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“Five Arrested After Blockbuster Musical ‘Les Mis’ Disrupted By Just Stop Oil Protestors in London

Five people have been arrested after a group of environmental activists disrupted a performance of the musical Les Miserables in London’s West End. The protest, organized by Just Stop Oil, was intended to highlight alleged links between the show’s sponsors and the Canadian oil industry. At around 6.30 PM on January 20th, protesters wearing Just Stop Oil t-shirts and banners took to the stage of the Queen’s Theatre to call attention to the show’s corporate ties. The activists were protesting against the production’s links to Alberta-based company, Suncor, as well as the larger fossil fuel industry’s role in causing climate change and other ecological disasters. According to Just Stop Oil’s official website, the protest aimed to “halt this dangerous alliance between the entertainment industry and companies profiting from destructive oil production”. During the protest, one protester stood at the front of the stage while the other activists played a recording of the “Les Miserables” score with a spoken message over the top. The recording ended in a call out for all the theatre — and the production’s sponsors — to stop investing in oil. Before the start of the musical’s second act, audience members began to detain four of the protesters, with police officers arriving soon after. The fifth protester managed to escape the scene, but was later apprehended and taken into custody. The Les Miserables incident is just the latest example of how environmental activists are using performance protests to draw attention to the destructive nature of the oil industry and its links to entertainment and corporate sponsorships. The five arrested activists are due to appear in court later this year; the outcome of the case will likely go some way to determining whether such methods of protest will become more commonplace in future.

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