Manchester University’s Alan Gilbert building painted orange by Just Stop Oil protesters
The protester was arrested shortly afterwards by Greater Manchester Police
The Alan Gilbert Learning Commons was spray painted by a member of the climate activist group Just Stop Oil this morning.
The protester, named by Just Stop Oil on twitter as Ruby Hamill, sprayed orange paint on the Oxford Road facing glass windows of the building, commonly referred to as the Ali G.
After spraying the orange paint using a fire extinguisher, 19-year-old-Ruby proceeded to spell out “Just Stop Oil” in paint across the building. As she was doing so, a chant of “Just stop oil” broke out amongst supporters.
Ruby was arrested shortly after at the scene. University staff have since cleaned the paint off the glass, which was cordoned off with police tape following the incident. A police presence continued at the scene afterwards.
Just Stop Oil also shared a video showing Ruby’s arrest where she is seen being carried away by Greater Manchester Police officers. Members of the crowd can be heard chanting as she is placed inside a police car, and then a van. The post also highlights the police presence, reporting that twenty officers arrived outside the learning commons, including armed police.
The protest has been anticipated around the university, and is part of a larger series of coordinated protests at universities around the country. Birmingham, Exeter, University College London, Sussex and Falmouth have all been previously hit. University of Cambridge and University of Leeds were also hit by Just Stop Oil protests today.
Just Stop Oil is demanding that the UK Government immediately halt planned new oil and gas projects and is calling on students and staff to march in London this November.
Speaking ahead of the action, Ruby explained her motivations: “I am taking action with Just Stop Oil to call out the hypocrisy of Manchester Uni, an academic institution which is fundamentally failing its students. Since 2022, it has taken £3,077,268 in funding from big oil and gas firms, which has been complicit in their greenwashing and perpetuating the disconnect to the fact we are around the corner from societal collapse.”
She continued by saying that “civil resistance is the only option for anyone who wants to come into any hope of averting mass extinction and complete collapse.”
A University spokesperson said: “We are aware of a protest carried out on our campus today as one of our buildings was vandalised with orange paint. Campus security and police attended to ensure safety and cleaning staff have removed the paint.
“While we respect the right to peaceful protest, within the law, we cannot tolerate vandalism and disruption affecting staff, students and visitors.
“We would like to state that we absolutely recognise the importance of tackling the climate crisis. In 2019 we declared our own climate emergency and have since committed to zero carbon in our own operations by 2038. We now have an updated environmental sustainability strategy and are investing tens of millions of pounds into this.
“Our wide ranging research activity across all aspects of the climate crisis is significant and world-leading. Much of this work is grouped under our sustainable futures platform.
“Our commitment to achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) is unmatched. The SDGs are the world’s call to action on the most pressing challenges and opportunities facing humanity and the natural world .We’re the only university in the world to rank in the top 10 in every year of the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings.”
The UK-wide protests come amid news this week that UK universities accepted almost £41m from fossil fuel companies since 2022, despite widespread pledges to divest from these industries. Members of Just Stop Oil have previously been seen handing out fliers, as well as hanging up posters around campus.
Related articles recommended by the writer:
- University College London’s iconic Portico pillars painted orange in Just Stop Oil protest
- University of Birmingham Main Library defaced with orange paint by Just Stop Oil protest
- Is YOUR uni next? All the uni campuses that Just Stop Oil has hit so far this week
Featured image via Just Stop Oil.