COP27: Activist Licypriya Kangujam confronts the UK Energy Secretary over the arrest of protesters

  • Indian climate activist Lisiberia Kangujam speaks with UK Energy Secretary Zack Goldsmith.
  • The 11-year-old asked Goldsmith when the British activists would be released.
  • Just Stop Oil says 35 of its activists are on remand or serving sentences.
An eleven-year-old Indian climate activist has confronted UK Energy Secretary Zack Goldsmith over the arrest of protesters demonstrating against new oil and gas licences.
Licpriya Kangujam was filmed repeatedly asking Mr Goldsmith when protesters at the COP27 climate conference in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt on Monday would be released.
“The government is putting them in jail for protesting the new oil and gas. When are you going to release them?” she said in the video, which was posted to Twitter.
Goldsmith’s staff led him away and forbade Kangujam to ask any more questions.
UK climate activists blocked highways and spray-painted buildings and .
Activist group Just Stop Oil said 35 of its supporters are in prison, on remand or serving sentences for demonstrating against new oil and gas licences.

The Guardian reported in September that some protesters had been held in pre-trial detention for up to six months before being brought to court.

Ms Kangujam said the British energy secretary claimed he “knew nothing” about the arrests.
“Climate activists should not be arrested for peacefully protesting, nor can he do anything. But I want to ask him why is he a minister if he can’t do anything, why is he in COP27?” She said.
The young activist explained that measures such as blocking roads were “the last available option” for the demonstrators.

“This is not fair, this is not acceptable, climate activists do not do any violence or anything like that,” Kangojam said.

“Don’t call me Indian Greta Thunberg”

Indian climate activist Lisiberia Kanujam and Swedish activist Greta Thunberg hold a banner addressed to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at COP25 in Madrid, Spain in 2019. attributed to him: Twitter @LicypriyaK

Kangogam, who is from Manipur in northeastern India, said she was inspired to take action on climate change after Cyclone Titli in 2018 and Cyclone Fani in 2019 caused death and destruction in India.

“So many people were made homeless, so many homes were destroyed, so I was so worried about the kids, the innocent people losing their lives, and my mind was thinking about everything, like they were suffering from all these environmental issues,” she said.
Ms. Kangogam moved to New Delhi in 2019, when she was seven years old, and began standing outside India’s parliament building, urging Prime Minister Narendra Modi to pass climate change law in India.

“My life was completely turbulent due to the high level of air pollution and the heat wave crisis, so incidents like this in my life turned me into a child climate activist,” she said.

She has often been likened to Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, whom she met at COP25 in Madrid in 2019.
“If you call me ‘Greta India’, she wrote on Twitter in 2020, you are not covering my story. You are deleting a story.”

“I have my own identity and my own story. I started my movement since July 2018, even before Greta did.”

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