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What's next for Just Stop Oil? Activists target unis after key backer says protests 'counterproductive'

Dale Vince, who has given Just Stop Oil over £340,000, has withdrawn his support for the group. But they're not deterred, and are stepping up the disruption this autumn

Students on campuses across the country are seeing their lecture buildings redecorated as term gets into full swing. Image: Just Stop Oil

A key financial backer of Just Stop Oil has distanced himself from the group, raising questions over what’s next for the orange-clad disruptors.

Dale Vince, who contributed more than £340,000 to the group, said further protests would be “counterproductive” to stopping oil and launched a new campaign encouraging people to vote.

But Just Stop Oil are likely to continue on their current course, says Peter Gardner, a lecturer in sociology at the University of York who specialises in social movements.

“There are no signs at the moment that JSO would move toward political mainstreaming,” he said.

Although the group thanked Vince and wished him well, Gardner said there was in fact some unease over the announcement.

“They were particularly disappointed that his move was so easily used as an anti-JSO attack line in the media,” he added.

Undeterred, the group has launched a new campaign targeting universities. Students at Exeter, Oxford, and Bristol have seen their campus buildings painted orange over the past week as part of the wave of “student resistance”.

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It’s a bid to mobilise university students, with Just Stop Oil asking staff and students to join them and march in London in November.

Activists also interrupted the end of a West End performance of Les Miserables – as The Big Issue explored here, it plays into the activists’ strategy of attracting publicity with little regard for popularity.

An “unprecedented scale” of slow marching is also on the cards from the end of October.

“We will be marching peacefully to demand no new oil, gas or coal,” Just Stop Oil sats on its website.

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“As the disruptions grows what will the Government do? Concede to our demand, or crack down and arrest us all?”

Meanwhile, anyone watching Keir Starmer’s speech at the Labour Party Conference will have seen the launch of a fresh pressure group, linked to and pushed by Just Stop Oil: People Demand Democracy.

An activist from the group sprinkled Starmer with glitter, shouting demands for a “People’s House.”

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