Insulate Britain eco zealots today brought their road blockades to Westminster as they sat down in Parliament Square, as it was revealed their protests have already cost Scotland Yard nearly £2million in the first four weeks.
Some 62 protesters from the group sat on the road near the London Underground station from 9am and glued themselves to it – bringing most traffic to a halt, although cyclists could still make their way past them.
The environmental campaigners have now blocked roads on 19 days since September 13, causing misery for drivers stuck in long queues on the M25 around London and further afield in Dover, Manchester and Birmingham.
So far, 161 people have been involved in the roadblock campaign and there have been 801 arrests. Up to 32 of its activists now face up to two years in prison for breaching a court injunction by blocking traffic on motorways.
It comes two days after Insulate Britain took their protests nationwide, on the M56 near Manchester Airport and the A4400 in central Birmingham, after police stopped them getting onto an M25 junction near South Mimms in Hertfordshire. Today, some of the same faces spotted in Manchester and Hertfordshire were at Westminster.
Insulate Britain issued pictures of many of them yesterday, and said nine have already been summoned to the High Court in London on November 16 for breaching the National Highways injunction by disrupting the M25.
A group of Insulate Britain activists attempt to block traffic at Parliament Square in Westminster from about 9am this morning
Around 40 protesters from the group sat on the road near Westminster Tube station today and glued themselves to it
Insulate Britain activists block Parliament Square in Westminster today as they continue to bring chaos to the UK’s roads
Climate activists from Insulate Britain attempt to block traffic at Parliament Square in Westminster from 9am this morning
The Extinction Rebellion offshoot group said they face a contempt of court hearing and if found to be in breach of the court order could be subject to unlimited fines, seizure of assets and jail sentences of up to two years.
A further 23 activists, who have also defied one or more of the four injunctions, are expected to be summoned to court in the coming days. They were effectively banned from all major roads in England on Monday last week.
It comes as figures obtained by LBC revealed policing Insulate Britain protests on roads around London cost the Metropolitan Police £1,961,616.44 in the first four weeks of their protests from September 13 to October 10.
The force said ‘opportunity costs’ for police staff and officers amounted to more than £1.7million, ‘fleet’ costs for cars and vehicles came in at £22,000 and paying for officers to work overtime lost the force £217,000.
Andy Trotter, former deputy assistant commissioner at the Met and former chief constable of the British Transport Police, said it was a ‘shocking use of public money that could easily have been used for something better’.
Protesters from Insulate Britain block the road at Parliament Square in Westminster this morning
Insulate Britain activists attempt to block traffic in Parliament Square today as they try to bring more mayhem to London
A protester from Insulate Britain speaks to a motorist as they block Parliament Square in Westminster this morning
Police officers talk to protesters from Insulate Britain today as they block the road at Parliament Square in Westminster
Protesters from Insulate Britain block Parliament Square today as they bring their road blockades to Westminster
The protesters at Parliament Square brought most traffic to a halt today, but cyclists could still make their way past them
Protesters from Insulate Britain block the road at Parliament Square in Westminster today after arriving there from 9am
Protesters from Insulate Britain block Parliament Square today on what is their 19th day of protests since mid-September
Insulate Britain yesterday released photographs of some of the faces among its 32 activists who face up to two years in prison for contempt of court. They are (left to right, first row): Ruth Jarman, Dr Diana Warner, Rowan Tilly, Jess Causby, Steve Gower, Liam Norton, Greg Frey, Reverend Sue Parfitt, (second row) Mark Latimer, Dr Ben Buse, Gabby Ditton, Arne Springorum, Tony Hill, Theresa Norton, Stephanie, Emma Smart (third row) Emily Brockelbank, Biff Whipster, Amy Pritchard, Paul Sheeky, Louis McKechnie (bottom row) Roman Paulch, Ben Taylor, Ana Heyatawin, David, Oliver Roc, Tracey Mallaghan and Tim Speers
An Insulate Britain spokesman said today: ‘Insulate Britain has been one of the most successful campaigns in history: our name recognition went from zero to 77 per cent of the public in three weeks.
‘We have attracted enormous media interest and we have started thousands of conversations, in the press, on social media and in homes up and down the country.
‘Importantly, we have exposed the government’s refusal to act on home insulation as cowardly and vindictive and their refusal to protect our country and our children from the climate crisis as genocidal and treasonous.’
They added: ‘What we say to the bystanders who look on in fear and denial is this: look at what we did. A hundred people captured the country’s attention for weeks. Think what 1,000 people can achieve.
‘Come and join us and we will change the tide of history. What more meaningful thing can you do with your lives, at this time when everyone and everything you love is in mortal danger?’