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Climate activists target Magna Carta during protest at British Library

Two climate protesters smashed the glass around Magna Carta as they called on the UK government to commit to contingency plans.

Just Stop Oil campaigners were pictured on Friday morning hammering away at the protective glass around the 13th century document at the British Library.

The Reverend Dr Sue Parfitt, 82, an active Anglican priest, author and retired psychotherapist from Bristol, and Judy Bruce, 85, a retired biology teacher from Swansea, then locked necks.

The two men held signs that read “The government is breaking the law” and could be heard saying, “Is the government above the law?”

The “Magnifica Charter” constitutes an essential foundation of the contemporary powers of Parliament.

Just Stop Oil campaigners were pictured hammering away at the protective glass around the 13th century document. (Just stop oil)

Ms Parfitt said: “The Magna Carta is rightly revered because it is of great importance to our history, to our freedoms and to our laws. But there will be no freedom, no legality, no rights if we let climate change become the catastrophe that is threatened today.”

“Things have to be proportionate. The abundance of life on earth, the climatic stability that allows civilization to endure are what must be revered and protected above all else, even above our most precious artifacts.

A Metropolitan Police spokesperson said: “At 10.52am police were called to the British Library following reports that Just Stop Oil activists were attempting to damage the Magna Carta.

“Police officers have arrested two people on suspicion of criminal damage, both of whom are currently in custody. The damage caused was to the protective case and not to the exhibit itself.

The group is calling on the UK government to commit to implementing an emergency plan to end the extraction and burning of oil, gas and coal by 2030.

Just Stop Oil said Friday’s action coincided with the government’s climate policy being found unlawful for the second time by the UK High Court this week.

This decision was made because there is insufficient evidence that sufficient policies are in place to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Energy Secretary Claire Coutinho will now have to draw up a revised plan within 12 months to ensure the UK meets its legally binding carbon budgets and commitment to cut emissions by more than two thirds by 2030 .

Climate campaigners also added that they took action after the North Sea Transition Authority announced the offering of 31 new oil and gas licenses as part of the 33rd oil and gas licensing round .

A spokesperson for Just Stop Oil said: “Clause 39 of the Magna Carta is one of four clauses still enshrined in British common law, a so-called ‘golden passage’, which states: ‘No free man should not be arrested or imprisoned. or otherwise ruined, except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land.

“Unlike civil law as it exists in 2024, where corporations buy private laws in the form of injunctions that circumvent citizens’ rights to a jury trial for exposing oil company crimes.”

Earlier this week, a poll of hundreds of leading climate scientists found that 77% believed global temperatures would reach 2.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

Additionally, 43 percent think it will be above 3°C.

It is the greatest threat humanity has faced, with the potential to destroy our social fabric and way of life. It has the potential to kill millions, if not billions, through famine, resource wars and population displacement,” said James Renwick of Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.

Protester Ms Bruce said: “This week, 400 respected scientists contributing to the IPCC reports say we are ‘woefully unprepared’ for what is coming: 2.5 degrees or more of warming above pre-industrial levels. »

“Instead of taking action, our dysfunctional government is like the three monkeys: ‘see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil – act like we’re 25 years old.’ This is not the case ! We must rid ourselves of our dependence on oil and gas by 2030 – and now.”