Christian climate activists jailed after gluing themselves to courtroom furniture

Rev Tim Hewes and Ben Buse outside the City of London Magistrates' Court

Christian activists have been jailed after they glued themselves to courtroom furniture in protest against inaction on climate change. 

Rev Tim Hewes, Ben Buse, Rev Sue Parfitt and Ruth Jarman staged the stunt at the City of London Magistrates' Court during hearings over charges relating to their participation in an Extinction Rebllion protest in September 2020.

The four are all members of Christian Climate Action, which said they had staged the courtroom protest because of the court's apparent "complicity" with the government in failing to act on climate change. 

Rev Hewes and Mr Buse were jailed for 14 days, while Rev Parfitt, who is 79, and Ms Jarman were later released under investigation.

Speaking in court, Mr Buse said that "time has run out".

"The earth is dying, species are dying, island states, livelihoods and cultures are dying, the coral reefs are dying," he said.

"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." 

He then asked the court: "What are you doing prosecuting the protestors as the world is dying?"

"Suppressing the voices that cry stop – as we destroy the world," he said.

"We praise the suffragettes, Gandhi and Martin Luther King, for the good they won through protest, and yet we are prosecuting those protesting now."

He added: "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 Hewes said: "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 our food 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 is 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."