Extinction rebellion founder who dismissed the Holocaust as normal is planning new campaign

Roger Hallam sparked revulsion in 2019 when he dismissed the Holocaust as a “normal event"


A co-founder of Extinction Rebellion who was disowned by the group for offensive Holocaust comments is masterminding a civil disobedience campaign to cause chaos on Britain’s streets next month, the JC can reveal.

The group’s former leader, Roger Hallam, sparked revulsion in 2019 when he dismissed the Holocaust as a “normal event, just another human f***ery”.

In the fallout of his offensive comments, XR UK declared he “no longer has any formal role”. He was also condemned abroad.

Despite his apparent expulsion, in recent weeks Hallam has spoken at dozens of meetings across the country, the JC has learnt, recruiting a “direct action” force for a new campaign called Just Stop Oil, set for March.

The activists plan to blockade petrol stations, oil depots and refineries, with a potentially critical impact on national transport and energy supply.

At a meeting of XR Hastings and St Leonards on 10 January, he said: “We’re going to the Heart of Darkness. The terminals, the depots, the distribution centres. We are going to block them.

“We’re going to block them day after day. And we’re going to keep blocking them. And when they say to us, you’re going to go into prison for two years, like Priti Patel is going to say… we’re going to say, bring it on.”

At least 23 of the 71 Just Stop Oil meetings held to attract recruits for Mr Hallam’s campaign meetings were jointly organised by XR.

XR Hastings and St Leonards both publicised Mr Hallam’s speech on Facebook and posted it on its website.

Mr Hallam told his audience that they were “systematically being lied to” about the depth of the climate crisis, warning the world faced a rise of 7C in less than 20 years, so that “billions will starve to death”.

He added this would cause “mass rape, mass slaughter, mass starvation… the greatest catastrophe in the history of human rights”. The only answer, he said, was to “block the oil infrastructure of this country”.

Mr Hallam claimed he had 200 people standing by. “We’re going round every university, mobilising every university, going round every town in UK and mobilising every town… we’ve got hundreds of thousands of pounds coming in… I demand of you. Because you have no choice,” he said.

At these meetings, Mr Hallam distributes pledges that Just Stop Oil recruits are required to sign.

They state: “In signing this form, I pledge that I am prepared to engage in civil disobedience at the end of March 2022 and that I am willing to be arrested.”

An XR Germany spokesman said that by “belittling” the Holocaust in 2019, Mr Hallam “contravenes the principles of XR, which does not tolerate antisemitism, and he is no longer welcome”. The protest group’s international arm, XR Global Support, said that Mr Hallam’s remarks had “caused significant damage to our movement”.

Amid the furore, Mr Hallam tried to apologise, saying he accepted that the Holocaust had caused “unimaginable suffering”. But he went on to insist it was “happening again on a far greater scale” through the failure to curb emissions, claiming that governments were again “engaging in genocide”.

An XR spokeswoman told the JC: “We’re all part of the climate movement and so Roger is free to talk to us. But we are separate organisations.”

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