Connect with us

News

Officers swoop on Insulate Britain activists before they get onto M25

Published

on

[ad_1]

Insulate Britain activists spread their protests UK-wide today as 60 of the eco zealots tried to blockade main roads in Manchester, Birmingham and Hertfordshire during rush hour as their demonstrations entered an eighth week.

A team of 12 demonstrators stopped traffic on the M56 near Manchester Airport, while another group of about a dozen brought chaos to the A4400 in Birmingham – marking the first time Insulate Britain has targeted either city.

The environmental activists also hoped to blockade the M25 at junction 23 for the South Mimms service station in Hertfordshire, but police swooped on them before they could get onto the road and cause mayhem. 

Van drivers were seen angrily remonstrating with the activists in Manchester, while in South Mimms a motorist went through a red light and narrowly missed two police officers escorting a protester out of the road. 

While the protesters were quickly cleared in Hertfordshire, they still caused tailbacks and average speeds on the M25 nearby of 7mph according to sat nav app Waze. The activists appeared to be having more of an impact on traffic in Manchester and Birmingham where they remained in place more than an hour after the protest began. 

It comes as the eyes of the world are on Britain as representatives of 200 nations gather in Glasgow to thrash out a deal to try to limit global warming to 1.5C at the landmark Cop26 climate change conference. 

The protesters – who have not yet targeted Scotland – were on their 17th day of road demonstrations. Insulate Britain’s activists have brought chaos to motorways and A roads across the capital since September 13 with 161 people taking part in the campaign and 770 arrests made so far – but no one has yet been charged.

The activists were effectively banned from all major roads in England on Monday last week after a major High Court ruling, and a hearing was told just three days of their protests had an ‘economic cost’ of almost £900,000.  

But their protests have continued regardless – and over the weekend Swedish activist Greta Thunberg voiced support for their tactics, saying sometimes you have to ‘p*** people off’ to protect the environment.  

BIRMINGHAM  - Insulate Britain activists block Great Charles Queensway as they take their demonstrations to Birmingham

BIRMINGHAM  – Insulate Britain activists block Great Charles Queensway as they take their demonstrations to Birmingham

MANCHESTER - Protesters from Insulate Britain block a road near Manchester Airport this morning as they cause chaos

MANCHESTER – Protesters from Insulate Britain block a road near Manchester Airport this morning as they cause chaos

HERTFORDSHIRE - Police stop Insulate Britain blocking traffic on the M25 near junction 23 for South Mimms this morning

HERTFORDSHIRE – Police stop Insulate Britain blocking traffic on the M25 near junction 23 for South Mimms this morning

Insulate Britain block a road near Manchester Airport this morning as they take their demonstrations nationwide

Insulate Britain block a road near Manchester Airport this morning as they take their demonstrations nationwide

Protesters from Insulate Britain sit on the road near the Holiday Inn Express Motorway Airport hotel in Manchester today

Protesters from Insulate Britain sit on the road near the Holiday Inn Express Motorway Airport hotel in Manchester today

Protesters from Insulate Britain block the road near Manchester Airport today as they carry out a UK-wide demonstration

Protesters from Insulate Britain block the road near Manchester Airport today as they carry out a UK-wide demonstration

A protester with their hand glued to the road near Manchester Airport this morning in a photograph taken from the Tarmac

A protester with their hand glued to the road near Manchester Airport this morning in a photograph taken from the Tarmac

Protesters from Insulate Britain blocking a road near to the Holiday Inn Express Motorway Airport this morning

Protesters from Insulate Britain blocking a road near to the Holiday Inn Express Motorway Airport this morning

A protester with their hand glued to the road at an Insulate Britain roadblock near Manchester Airport this morning

A protester with their hand glued to the road at an Insulate Britain roadblock near Manchester Airport this morning

Protesters from Insulate Britain block a road near the Manchester Airport this morning as their demonstrations continue

Protesters from Insulate Britain block a road near the Manchester Airport this morning as their demonstrations continue

A protester with their hand glued to the road at an Insulate Britain roadblock near Manchester Airport this morning

A protester with their hand glued to the road at an Insulate Britain roadblock near Manchester Airport this morning

Protesters from Insulate Britain block a road near to the Holiday Inn Express Motorway Airport hotel today

Protesters from Insulate Britain block a road near to the Holiday Inn Express Motorway Airport hotel today

A Hertfordshire Police spokesman said today: ‘Police were called at 7.45am today to reports of protesters near junction 23 of the M25. Officers are at the scene and working to resolve the disruption as quickly as possible.

‘Police also received reports of protesters near the A1081 St Albans Road at around 8.20am. Officers are on the scene and partial road closures have been put in place. Several people have been arrested.’ 

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 and a nearby industrial estate, with 35 people arrested.

October 25: Activists target areas around Southwark Bridge, Canary Wharf and Liverpool Street station. Some 53 are arrested.

October 27: Protesters blockade the A40 in North Acton, West London, and a major roundabout next to the Dartford Crossing in Kent. Kent Police arrested 32 protesters, while the Metropolitan Police detained 17.

October 29: 10 activists are arrested after walking onto the M25 between junctions 28 and 29 in Essex 

November 2: Police arrest activists before they can even get onto the M25 at junction 23 for South Mimms, but other demonstrations take place on the M56 in Manchester and the A4400 in Birmingham

Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, said: ‘I can’t see how this type of protest does anything other than alienate people from the climate cause. Have been reassured Greater Manchester Police are working to get things moving as soon as possible.’ 

A Greater Manchester Police spokesman said at 9.13am: ‘We’re currently responding to a protest on Wilmslow Road (A538), close to Manchester Airport. We’re working at the scene to minimise disruption and we’ll provide updates in due course. Delays are expected and we ask people travelling to avoid the area if possible.’ 

The force later added at 10.36am: ‘Delays are still likely in the area due to protestors sat on Wilmslow Rd (A538). Traffic’s still moving and we’ve ensured access to the M56 and Manchester Airport isn’t blocked. Officers are there to minimise disruption and bring the incident to a swift and orderly conclusion.’

A Manchester Airport spokesman added: ‘We are aware of protestors gathered on land close to Manchester Airport, which is being handled by Greater Manchester Police. There is no impact on our operations but those planning to travel to the airport should take account of this ahead of their journey.’ 

And a West Midlands Police spokesman said: ‘We’re currently responding to activists on Great Charles Street in Birmingham city centre. We are working to deal with this as quickly as possible. Delays are expected and we ask people travelling to avoid the area if possible.’ 

It comes after 18-year-old Miss Thunberg was asked on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show on Sunday whether ‘blocking roads’ was justified, and replied: ‘To make clear, as long as no one gets hurt… then I think sometimes you need to anger some people.

‘Like, for instance, the school strike movement would never have become so big if there wasn’t friction, if some people didn’t get p***** off.’

She said she speaks to activists in countries like China where they do not have the same rights, and added: ‘It makes you just feel so grateful that we are actually able to protest and that just puts more responsibility on us who actually have the right to protest, to use that right.’ 

This morning in Herfordshire, around 20 demonstrators arrived at the M25 but were stopped by police from getting into the road at about 8am.

Six sat on the pavement with a banner, and some glued themselves to the ground. Another two managed to glue themselves to one lane of the carriageway on a quiet part of the roundabout.

A group of officers have been lifting activists from the pavement and putting them in the back of a van.

Reverend Sue Parfitt, 79, a retired family therapist from Bristol, was among those detained. More than a dozen officers and seven police vehicles were at the scene.

Some passers-by shouted expletives at the protesters while other beeped their horns.

Jess, 25, who had glued her hand to the road, said: ‘Before we started doing this no-one was talking about insulation, nobody cared about it, nobody knew it was an issue now, and it’s been in the newspapers and it’s been all over people’s dinner table conversations for the last six weeks.

‘They say ‘we agree with your cause but not the tactics’, but at the end of the day they only know about our cause because of our tactics.’

Nine demonstrators have received committal papers in relation to an injunction granted to National Highways to curb activist roadblocks, Insulate Britain confirmed.

Those who break the injunctions could be found in contempt of court and face a maximum penalty of two years in prison or an unlimited fine.

Diana Warner, 62, a retired GP, said: ‘One of the important reasons for coming out today was to say we’re all together. It’s not just nine.’

In a press release issued today, Insulate Britain quoted two protesters explaining why the demonstrations were now going nationwide.

One of them was Gabby, 27, a graphic designer from Norwich, who said: ‘We are taking our message to people outside of London because we want everyone to know that our government is killing our children.

‘Britain should be leading the world with radical plans to decarbonise our society, instead our government is actively setting policies that will drive emissions higher. 

Protesters from Insulate Britain blocking Great Charles Queensway in Birmingham this morning

Protesters from Insulate Britain blocking Great Charles Queensway in Birmingham this morning

A man confronts the protesters from Insulate Britain blocking Great Charles Queensway in Birmingham today

A man confronts the protesters from Insulate Britain blocking Great Charles Queensway in Birmingham today

Protesters from Insulate Britain blocking Great Charles Queensway in Birmingham this morning

Protesters from Insulate Britain blocking Great Charles Queensway in Birmingham this morning

Protesters from Insulate Britain blocking Great Charles Queensway in Birmingham this morning

Protesters from Insulate Britain blocking Great Charles Queensway in Birmingham this morning

Protesters from Insulate Britain blocking Great Charles Queensway in Birmingham this morning

Protesters from Insulate Britain blocking Great Charles Queensway in Birmingham this morning

Protesters from Insulate Britain are seen walking onto the Great Charles Queensway in Birmingham this morning

Protesters from Insulate Britain are seen walking onto the Great Charles Queensway in Birmingham this morning

Protesters from Insulate Britain blocking Great Charles Queensway in Birmingham this morning

Protesters from Insulate Britain blocking Great Charles Queensway in Birmingham this morning

Protesters from Insulate Britain wait at traffic lights before walking onto the Great Charles Queensway in Birmingham today

Protesters from Insulate Britain wait at traffic lights before walking onto the Great Charles Queensway in Birmingham today

Insulate Britain holding up traffic in Birmingham this morning as they bring chaos to the A4400 road in the city

Insulate Britain holding up traffic in Birmingham this morning as they bring chaos to the A4400 road in the city

‘The public can close their eyes but this isn’t going away, no one is coming to save you. We are being betrayed. This government is colluding in genocide.’

Retired vicar, 79, returns with Insulate Britain and is arrested for ELEVENTH time in just seven weeks 

The group said nine of its supporters have received summons for breaking the injunction and are due to attend court on November 16, with a further 23 people expected to follow. It said they face unlimited fines and prison sentences for contempt of court.

The group also quoted Biff, 54, a retail worker from Canterbury, who said: ‘I am honoured and privileged to stand in solidarity with my brave friends who have been the first to receive their committal dates; facing unlimited fines and prison sentences for conducting proportionate nonviolent civil resistance to stop our government destroying this country with their cowardice and greed.

‘I too have broken the High Court Injunctions several times and I will continue to do so until this treasonous government, supported by heartless and scared journalists, starts to take credible action to safeguard its citizens’ lives.’

Last Friday, Insulate Britain caused yet more traffic chaos and diced with death by walking onto the M25 in morning rush hour. They later boasted about causing ‘major disruption in several locations’ on the motorway. 

A group of 14 walked up and down the painted white lines between lanes in live traffic, causing tailbacks. At one point, three sat and laid down in the middle of the carriageway, bringing traffic grinding to a halt.

In a press release the group said activists had gone ‘walking on the motorway’ and were ‘demanding that the Government gets on with the job of insulating Britain’s homes’. Ten arrests were made after the stunt, between junctions 28 and 29 near Brentwood in Essex. 

The group acknowledged it is knowingly breaching a High Court injunction that aims to prevent its disruptive activities. The activists were effectively banned from all major roads in England last week after a court ruling approved an injunction against protests on 4,300 miles of motorways and A-roads, also known as the Strategic Road Network.

This was extended until November 11 at another hearing on Thursday. Breaking the injunction can lead to unlimited fines or even jail for contempt of court.

The High Court was told on Thursday how just three days of protests had cost taxpayers almost £900,000. 

The group, an offshoot of Extinction Rebellion, has demanded that Prime Minister Boris Johnson fast-tracks plans to insulate Britain’s homes to cut carbon emissions.  

It wants this done by the end of the decade, with a ‘legally binding’ national plan published within four months. They claim it would avoid 8,500 deaths due to fuel poverty and help struggling families pay their energy bills. 

Insulate Britain also hit out at criticism of the group by Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, with a spokesman saying: ‘Insulating Britain’s leaky homes is an essential part of acting on the climate emergency.

‘In fact the UK Climate Change Committee has said that there is no route to Net Zero that does not involve the near complete elimination of carbon emissions from our housing stock which is some of the most energy inefficient in Europe.

‘Insulate Britain has a well thought out plan for a government funded nationwide retrofit programme. Kwasi Kwarteng is rejecting a plan that would cut 15 per cent from our carbon emissions, avoid 8,500 fuel poverty deaths a year, and stop millions of British families being cold and hungry every year, while dealing with the cost of living crisis.

‘Mr Kwarteng, is it ‘ludicrous’ to demand an end to deaths from fuel poverty in the sixth richest country in the world? Is giving government grants for home insulation an ‘excessive state intervention’? Is protecting our children from future misery, starvation and death an ‘eye watering intrusion’? If so, we are guilty as charged.

‘Mr Kwarteng, you have a responsibility to serve the interests of all the people of this country, not just the few who are profiting from your careless disregard for the fate of our children and future generations. We will not forgive your betrayal and cowardice.’

Cabinet minister George Eustice has condemned the eco mob’s actions as ‘highly irresponsible’ and ‘a safety risk on our roads’.

He also said Home Secretary Priti Patel was looking at beefing-up the law to give police more powers to tackle the protesters. 

Last week the Daily Mail revealed that eco warriors are plotting to exploit gaps in Scottish law to wreak havoc at the Cop26 summit.

Around 400 climate activists sized up potential loopholes during a meeting promoted by Extinction Rebellion (XR) last week.

Conspirators noted a recent High Court injunction banning road blockades does not apply in Scotland – and that officers will be ‘overwhelmed’ by the scale of the protests.

It was also hinted protesters with charges against their name in England may get a blank canvas across the border as forces ‘don’t always communicate to each other’.

It comes amid growing alarm among rank-and-file officers about the potential for chaos as police brace for the ‘most complex and complicated policing operation ever seen in Britain’.  

A protester from Insulate Britain is removed by police after they glued their hands to the road near to South Mimms today

A protester from Insulate Britain is removed by police after they glued their hands to the road near to South Mimms today

A protester from Insulate Britain is removed by police after they glued their hands to the road near South Mimms this morning

A protester from Insulate Britain is removed by police after they glued their hands to the road near South Mimms this morning

Police officers speak to protesters at an Insulate Britain roadblock near to the South Mimms roundabout this morning

Police officers speak to protesters at an Insulate Britain roadblock near to the South Mimms roundabout this morning

Police officers detain a protester at an Insulate Britain roadblock near to the South Mimms roundabout this morning

Police officers detain a protester at an Insulate Britain roadblock near to the South Mimms roundabout this morning

Police officers detain a protester at an Insulate Britain roadblock near the roundabout at the junction of the M25 and A1 today

Police officers detain a protester at an Insulate Britain roadblock near the roundabout at the junction of the M25 and A1 today

Protesters from Insulate Britain with their hands glued to the road near the South Mimms roundabout this morning

Protesters from Insulate Britain with their hands glued to the road near the South Mimms roundabout this morning

Police officers detain a protester at an Insulate Britain roadblock near to the South Mimms roundabout this morning

Police officers detain a protester at an Insulate Britain roadblock near to the South Mimms roundabout this morning

Police officers remove a protester glued to the road at an Insulate Britain roadblock near the South Mimms roundabout today

Police officers remove a protester glued to the road at an Insulate Britain roadblock near the South Mimms roundabout today

Police officers detain a protester at an Insulate Britain roadblock near to the South Mimms roundabout this morning

Police officers detain a protester at an Insulate Britain roadblock near to the South Mimms roundabout this morning

Protesters from Insulate Britain with their hands glued to the road near the South Mimms roundabout this morning

Protesters from Insulate Britain with their hands glued to the road near the South Mimms roundabout today

Protesters from Insulate Britain with their hands glued to the road near the South Mimms roundabout today

Protesters from Insulate Britain with their hands glued to the road near the South Mimms roundabout today

Police officers take away a protester at an Insulate Britain roadblock attempt near the South Mimms services today

Police officers take away a protester at an Insulate Britain roadblock attempt near the South Mimms services today

Hundreds of thousands of protesters from around the world are expected to descend on the two-week summit. 

XR’s Scottish spokesman Myke Hall has said ministers should be ‘very worried’ about their plans to disrupt the event.

Top brass in Scotland have warned Cop26 could prove a magnet for anarchists and believe some extremists could use children as human shields during violent standoffs, a tactic seen during the storming of the Capitol in the US in January. 

At the start of the two-hour protest meeting last Tuesday, attendees were asked ‘not to say anything specific about actions that you have been involved with, or are planning’, due to fears of infiltration within the group. 

But during an extensive Q&A session, rebels probed potential weaknesses in the police and criminal justice system that hinted at plots to blockade roads and outwit officers.

Know Your Rights Training was provided by the Scottish Community and Activist Legal Project, which is providing legal support to XR during Cop26. 

Reverend Sue Parfitt is arrested by a police officer at an Insulate Britain roadblock near the South Mimms roundabout today

Reverend Sue Parfitt is arrested by a police officer at an Insulate Britain roadblock near the South Mimms roundabout today

Traffic builds up at an Insulate Britain roadblock near to the South Mimms roundabout at the junction of the M25 and A1 today

Traffic builds up at an Insulate Britain roadblock near to the South Mimms roundabout at the junction of the M25 and A1 today

A protester glued to the road at an Insulate Britain roadblock on St Albans Road near to the South Mimms roundabout today

A protester glued to the road at an Insulate Britain roadblock on St Albans Road near to the South Mimms roundabout today

A police officer holds the jackets of two Insulate Britain protesters trying to carry out a roadblock at South Mimms today

A police officer holds the jackets of two Insulate Britain protesters trying to carry out a roadblock at South Mimms today

Protesters from Insulate Britain with their hands glued to the road near to the South Mimms roundabout this morning

Protesters from Insulate Britain with their hands glued to the road near to the South Mimms roundabout this morning

A protester from Insulate Britain is led away by police after they glued their hands to the road near South Mimms today

A protester from Insulate Britain is led away by police after they glued their hands to the road near South Mimms today

Police officers speak to protesters at an Insulate Britain roadblock near to the South Mimms roundabout this morning

Police officers speak to protesters at an Insulate Britain roadblock near to the South Mimms roundabout this morning

Police officers speak to protesters at an Insulate Britain roadblock near to the South Mimms roundabout this morning

Police officers speak to protesters at an Insulate Britain roadblock near to the South Mimms roundabout this morning

An Insulate Britain protester is led away by police as they attempt to block traffic on the M25 near junction 23 today

An Insulate Britain protester is led away by police as they attempt to block traffic on the M25 near junction 23 today

A protester glued to the road at an Insulate Britain roadblock on St Albans Road near the South Mimms roundabout today

A protester glued to the road at an Insulate Britain roadblock on St Albans Road near the South Mimms roundabout today

A protester glued to the road at an Insulate Britain roadblock on St Albans Road near the South Mimms roundabout today

A protester glued to the road at an Insulate Britain roadblock on St Albans Road near the South Mimms roundabout today

Police officers remove a protester glued to the road at an Insulate Britain roadblock near the South Mimms roundabout today

Police officers remove a protester glued to the road at an Insulate Britain roadblock near the South Mimms roundabout today

A protester glued to the road at an Insulate Britain roadblock on St Albans Road near the South Mimms roundabout today

A protester glued to the road at an Insulate Britain roadblock on St Albans Road near the South Mimms roundabout today

Police officers remove a protester glued to the road at an Insulate Britain roadblock near the South Mimms roundabout today

Police officers remove a protester glued to the road at an Insulate Britain roadblock near the South Mimms roundabout today

Representatives fielded a series of searching questions including whether an injunction against road blockades aimed at curbing Insulate Britain protests in England applied in Scotland and if protest-related charges in England would be passed on to Police Scotland.

A spokesman said the injunction did not apply in Scotland, while it was also suggested police will only make arrests ‘if they need to’ for fear of being ‘overwhelmed’.

John Scott QC, an adviser to Police Scotland on Cop26, told the Mail ‘there is a very different tone and style’ to policing in Scotland, ‘with an emphasis on encouraging peaceful protest’.

But there are fears protesters who break the law could go free as a shortage of cells could force police to let some off with warnings.

One demonstration on November 6 is expected to attract more than 150,000 protesters and smaller groups such as Insulate Britain are expected to take part in acts of disorder, which could result in a significant number of arrests.  

[ad_2]

Source link

Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: