Police arrest dozens of protesters as Insulate Britain and Just Stop Oil eco zealots descend on Westminster as Met chief says road-blockers are not causing enough ‘serious disruption’ to be removed – but says officers must stop giving them ‘cups of tea’
- Insulate Britain blocked the route to Westminster as they attempted to disrupt Liz Truss’s trip to Parliament
- The 12th day saw at least 27 people arrested after eco-warriors blocked the roads around Parliament Square
- It came as Sir Mark Rowley said officers have to wait until protests are deemed to meet a legal threshold
- It was also reported that Sir Mark was told police officers were allegedly handing cups of tea to protesters
- Sir Mark said he was not aware adding: ‘I hope we’re not doing that, I agree with you it’s not our responsibility’
Police have arrested dozens of protesters after Insulate Britain and Just Stop Oil eco zealots descended on Westminster today.
Insulate Britain – who caused chaos for motorists last year – blocked the route to Westminster as they attempted to disrupt Prime Minister Liz Truss’s trip to Parliament.
In the 12th consecutive day of demonstrations, at least 27 people were arrested after eco-warriors blocked the roads around Parliament Square.
Met Police said they were all arrested for public order offences – including one who had to be carried down on a stretcher after he climbed on top of a police van.
It came as commissioner Sir Mark Rowley told the London Assembly Police and Crime Committee that officers have to wait until protests are deemed to meet a legal threshold of causing major disruption before they can be shut down.
His officers are in touch with Transport for London, local councils and the emergency services several times per day to check the level of disruption caused.
Sir Mark said: ‘Over the last 11 days, all of those partners have been of a view that it doesn’t cause serious disruption.’
He went on: ‘As soon as we have evidence of that serious disruption either being crossed as a line, or a good prospect of it being crossed, we’ll start being more assertive with our powers.’
So far there have been 338 arrests, mainly supporters of Just Stop Oil, but also a few of Animal Rebellion.
Sir Mark said: ‘This has been a really difficult operation over the 11 days so far. And it annoys me how much it’s taking away from policing local communities.
‘In 11 days we have put 2,156 officer days into doing this, so that’s a couple of hundred per day roughly.
‘That’s an enormous amount of policing resources that aren’t tackling issues that matter to local communities, aren’t dealing with knife crime, aren’t dealing with violence against women and girls.’
Susan Hall, the Conservative chairwoman of the committee, also claimed that police officers were allegedly handing cups of tea to protesters, The Times reported.
Sir Mark said he was not aware of that and added: ‘I hope we’re not doing that, I agree with you it’s not our responsibility.’
Activist from ‘Insulate Britain’ is tackled by a police officer after the group staged a sit down in Parliament Square in London
One protestor climbed on top of a police car and refused to climb down as Insulate Britain attempted to close down Parliament Square
The man held up a sign which said ‘I want to be able to say to my daughter that I did everything I could’ while police removed him
The demonstrator had to be removed by police with a stretcher and ropes and was one of at least 27 demonstrators arrested
The last protestor to be escorted away by police was climate activist Reverend Sue Parfitt, who has been involved in several other demonstrations
Police surrounded the dozens of protestors who blocked Parliament Square earlier today and staged another protest outside Downing Street
Metropolitan Police said the last protestors were cleared away from Parliament Square at 2pm today
A officer looks on as Insulate Britain activists block the road outside the Houses of Parliament during a protest in London
Insulate Britain have emerged from their hibernation to strike the capital in an unexpected demonstration this morning
Just Stop Oil Groups have asked people to join them in protest every day in the month of October in their big campaign
An Insulate Britain protester, whose group has done no activities all year, is carried by four police officers from the scene
Members of the media and public film as police detain a protester outside the Houses of Parliament earlier on today
Police stand next to Insulate Britain protestors as they block the middle of the road outside the Houses of Parliament
Getting stuck into it: Police wearing rubber gloves toil to try and foil the protesters’ tactics of gluing themselves to locations
One of the protesters is seen handcuffed by the police but seems so relaxed about it he has decided to have a lie down
OCTOBER 11, 2022: White van man ploughs through Just Stop Oil mob while taxi driver drags protesters off the road
An irate van driver forced his vehicle through a wall of Just Stop Oil in London as fed-up motorists ripped banners and dragged activists off the road by hand in extraordinary scenes.
The angry van driver was filmed slowly driving into the activists to make it through, forcing them to move away from his vehicle.
A man drags a Just Stop Oil protester from the road in Knightsbridge
A stuck Westminster City Council binman shouted: ‘You’ve got nothing better to do, get a job, you mugs, come on it’s enough, we’re just the f***ing workers, you clowns, f***ing idiots, you just sit there like a bunch of lemons.’
One taxi driver was filmed saying: ‘How do I pay my bills? I’ve got one of these, an electric taxi. I paid £70,000 for that. I’m doing my bit, so why do you stop me?’ The activist’s answer could not be heard, but the driver replied: ‘What you’re asking for is years and years and years away, it won’t happen overnight. How stupid are you?’
OCTOBER 7, 2022: Hero Selfridges shopper tries to stop Animal Rebellion protest
A Selfridges shopper had a go at stopping an Animal Rebellion protest after an activist was filmed pouring milk over the floor of the high-end London department store.
The onlooker could be seen during the video trying to block the protester as she walked away, catching her neck with his outstretched arm. The activists were then escorted to the exit by security staff.
The Animal Rebellion protesters carried out a milk-based demonstration at Selfridges on Oxford Street
The protest at Selfridges infuriated onlookers, with one person off-camera asking an employee: ‘Do you guys not intervene?’.
The member of staff replied: ‘We’re not allowed to.’
Another onlooker said: ‘F***ing ashamed of yourselves.’ As the activists finally started to leave the store, the man said: ‘Yeah, t*ss off, now. B***er off.’
JULY 1, 2022: Hero gallery worker who silence ranting eco-zealots glued to JMW Turner painting
A hero gallery worker silenced ranting eco-zealots after they glued themselves to a painting hung in Manchester Art Gallery.
A hero gallery worker silenced ranting eco-zealots after they glued themselves to a painting hung in Manchester Art Gallery
After dousing a hand each with glue, the two men from the campaign group Just Stop Oil wearing orange t-shirts with the words ‘Just Stop Oil’ written in black on their fronts both placed a hand on either side of the frame surrounding Thomson’s Aeolian Harp, a piece from 1809 by the English Romantic painter JMW Turner.
Spray painted on the floor read the words, ‘no new oil’.
A female member of staff at Manchester Art Gallery cut the protester short, saying: ‘I’m not interested. No. No. No. You’ve defaced our property…I don’t want to hear a word of what you’ve got to say.
‘So please, give us some respect by just keeping quiet…Let this be a silent protest.’
OCTOBER 13, 2021: School run mother who used her Range Rover to ‘nudge’ Insulate Britain eco-mob
Mother-of-two Sherrilyn Speid was on the school run in October last year when Insulate Britain zealots blocked the M25.
Infuriated, she used her £80,000 Range Rover to ‘nudge’ a protester.
But the 35-year-old, of Grays, Essex, became an unlikely hero after she was filmed losing her temper at the hardline tactics of the eco warriors who had spent weeks blocking roads.
Mother-of-two Sherrilyn Speid was on the school run in October last year when Insulate Britain zealots blocked the M25
Police said they had removed all of the protestors by early this afternoon, many of whom had glued themselves to the road.
The last protester, Reverend Sue Parfitt, 80, was removed at 2.07pm and traffic is now flowing freely past Parliament after the activists blocked two lanes of the road at 11.39am.
The activists were given safety goggles while a chemical solution was applied by officers to detach the glue.
Police were able to keep one lane of traffic open throughout the demonstration – timed to coincide with today’s PMQs – allowing drivers to continue towards Lambeth Bridge.
Yesterday in Knightsbridge, a woman with the activists said: ‘We’ve got eight years of reserves of oil already, we don’t need more, we don’t need to take more.’ But the man said: ‘Yeah, you can’t do this – and it doesn’t happen overnight, does it?’
After police had arrived on the scene, a police liaison officer told the group: ‘Are you intending to stay here until you get removed by officers and arrested?’ A woman replied: ‘Yes, or you can get them to stop new oil licences.’
The police officer calmly continued: ‘I can’t do anything about that, but what I can ask you to do is ask you to move out the road and protest in a more safe and appropriate location. Is anyone willing to do that?’
One man filmed another police officer as he confronted her about the protesters sat in the road. She told him: ‘I don’t appreciate you shouting at me right now.’ He replied: ‘I’m not shouting, no, we’re not going to do that, my love, please, handle your business, handle your business, my love.’ The officer replied: ‘We are, we’re here.’
The junction is a major traffic interchange for those driving in or out of Central London to and from the west of the city, and is located close to the Harrods department store, Knightsbridge Underground station and Hyde Park.
The van driver’s identity is not known, but his vehicle carried the branding of Archers, a design and manufacturing facility for signage based in Isleworth, West London. MailOnline has contacted the company for comment.
After ambulances and fire engines struggled to get through, Number 10 said any disruption to the emergency services’ work is ‘unacceptable’. The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: ‘These sorts of protests that disrupt peoples’ daily lives or, indeed, can stop our emergency services from potentially saving lives are unacceptable.
‘That’s why we’ve already toughened powers for the police, we’ve given them new powers to act and we are also taking further powers through the House at the moment to ensure they can go even further in preventing these individuals from disrupting peoples’ lives.’
Asked about the PM’s view on members of the people intervening to drag protesters off roads, he added: ‘We can understand the public’s frustration with their lives being disrupted in this way. But clearly it is for the police to respond in the first instance to these sorts of protests and this sort of disruption and that’s what we’d recommend.’
But Just Stop Oil – which normally has a policy of letting through the emergency services – also tweeted a video showing protesters moving out of the way of a fire engine, saying they had ‘paused’ the roadblock for the vehicle.
A London Fire Brigade spokesman said: ‘Crews were on their way to an automatic fire alarm sounding on Foley Street in Fitzrovia. Five fire engines were sent to the scene, with an appliance from Soho Fire Station the first to arrive. Firefighters investigated and found no fire.
‘An appliance from Kensington Fire Station was temporarily stopped by a road block and arrived within 14 minutes of being called. We work closely with our local authority and emergency service partners whenever there are road closure proposals to minimise impact on our service. However, given the nature of the event crews had no prior warning of the roadblock.’
Just Stop Oil put out a press release about the action this morning, quoting Holly Exley, 34, a freelance illustrator from Bristol, who said: ‘The reality is that there can be no new oil and gas if we want a safe future, but the UK government wants to extract and sell ‘every last drop’ from the North Sea.
‘Their plans will make climate breakdown, mass suffering and loss of life inevitable unless good people rise up and resist. Right now a very small group of people are making huge sacrifices, risking their wellbeing and their liberty to resist new oil and gas. It’s time for everyone to stand up and pick a side.’
Naomi Goddard, 58, a parish clerk from Hebden Bridge in West Yorkshire, said: ‘I work in a conservative, law-abiding profession so the decision to take direct action with Just Stop Oil was not an easy one.
‘The reality is that we have less than three years to avoid climate catastrophe, but our government is failing to act and now Liz Truss is planning to grant over 100 new fossil fuel licences rather than encouraging renewable energy.
‘I just couldn’t keep my eyes tight shut against what was happening any longer. I know that I risk losing my freedom, my job and my friends by doing this but I also know deep in my heart that taking action at this time is absolutely the right thing to do.’
Graham Lowe, 68, an artist and art tutor from Lancaster, said: ‘I have no choice but to resist, this government is once again putting profit before people.
‘After a summer of global drought, record temperatures and millions made homeless by unprecedented floods in Pakistan, we have to stand up to the government and say no to new fossil fuels. There is no greater threat to the wellbeing of billions of people than complacency at this time. ‘
And Kathy Dolan, 48, a council worker from Trafford in Greater Manchester, said: ‘I can’t stand by while our government chooses destructive self-interest over a liveable future, and, for the global south, a liveable present. We’re out of time. I will resist, my conscience won’t let me do anything else.’
A Just Stop oil spokesman said today: ‘This is not a one day event, this is an act of resistance against a criminal government and their genocidal death project.
‘Our supporters will be returning – today, tomorrow and the next day – and the next day after that – and every day until our demand is met: no new oil and gas in the UK.
‘We will not be intimidated by changes to the law, we will not be stopped by private injunctions sought to silence peaceful people. Our supporters understand that these are irrelevant when set against mass starvation, slaughter, the loss of our rights, freedoms and communities.’
It comes after about 25 activists were arrested by police yesterday following a blockade of The Mall outside Buckingham Palace, with the disruption lasting just over two hours before they were eventually all removed.
Police are unable to move protesters until they are judged to be causing ‘significant disruption’, a fine line that needs crossing
Insulate Britain spokesman Liam Norton can be seen being arrested by the police after the Insulate Britain protest today
What a carry-on! Police lift up this lady and take her to be put into a police van after she is arrested over the disruption
A large number of police officers could be seen lifting up one woman who had participated in the Insulate Britain demo
Members of the police detain a protester as Insulate Britain activists block the road outside the Houses of Parliament during a protest in London
Climate activists from Insulate Britain take part in a demonstration at the back of Downing Street on Horse Guards Parade
A man rips a Just Stop Oil banner away from protesters as they block a road in Knightsbridge in West London on Tuesday
Just Stop Oil protesters take to the streets of London yesterday morning as they block a road in exclusive Knightsbridge
Police officers take away a Just Stop Oil protester involved in the action at Knightsbridge in West London yesterday
TODAY — Police officers watch over Just Stop Oil protesters as they block a road in Knightsbridge in West London yesterday
Just Stop Oil protesters take to the streets of London yesterday as they block a road in exclusive Knightsbridge
A further eight protesters were arrested after carrying out sit-down protests outside Downing Street yesterday.
A Metropolitan Police spokesman said of the 33 people arrested: ‘All were arrested for wilful obstruction of the highway and have been taken to a number of custody suites where they remain at the moment.’
The protesters outside the royal residence, who had travelled from Scotland, said they felt the need to act after the UK Government gave its backing last month to an expansion of oil and gas operations in the North Sea.
The North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) is expected to undertake a new round of oil and gas licensing this month, but one of yesterday’s protesters described this ‘a death sentence for all of us here’.
YESTERDAY — Police officers remove a campaigner from a Just Stop Oil protest on The Mall near Buckingham Palace
OCTOBER 9 — Protesters block the road in a demonstration at Piccadilly Circus in London
OCTOBER 8 — A man is removed by police during a Just Stop Oil protest at Green Park
OCTOBER 7 — Just Stop Oil activists block Vauxhall Bridge Road in Central London last week
OCTOBER 6 — Just Stop Oil activists at Trafalgar Square in London as their protests continue
OCTOBER 5 — Police speak to Just Stop Oil protesters block a road leading into Westminster
OCTOBER 4 — Climate activists from Just Stop Oil block the roads around Parliament Square
OCTOBER 3 — Police try to move Just Stop Oil protesters blocking roads in Trafalgar Square
OCTOBER 2 — Police watch as Just Stop Oil of protesters occupy Waterloo Bridge in London
OCTOBER 1 — Activists occupy Parliament Square as Just Stop Oil carry out more protests
However Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said the licensing could lead to more than 100 new licences being granted, which he claimed could ‘safeguard’ UK energy supplies and support more than 70,000 jobs in Scotland.
A Government spokesman said: ‘We remain fully committed to reaching net zero by 2050 and the UK is forging ahead of many other countries on net zero – with 40 per cent of our power now coming from cleaner and cheaper renewable sources.
‘But with Russia weaponising energy across Europe, we must make sure we do so in a way that protects energy security, by boosting homegrown energy supply and reducing our dependence on foreign imports.
‘This includes increasing domestic gas supply, which we’ve always been clear will have a role in our transition to net zero. But we will also continue to drive forward our commitments on nuclear and renewables like offshore wind.’
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