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'I’m here for my grandchildren': Two pensioners storm Wimbledon court to demand climate action

A Just Stop Oil protester sits on Court 18 on day three of the Wimbledon tennis championships in London.
A Just Stop Oil protester sits on Court 18 on day three of the Wimbledon tennis championships in London. Copyright AP Photo
Copyright AP Photo
By Ian Smith with AP
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Two protesters in their 60s stormed a Wimbledon court to demand the UK government halts all new licences and consents for oil, gas and coal.

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Two environmental activists have been arrested at Wimbledon on Wednesday after running onto one of the courts and disrupting a match by throwing orange confetti onto the grass.

The pair are from the group Just Stop Oil who are calling on the UK government to stop licensing all new oil, gas and coal projects.

Play was suspended by rain before the debris was cleared from the court.

“Following an incident on Court 18, two individuals have been arrested on suspicion of aggravated trespass and criminal damage and these individuals have now been removed from the grounds," the All England Club said in a statement.

“Play on the court was temporarily paused and, following a suspension in play due to a rain delay, play is about to resume.”

The activists ran onto the court during a match between three-time Grand Slam semi finalist Gregor Dimitrov of Bulgaria and Sho Shimabukuro of Japan.

One of the protesters, Deborah Wilde, a retired teacher from London, was carrying a jigsaw puzzle box of Centre Court, and pieces of the puzzle were tossed onto the grass along with the confetti.

“We’ve just had the hottest June on record, breaking the previous record by nearly a whole degree,” the 68 year-old says in a press release from Just Stop Oil.

“We don’t need Hawk-eye to see that our government issuing over 100 new fossil fuel licences is a very bad line-call.”

Simon Milner-Edwards, a retired musician from Manchester also took part.

“I’m here for my grandchildren and everybody else’s,” he says.

“I’m not prepared to let our politicians wreck everything and leave the next generation to pick up the pieces. The last thing I want to do is spoil people’s enjoyment of Wimbledon, but right now, on Centre Court, it’s humanity vs oil and gas- and the umpire is getting every call wrong.”

The Wimbledon Championships are currently under fire after signing a sponsorship deal with Barclays Bank, which has been accused of using the tournament as a means of greenwashing its reputation. Barclays gave $38 billion (€34.95 billion) to oil and gas companies, including Exxon Mobil, Shell and TotalEnergies, in the last two years.

Since the Paris Agreement came into effect in 2016 - binding countries to limit global heating - the world’s 60 largest banks have spent a staggering €4.9 trillion on fossil fuels.

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