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Insulate Britain are BACK: Eco-protestors bring M25 to a halt

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Insulate Britain eco-zealots were dragged away by irate motorists today as some threatened to run them over during yet another road-blocking protest, with 40 of the activists bringing further misery.

The demonstrators ran out onto the road by traffic lights at junction 31 of the motorway near Thurrock on the north side of the Dartford Crossing which links Essex to Kent, and also near a nearby industrial estate.

But motorists got out of their cars and dragged the protesters off the road while they were still in a seated position, with one man seen ripping banners out of their hands. Essex Police have made 16 arrests so far.

A lorry driver was filmed taking his vehicle right up to the protests; one man dragged an activist onto the pavement by his backpack; and a mother taking her 11-year-old son to school shouted at them to leave the road. 

She said: ‘Out of the way, move out of the way now. ‘You’re taking the f***ing p**s. My son needs to get to school, I don’t care what the f***ing issue is. My son is 11, he needs to get to school today, so move out the way and let me get my son to school. Do you think I care? I’ll drive through you. You f***ing… I’ll drive straight through you.’

A woman nearby is heard saying ‘careful, careful, careful’, another man is heard pleading with her ‘don’t, don’t, don’t’ – and a protester says: ‘Are you going to kill us, are you going to kill us to get your son to school?’

Near the industrial estate, around 20 protesters blocked the junction to St Clements Way and London Road, in Thurrock, forcing multiple vehicles including HGVs to stop and turn round, with vehicles blasting their horns.

Motorists got out of their cars to confront protesters, who lay down in the roads in front of them. Some were physically dragged out of the road but immediately returned, only to be dragged away again by the drivers. 

While Essex Police responded swiftly to the M25 element of the protest within five minutes and kept one lane open, there was criticism of their slower response to the industrial estate which was labelled ‘shameful’. Reporters at the scene claimed there was no sign of police at least 40 minutes later as motorists continued to face delays.

The group, an offshoot of Extinction Rebellion, said it was the 13th time that its activists had caused disruption on motorways or A roads over the past four weeks – and their protests continued despite a series of injunctions.  

The demonstrators caused chaos at junction 31 of the motorway near Thurrock and near a nearby industrial estate today

The demonstrators caused chaos at junction 31 of the motorway near Thurrock and near a nearby industrial estate today

A lorry driver was filmed taking his vehicle right up to the protesters sat on the road in Thurrock, Essex, this morning

A lorry driver was filmed taking his vehicle right up to the protesters sat on the road in Thurrock, Essex, this morning

Motorists got out of their cars and dragged the protesters off the road at Thurrock today

Motorists got out of their cars and dragged the protesters off the road at Thurrock today

A motorist drags an Insulate Britain protester from the road in Thurrock this morning

A motorist drags an Insulate Britain protester from the road in Thurrock this morning

Police officers remove Insulate Britain activists as they block junction 31 of the M25 today

Police officers remove Insulate Britain activists as they block junction 31 of the M25 today

Retired vicar Reverend Sue Parfitt - a regular Insulate Britain - is among those being arrested at junction 31 of the M25 today

Retired vicar Reverend Sue Parfitt – a regular Insulate Britain – is among those being arrested at junction 31 of the M25 today

Police remove Insulate Britain activists as they block junction 31 of the M25 this morning

Police remove Insulate Britain activists as they block junction 31 of the M25 this morning

Police officers carry away a man as Insulate Britain activists block the M25 slip road today

Police officers carry away a man as Insulate Britain activists block the M25 slip road today

Police officers detain Insulate Britain activists blocking a roundabout on the M25 this morning

Police officers detain Insulate Britain activists blocking a roundabout on the M25 this morning

Police officers detain a man as Insulate Britain activists block a roundabout at junction 31 on the M25 motorway today

Police officers detain a man as Insulate Britain activists block a roundabout at junction 31 on the M25 motorway today

A mother taking her 11-year-old son to school shouted at the activists to leave the road today

A mother taking her 11-year-old son to school shouted at the activists to leave the road today

One man called the activists a ‘bunch of f***ing a***holes’, according to LBC, while another said: ‘This is not helping. This is going to gridlock the whole area. You’ve made your point. 

‘My business is on its knees – we’ve got massive haulage problems in the UK. Look at my warehouse there – how am I going to insulate that?’

Insulate Britain: How activists have made a mockery of the law

September 13 – 78 Insulate Britain protesters arrested after blocking junctions 3, 6, 14, 20 and 31 of the M25

September 15 – More than 50 protesters arrested after targeting junctions 1, 8, 9 and 23 of the M25

September 17 – 48 protesters arrested after targeting junctions 3, 9 and 28 of the M25, as well as the M3

September 20 – 29 protesters are arrested after blocking the M25 at junctions 4 and 18, as well as the A1

September 21 – Protesters risk death by running into moving traffic to block the carriageway near Junction 10. Some 38 arrests are made. National Highways obtains an injunction against further protests on the M25

September 22 – Protesters burn copies of the injunction outside the Home Office, blocking the road outside the ministry. No arrests are made

September 24 – 39 protesters arrested after blocking roads at three locations in Dover. They are all released under investigation. National Highways obtains a second injunction covering Dover.

September 27 – 53 protesters are arrested for blocking a slip road at Junction 14 of the M25. They are all released under investigation.

September 28 – National Highways says it is taking ‘legal advice’ over how to enforce its injunction

September 29 – 27 protesters are arrested for blocking a roundabout at Junction 3 of the M25 on two occasions

September 30 – Protesters return to junction 30 at Thurrock in Essex, and nine are arrested

October 1: The group block the M4 at junction 3, the M1 at junction 1 and M25 at junction 25. Some 39 arrests

October 2: Third injunction bans them from obstructing traffic and access to motorways and major A roads in and around London 

October 4: 38 arrests after protesters block three major roads in London – the Blackwall Tunnel, Wandsworth Bridge and A40 and North Circular at Hanger Lane. 

October 8: 19 arrested over protest at Old Street roundabout and a further 16 on the M25 at junction 24. Transport for London gets a High Court injunction to ban them from obstructing traffic in 14 locations in London.

October 13: Protesters return to the M25 at junction 31. The arrests total is to be confirmed – figure so far is 16.

And a motorist told LBC: ‘I’ve lost my job interview because of these lot here, for a skip driver. I’m a HGV (driver) – look at this lot, none of them work, they’re all retired. 

‘I’ve lost it (the job opportunity), I’ve been told, I’ve lost it because I’m too late because of these. I’m an hour late because of this lot. I’ve got two young children.’

Commenting on a video clip taken at the industrial estate before police arrived, MailOnline columnist Dan Wootton tweeted: ‘I repeat: Insulate Britain are eco terrorists. They must be locked up. People are going to die. And no police there – shameful.’ 

And LBC reporter Rachael Venables tweeted: ‘Forty minutes after Insulate Britain blocked major roads in an industrial estate by Purfleet docks, there is no sign of police. Drivers are taking matters into their own hands.’

The journalist, who has been present at most of the group’s protests over the past month, added that she feared the incident would become ‘nasty’. 

An Essex Police spokesman said: ‘We’re on scene and have made arrests following reports of people blocking the slip road of the M25 at J31 in Thurrock.

‘We were called at 8.26am and officers were on scene within five minutes. We’re trying to resolve the situation as quickly and safely as possible.’

In an update issued around 25 minutes later, the force added: ‘We’ve made 16 arrests after reports of people blocking the M25 at J31 in Thurrock.

‘Officers responded within five minutes and were able to keep one lane open. We’re now responding to people blocking the road in the Stonehouse Ln area in Purfleet.’

The group has blocked parts of major roads around London, including the M25 and M4, to draw attention to climate change.

Transport for London (TfL) was previously granted High Court injunctions against the group to prevent them further obstructing traffic – which apply to 14 locations around the capital.

The injunctions were extended to the end of next month yesterday.

Despite the arrests and frustrated responses of commuters the group said other members of the public have praised its actions.

Yesterday, protesters set light to court injunction papers that had been individually served on them, on the pavement outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London.

A High Court hearing was taking place over three injunctions granted to National Highways, covering the M25, Port of Dover and major A roads around London.

Activists were warned by David Elvin QC, on behalf of National Highways, that a bid to prove the protestors are in contempt of court – and thus liable to be jailed – could come ‘sooner rather than later’. 

A further hearing will take place next week.

Liam Norton, from Insulate Britain, said today: ‘In ten years’ time when fuel crises are catastrophic, when the food has run out and when people are experiencing unsurvivable heat waves, what would you be wishing you had done now?

‘We think you’ll be wishing you had sat on the road with Insulate Britain doing whatever it took to protect current and future generations. So come join us on the road.’ 

Dr Diana Warner, an Insulate Britain supporter, also said today: ‘Many people are going out of their way to thank us. Some come out of their cars to thank us, some are police officers involved with our arrests. 

An Insulate Britain activist is handcuffed as demonstrators block a roundabout at junction 31 of the M25 this morning

An Insulate Britain activist is handcuffed as demonstrators block a roundabout at junction 31 of the M25 this morning

Cars queue as Insulate Britain protestors glue themselves to the road at the slip road of the M25 in Thurrock this morning

Cars queue as Insulate Britain protestors glue themselves to the road at the slip road of the M25 in Thurrock this morning

Retired vicar Reverend Sue Parfitt - a regular Insulate Britain - is among those being arrested at junction 31 of the M25 today

Retired vicar Reverend Sue Parfitt – a regular Insulate Britain – is among those being arrested at junction 31 of the M25 today

Police officers detain an Insulate Britain activist blocking a roundabout at junction 31 of the M25 motorway this morning

Police officers detain an Insulate Britain activist blocking a roundabout at junction 31 of the M25 motorway this morning

Police officers carry away an Insulate Britain activist blocking a roundabout off the M25 in Essex this morning

Police officers carry away an Insulate Britain activist blocking a roundabout off the M25 in Essex this morning

Police officers detain a man as Insulate Britain activists block a roundabout on the M25 today

Police officers detain a man as Insulate Britain activists block a roundabout on the M25 today

Police officers pull an Insulate Britain activist off the road while they block a roundabout at junction 31 of the M25 today

Police officers pull an Insulate Britain activist off the road while they block a roundabout at junction 31 of the M25 today

A police officer detains an Insulate Britain activist blocking a roundabout at junction 31 of the M25 motorway today

A police officer detains an Insulate Britain activist blocking a roundabout at junction 31 of the M25 motorway today

A police officer detains an Insulate Britain activist blocking a roundabout at junction 31 of the M25 motorway this morning

A police officer detains an Insulate Britain activist blocking a roundabout at junction 31 of the M25 motorway this morning

Police officers detain a demonstrator as Insulate Britain activists carry out another protest on the M25 this morning

Police officers detain a demonstrator as Insulate Britain activists carry out another protest on the M25 this morning

A police officer tries to remove the hand of a demonstrator glued to the road on the M25 in Thurrock this morning

A police officer tries to remove the hand of a demonstrator glued to the road on the M25 in Thurrock this morning

Police officers speak to Insulate Britain activists as they block a roundabout at junction 31 of the M25 today

Police officers speak to Insulate Britain activists as they block a roundabout at junction 31 of the M25 today

Cars queue as Insulate Britain protestors glue themselves to the road at the slip road of the M25 in Thurrock this morning

Cars queue as Insulate Britain protestors glue themselves to the road at the slip road of the M25 in Thurrock this morning

‘To them, we bring hope – we haven’t yet given up. We are still pushing for life saving changes. It is a big step to move from thanking us to taking action.

‘But if you make some move to help us, however small, you will be helping us to achieve change. Please check out the website insulatebritain.com ‘ 

Earlier this week, Prince Charles told the BBC that he understood why eco activists took to the streets, but warned they could be doing more damage than good by blocking roads.

The heir to the throne said that he disagreed with the group’s ‘destructive’ tactics, but understood its members’ ‘despair’, adding: ‘Young people feel nothing is ever happening, so of course they’re going to get frustrated.’ 

This Google Maps graphic shows where the protesters are affecting traffic today (in red)

This Google Maps graphic shows where the protesters are affecting traffic today (in red)

Essex Police said they had made 16 arrests following the protest on the M25 at Thurrock in Essex this morning

Essex Police said they had made 16 arrests following the protest on the M25 at Thurrock in Essex this morning

Police officers detain a man as Insulate Britain activists block a roundabout at junction 31 of the M25 in Thurrock today

Police officers detain a man as Insulate Britain activists block a roundabout at junction 31 of the M25 in Thurrock today

A demonstrator shows an High Court injunction paper as Insulate Britain activists block junction 31 of the M25 today

A demonstrator shows an High Court injunction paper as Insulate Britain activists block junction 31 of the M25 today

Insulate Britain activists have their hands glued to the road as they block a roundabout at junction 31 of the M25 today

Insulate Britain activists have their hands glued to the road as they block a roundabout at junction 31 of the M25 today

Insulate Britain protesters on the M25 at junction 31 in Thurrock, Essex, this morning

Insulate Britain protesters on the M25 at junction 31 in Thurrock, Essex, this morning

Protesters from Insulate Britain block the M25 at junction 31, near the Dartford Crossing today

Protesters from Insulate Britain block the M25 at junction 31, near the Dartford Crossing today

Members of the Insulate Britain climate change group block the road in Thurrock this morning

Members of the Insulate Britain climate change group block the road in Thurrock this morning

Insulate Britain activists block a roundabout on the M25 in junction 31 in Essex this morning

Insulate Britain activists block a roundabout on the M25 in junction 31 in Essex this morning

Meanwhile an Insulate Britain protester arrested for blocking the M25 was this week revealed to be the wife of a Transport for London director, who has now stepped down from his £170,000-a-year role.

Cathy Eastburn had previously vowed to ‘unleash hell’ on drivers during her protesting, despite her long-term partner Benedict Plowden’s role in charge of the Covid Restart and Recovery Scheme.

It is understood TfL bosses were aware of her views and actions, but insist it was Mr Plowden who resigned for unrelated reasons to ‘pursue new opportunities’.

The group, which is calling on the Government to insulate all homes across the UK by 2030 to help cut carbon emissions, has been protesting since September 13. 

The demonstrators caused chaos on the M25 at Junction 31 and the London Road A1090 today

The demonstrators caused chaos on the M25 at Junction 31 and the London Road A1090 today

Protesters from Insulate Britain stand in front of cars at junction 31 of the M25 this morning

Protesters from Insulate Britain stand in front of cars at junction 31 of the M25 this morning

A hand of a demonstrator is glued to the ground as Insulate Britain activists block a roundabout at junction 31 today

A hand of a demonstrator is glued to the ground as Insulate Britain activists block a roundabout at junction 31 today

Insulate Britain demonstrators  near the Dartford Crossing in Thurrock, Essex, this morning

Insulate Britain demonstrators  near the Dartford Crossing in Thurrock, Essex, this morning

Police speak to protesters from Insulate Britain blocking the M25 at junction 31 this morning

Police speak to protesters from Insulate Britain blocking the M25 at junction 31 this morning

Essex Police officers remove protesters from the road after the latest demonstration from Extinction Rebellion today

Essex Police officers remove protesters from the road after the latest demonstration from Extinction Rebellion today

Members of the public direct traffic away as Insulate Britain climate change activists block the Thurrock area today

Members of the public direct traffic away as Insulate Britain climate change activists block the Thurrock area today

Last week Boris Johnson blasted Insulate Britain protesters as ‘irresponsible crusties’, saying the eco-zealots who have repeatedly blocked highways in recent weeks were ‘doing considerable damage to the economy’. 

Home Secretary Priti Patel told the Conservative Party conference in Manchester that ‘measures already going through Parliament will ensure these criminals can be brought to justice for the disruption they are causing’. 

Criminal Disruption Prevention Orders will prevent individuals from taking part in particular protests, and it will become an offence to interfere with critical national infrastructure. 

It is hoped they will be quicker to enforce than the civil injunctions taken out by National Highways. Protesters could face up to two years in jail or an unlimited fine if they are found in breach of the injunctions.

Tim Gough, an Insulate Britain spokesman, said of the PM’s comment: ‘He can call us what he likes. What we’re interested in is not words but policies, and more importantly actions – that the Government takes action.’



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