Insulate Britain blocks three London roads in renewed campaign
More than 60 environmental activists obstruct traffic across financial district in central London
Protesters from Insulate Britain have blocked roads in three locations in London, as the climate activist group returned to the streets after a 10-day pause in its campaign.
More than 60 protesters blocked junctions at the north end of Southwark Bridge, Bishopsgate and the Limehouse Causeway, the 14th time they have staged protests since mid-September.
The Metropolitan police said officers responded alongside colleagues from the City of London force at all three locations. Fifty-two people had been arrested in connection with the protests, the force said.
One group of protesters walked into the road at Southwark Bridge just after 8am. A driver refused to stop for the protest and inched his car towards a small group blocking the bridge’s northbound exit.
One of those blocking the road, Louise Lancaster, 56, from Cambridge, said: “We wouldn’t be here if the government was doing what they need to do to protect the people of this country. I don’t want to be sitting here blocking this man … [but] we can’t let this drop because it’s so urgent we protect people.”
Eventually the driver got out and, with the help of some passersby, was able to make enough space for his vehicle to get past by dragging Lancaster and her fellow protesters from the road. However, unlike in previous Insulate Britain actions, there was little violence against the participants at Southwark Bridge.
Janer Djafer, 61, a lorry driver, was standing outside his vehicle watching the protesters. He said they were stopping him from unloading in a nearby recycling depot.
“I’m disgusted,” he said. “All we are trying to do is provide a service to keep London moving.”
In a statement coinciding with the start of the protest, Insulate Britain said it would not “stand by while the government kills our kids”.
A spokesperson, Liam Norton, said: “We know that the public is frustrated and annoyed at the disruption we have caused. They should know that one way or another this country will have to stop emitting carbon.
“We can do that now in an orderly, planned way, insulating homes and preventing thousands of deaths from fuel poverty or we can wait until millions have lost their homes and are fighting for water or starving to death.”
When officers from the City of London police arrived at Southwark Bridge, about half an hour after the protest began, activists glued their hands to the road. Specialist officers used solvents to unstick them, finger by finger, before taking them away.
Insulate Britain has vowed to carry on its campaign of disruptive protests on roads in and around London until the government “gets on with the job of insulating Britain’s homes”, or they are all thrown in jail. According to the last estimate given by the group, 124 of its members have been arrested 629 times. However, none have been held on remand for more than a week.
The government has responded by taking out injunctions banning them from protesting on the M25, around the port of Dover and on critical London roads.
On Saturday, the transport secretary said the government was preparing to take some protesters to court “for dangerous and self-defeating action along the M25”.
“They now face potential prison time,” Grant Shapps said.