Family of jailed activist who blockaded the M25 raise more than £8,500

Family of jailed Insulate Britain activist who blockaded the M25 raise more than £8,500 to cover his £700-a-month rent while he’s behind bars (but he might be out in two months)

  • Oliver Rock is among 9 Insulate Britain activists jailed after blockading the M25
  • Rock, 41, was sentenced to four months in prison with a two-month minimum 
  • His family have appealed for help to cover his £700-a-month rent  
  • Their target has since been exceeded, raising more than £8,500

The family of a jailed Insulate Britain activist who blockaded the M25 in defiance of a High Court injunction have raised more than £8,500 to cover his rent.

Oliver Rock, a self-employed carpenter from Berkshire, was among nine protesters who were sent to prison after blocking the motorway with the Extinction Rebellion offshoot group on October 8.

The 41-year-old was on November 17 sentenced to four months in prison, but with a minimum term of two months.  

Rock’s family appealed for help to cover his £700 per month rent and help him ‘get back on his feet’ after he rejoins society.

Their target has since been exceeded, raising more than £8,500, with donations ranging from £1 to £2,000 from an anonymous donor.

The activist’s sister, Isabel Rock, said the fundraiser had ‘exceeded my wildest expectations’, with donations flooding in over the last two days. 

Oliver Rock was jailed for four months for being one of nine campaigners from the Extinction Rebellion offshoot group who took part in a protest on the M25 on October 8 

Rock, pictured right, was jailed last Wednesday at the High Court in central London

Pictured: Police remove Inslulate Britain protestors who were blocking a major roundabout near Heathrow Airport on September 27

Rock’s family appealed for help to cover his £700 per month rent and help him ‘get back on his feet’ after his prison term. Their target has since been exceeded, raising more than £8,500, with donations ranging from £1 to £2,000 from an anonymous donor

Writing on the fundraising page, Ms Rock said she is ‘so proud’ of her brother and described him as ‘kind hearted, generous and morally upstanding’.

She added: ‘Olly acted to protect the most vulnerable in society and for this he is being punished.

‘The Government would rather send peaceful protesters to prison than act to insulate homes and mitigate the effects of the climate crisis that we are in.’

Insulate Britain began a wave of protests in September, blocking the M25, other roads in London including around Parliament, roads in Birmingham and Manchester, and near the Port of Dover in Kent. 

So far, 161 people have been involved in Insulate Britain’s roadblock campaign and there have been more than 800 arrests.

Before his sentence, Oliver Rock had admitted he was ‘c**pping himself’ about going to jail. 

He said that after feeling ‘depressed’ that the 2003 march to stop the Iraq War had failed, he was inspired to take up more extreme tactics, in collaboration with Extinction Rebellion, which he joined in 2019. 

Rock told the court he only earned about £10,000 a year, often making ‘small stage sets’.

Rock (bottom right) poses with eight other Insulate Britain eco-zealots outside the High Court

Nine Insulate Britain demonstrators were jailed at the High Court after admitting breaching an injunction on protesting

He was among nine protesters sentenced at the High Court after admitting breaching an injunction by taking part in a blockade at junction 25 of the M25 during the morning rush-hour on October 8.

Ana Heyatawin, 58, and Louis McKechnie, 20, were jailed for three months while Ben Buse, 36, Roman Paluch-Machnik, 28, Oliver Rock, 41, Emma Smart, 44, Tim Speers, 36, and James Thomas, 47, received four-month sentences.

Ben Taylor, 37, was given a longer sentence of six months ‘to deter (him) from committing further breaches’ after his submissions to the court on Tuesday were described by Dame Victoria Sharp as ‘inflammatory’ and a ‘call to arms’. 

The judge, sitting with Mr Justice Chamberlain, said there was no alternative to custodial sentences given that the group’s actions were so serious and they had made it clear they intended to further flout court orders.

Miss Rock had previously said that her brother was trying to ‘protect the most vulnerable in society’ while helping to grind the nation’s roads to a standstill.

She said: ‘Britain is one of the richest countries in the world, yet 8,500 people will die from cold in their homes this winter. An estimated three million are living in fuel poverty which affects around 5million children.

‘Many of these people face a daily choice between heating and eating.

‘I’m so proud of my brave brother for standing up for the most vulnerable in society and trying to instigate some kind of change. If you can help out with any kind of donation we would be so grateful.’ 

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