebellion demands, including the appointment of a citizens’ assembly is, I feel, really our only hope.

Taking a stand at the Rebellion in April was an extremely difficult choice for me. I knew that the event would be non-violent and peaceful, but I did not want to cause disruption and I acknowledge that this made some people’s lives difficult. I did not want to ignore the police officers, who I respected were doing a difficult job during the hottest Easter on record. I did not want to be carried by the police, held in a police van, my finger prints and DNA taken and locked in a cell. But to me, in the face of this crisis, I felt it was the only possible way of raising the alarm; to get the message out there and to get the action required in this small window of time that we have.

Within a week of the protests, a motion was put forward and Parliament declared a climate and ecological emergency. The climate crisis has also been virtually a daily topic in the press since this time and I am proud of the part I played in helping this happen.”

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