Annie was arrested at Oxford Circus during the 2019 April Rebellion. She pleaded guilty at City of London Magistrates’ Court on 9th August 2019 and was given a six month conditional discharge and £105 court costs.
“My court statement was a letter written by David Loyn, the BBC correspondent for the developing world, who spoke of my dedication to children, to art, to sustainable design and my integrity. The magistrate listened earnestly and then, to my incredible surprise, spent five minutes congratulating me on my integrity and for all my good work and for my courage at making a stand for this very important cause.
I have always been law abiding and the 18 hours I spent in the back of a van without water, standing on the ramp waiting to be processed and then hours in a police cell, were extremely traumatic. Then waiting for months for the trial and being told that the police were trying to bring charges of potential manslaughter against me was horrific.
I had been arrested on Maunday Thursday along with a 75-year old female priest. As we stood with our respective arresting officers, she said what a great spiritual privilege it was for us to be being imprisoned for trying to protect the planet that is beloved of God and on the very day when our Lord was taken to be crucified. I am a yogi, a practising Christian and have studied all world religions with great compassion my whole life. The experience was terrifying for me and I have been profoundly changed by my own actions.
I trusted implicitly the good of the government until that moment. I had heard Greta Thunberg asking we ‘adults’ to take responsibility. I also have completed the full certification for teaching yoga in military environments. I trained with the US military in Tampa, and worked with a colonel from the Pentagon and other traumatised special forces men and women as I was mentored by Annie Okerlin. I was hosting an ex-Vietnam veteran and a female colonel who wanted me to take them to the Changing of the Guard. While there we were swamped by thousands of young people marching towards Buckingham Palace in innocence and courage on the school strikes. My eyes poured with tears. I had tried so hard for my whole life to understand religious difference, to provide alternatives to consumerism, and here were these beautiful young people who were asking to be heard and are still not being looked after by the government.
We don’t have long before we in the UK will begin to experience more severe manifestations of climate change. For everyone to work together, the systems whereby we earn our living have to adapt to enable us to pay our way individually without supporting further degradation of the planet’s eco systems. In fact we need to reverse the damage. ONLY GOVERNMENT has the authority and they MUST develop a compassionate and dedicated vision and take all the action needed. That is why XR continues to have people throwing themselves, like moths to the flame, in the path of the law, and unfortunately alienating so many people who have been betrayed by successive governments who have not enabled the necessary changes.”