Just Stop Oil has interrupted and disrupted a Tekken 7 tournament by storming the stage and spraying paint on equipment.

A Tekken tournament has been interrupted and forced to temporarily suspend play as protestors took to the stage during a match. The Tekken UK & IRE Championships at EGX 2023 were interrupted as protestors from environmental group Just Stop Oil stormed the stage, sprayed orange paint on equipment and competitors, before being escorted out by event security.

The protest, which occurred during a match between Hasan "JoKa" Rehman and Kane "KaneAndTrench" Heartfield, was captured both on stream and by the Just Stop Oil protestors’ own recording. 

The Twitch stream covering the event also caught the dramatic moment the game was interrupted. But as the protestors jumped on stage, the competitors continued playing, and only after security and referees stepped in, did the competitors pause so things could be resolved.

It is understood that the protestors had attended the EGX 2023 event in London dressed in Ghostbusters costumes. Three of the protestors removed their costumes and sprayed down screens and equipment with orange paint using super-soaker style water guns, while a fourth filmed the protest.

All four were eventually removed from EGX by security. JoKa would go on to win the tournament, defeating Richie "Ayorichie" Olusanya in the finals.

Gaming community unfazed by Just Stop Oil protest

(Image via Hassan "Spag" Farooq)
(Image via Hassan "Spag" Farooq)

In the wake of the protest, footage of which was posted online in the minutes after the event by Just Stop Oil, reactions by the gaming community were not supportive. In the replies to the post there’s a near universal condemnation. 

UK Rocket League player Evie "Slumpii" Leonard best encapsulated the feelings in her response to the protest: “Why did you target a gaming event where most people are young, very liberal, and on your side? Bad call. Piss off the government and big corporations, get them to do something. Don't go for gamers and piss everyday people off.”

Just Stop Oil is the environmental organization whose stated goal is to force the British government to commit to ending the use of fossil fuels in the country. They are most well known for gluing themselves to famous paintings. In 2022, a pair of Just Stop Oil protestors glued themselves to the frame of John Constable’s The Hay Wain, but there have been over a dozen instances of the group conducting similar attacks. In October 2022, the group vandalized Van Gogh’s Sunflowers at the National Gallery in London, splattering the artwork with tomato soup.

Their acts of disruption and vandalism are part of a growing trend of protests that attempt to garner attention, and often outrage, at any cost. Similar movements have seen protestors blocking traffic, walking slowly on sidewalks, and other disruptive methods of protests. Their reasoning often points to the ineffectiveness of conventional protests, and the dramatic effect that these headline-grabbing antics have on public consciousness. 

Criticism of the methods point to the idea that the people and objects these protests effect are unable to actually affect real change themselves. Others suggest that this is merely an evolution of traditional protest methods, such as the sit-in protest which was an effective and notable weapon in the Civil Rights Movement in the US and student protests of the 1960s.

Ultimately, regardless of feelings on the protest, Just Stop Oil got the attention of the UK Tekken scene, for better or worse. Whether they’ll garner any support after their actions remains to be seen.

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