Police arrest a Just Stop Oil protesters during a demonstration in central London, May 2023. EPA-EFE/ANDY RAIN


Just Stop Oil activists get taste of their own medicine


The radical activists behind UK-based Just Stop Oil are renowned for their disruptive methods and often draw public criticism. Now YouTube pranksters have hit back and disrupted one of the group’s own events.

The eco-extremists known for attacking valuable artworks and bringing traffic to a standstill to “wake up” the general population regarding climate change, had organised a community meal on July 23 at the Heritage and Arts Centre in Bow, East London.

The popular YouTube channel presenters Josh & Archie got wind of this and decided to give the radical greens a taste of their own medicine using their right to protest against Just Stop Oil.

The pranksters, Joshua Pieters and Archie Manners, infiltrated the venue with four sets of helium balloons, each with a highly irritating panic alarm attached. Once inside, they let the balloons go, which rose out of reach with the alarms blaring. The excruciating sound made any conversation in the room impossible.

Just Stop Oil activists were caught on camera attempting to catch the balloons on step-ladders in a bid to mute the alarms, while numerous eco-activists tried to talk to each other as they sat at extended banquet tables in the Heritage and Arts Centre venue.

The anti-Just Stop Oil protest was staged as a response to the growing unpopularity of the eco-activists. Manners told British media the final straw came after the group disrupted the World Snooker Championships.

“The one that really got me was the snooker – that was not an environmentally damaging activity, people had saved up quite a lot of money during the cost-of-living crisis and travelled to Sheffield [North England] to watch, and the entire day was ruined.

“Stopping mothers getting to hospital, or ruining people’s day out at the snooker isn’t doing anything to tackle climate change,” he said.

Just Stop Oil later published a video in which members are seen bursting the balloons and disarming the alarms. It said in a statement: “We thoroughly enjoyed Josh & Archie’s prank yesterday. Great action design – non-violent and ever so slightly disruptive.

“Their faith in democracy is touching, but the climate crisis needs urgent action today – we simply don’t have time to wait for a new government.”

The prank is not the first counter-protest against the Just Stop Oil radicals.

Last week, at another of the group’s planned blockades, Pieters and Manners organised “Just Stop Pissing People Off” action in retaliation. They rallied bystanders who stepped in and formed a human chain around the oil activists, thus blocking the “wannabe blockers”.