Arrested twice, retired surgeon from Sheffield to keep fighting against climate change

Despite being behind bars twice for taking part in massive protests against climate change, a retired surgeon from Sheffield is determined to protest further.

Monday, 28th October 2019, 12:16 pm
A retired surgeon from Sheffield, James Hall at the London Magistrates Court last Friday.

Last Friday, James Hall of Bents Green was ordered to pay £105 by City of London magistrates court after pleading guilty to a public order offence in a climate change protest by Extinction Rebellion that brought central London to a standstill last April.

And in another massive protests in the major city that took place in October, the 52-year-old was among the early ones to be arrested.

“I most certainly will be protesting further,” he said, adding that he had spent five days at the London’s October protests.

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The environmental activist said he was first arrested on April 25, the final day of the mass protests in London.

“I was duly attested on April 25 for declining to move from where I was sitting amongst other rebels in the middle of the road near the Bank of England.

“A Section 14 control order was in place at the time. I spent about eight hours in custody, which having never been inside a police cell before, was a very salutary experience.

“A letter actually charging me with the offence arrived about three weeks ago, stating I must attend City of London magistrates court on October 25,” he said.

On April 15, the major city saw the start of 10-day massive protests by Extinction Rebellion in several prominent sites in central London, demanding the government take urgent action in addressing climate emergency.

It had another wave of protests on October 7 that went on for two weeks, which also saw one of the biggest crackdowns by the police.

Mr Hall said he took the decision to take part in the final day of the protests in April after having become “increasingly motivated” by the media coverage.

“I'd been feeling increasingly anxious about the climate breakdown we are experiencing, particularly with regard to the pressure this is putting on the world's wildlife and ecosystems.

“Taking part in the demonstrations and road swarming was very exciting and it felt great to actually doing something. I'd decided before I left Sheffield the day before that I'd probably ensure I was arrested.”

In his mitigation statement to the court, Mr Hall said: “It is only by the public demanding change and putting our politicians on a burning platform that the Government will start to properly fulfill its duties of protecting the citizens on the UK, the citizens of the world and most importantly minimise the widespread ecosystem destruction and extinctions that climate breakdown is causing.

“It is a regretful recognition of how desperate the need to help educate the masses and instigate far-reaching changes has become that previously clean living, peaceful and law abiding citizens such as myself are having to resort to non-violent civil disobedience and getting arrested.”