Just Stop Oil: Dozens of activists arrested over M25 proteston November 7, 2022 at 5:13 pm

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Multiple junctions of the M25 were closed and police made 35 arrests during the latest protest.

Police officers remove a protester from a motorway gantryImage source, Rex Features

Climate change activists went ahead with planned action to target England’s busiest motorway despite a police operation to foil their plans.

Sections of the M25 were closed throughout the Monday morning rush hour as part of the protest by Just Stop Oil.

The Met Police said 23 people had been arrested.

Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist said the action was “criminality”, not protest, and pledged to bring those involved to justice as quickly as possible.

“This was a very significant and co-ordinated effort to cause massive disruption to the entirety of the M25.”

Several junctions across Surrey, London and Kent were impacted, with specially trained police officers deployed.

Police officers on a motorway gantry with a Just Stop Oil sign in front of them

Image source, Rex Features

Protests were held at several locations on the M25 including: J2 (Darenth), J6-7 (Godstone), J8-9 (Reigate), J13-14 (Staines), J21a-22 (St Albans), J25 (Holmesdale tunnel) and J27 (M11).

Essex Police said people had been arrested after reports of people climbing up an overhead gantry close to junction 30 of the M25.

In an emotional video posted from one of the gantries, protester Louise said she was there because she felt she did not “have a future and you may hate me for doing this, and you’re entitled to hate me, but I wish you would direct all that anger and hatred at our government”.

Just Stop Oil protester Louise standing on top a motorway gantry

Image source, Just Stop Oil

The 24-year-old added: “They are betraying young people like me. I wouldn’t have to be there if they did their lawful duty.

“What we’re asking for is what all the scientists are asking for, what the United Nations are asking for, the international energy, the IPCC.

“How many more people have to say we don’t have a liveable future if you continue licencing oil and gas for you to listen?”

It comes as the Met Police had launched a “significant” operation to identify and arrest the climate change protesters.

Traffic builds up as Just Stop Oil stage a protest at junction 7 of the M25

Image source, @willcockram

Police officers on the M25

Image source, Surrey Police

Three people were “proactively” arrested on Sunday accused of planning public disruption according to the Met.

They were arrested on suspicion of “conspiracy to intentionally or recklessly cause public nuisance”, a new offence under the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022.

A further four were arrested in raids on Monday morning.

Mr Twist said: “We suspected that the intent of the individuals involved was completely disproportionate to any legitimate right to protest.”

Supt Graham Barnett from Surrey Police said: “While we always seek to facilitate peaceful protests, the protests we’ve seen today have gone beyond that.

“Whilst they’ve been peaceful, the impact that they’ve had has not been proportionate on the public.”

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

From the end of September and throughout October, Just Stop Oil staged 32 days of disruption, which the Met said resulted in 677 arrests, leading to 111 people charged.

According to the group, since its campaign began on 1 April, its supporters have been arrested nearly 2,000 times, with five of their supporters currently in prison.

The Met, which is conducting the operation in conjunction with the National Police Coordination Centre (NPoCC), said more than 10,000 officer shifts had been dedicated to policing the protests since the start of October.

“These are officers who would otherwise be dealing with issues that matter to local communities, such as knife crime, safeguarding and responding to burglaries,” Mr Twist said.

Just Stop Oil protest in London

Image source, HENRY NICHOLLS/Reuters

“We are determined to bring to justice all of those who conspire to cause significant and unreasonable disruption to London, or cause damage to buildings, property or valuables.”

Police are calling on the public to assist with preventing public disruption from protesters by reporting it to 999.

A police officer stands outside graffiti that reads 'no new oil and gas' on the wall of the Bank of England in London

Image source, Getty Images

The climate change action group has been calling on the government to abandon plans to licence over 100 new oil and gas projects by 2025 and to do more to help people with skyrocketing energy bills.

In an update on its website, the group said: “This is not a one-day event, expect us every day and anywhere.

“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.”

The government has been approached for comment.

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Analysis: BBC London transport and environment correspondent, Tom Edwards

The latest environmental protests are causing lots of disruption and according to the Met, diverting officers away from other duties.

The protests have also changed from a single big issue under Extinction Rebellion – climate change – to become much more specific and have a specific aim.

The group Insulate Britain blocked the M25 over insulation and Just Stop Oil are doing the same over new oil licences.

Dealing with these protests is very difficult for the authorities; arrests and court action don’t seem to stop the protesters.

When I interviewed Just Stop Oil last week, they made it very clear more protests were inevitable until the government changes its policy.

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