Just Stop Oil protest slows central London traffic

time:2023-06-03 01:53:38source:BBC News (British Broadcasting Corporation) author:Press center2

A protest by a small group of Just Stop Oil activists has slowed traffic on a central London road, causing tailbacks.

About 12 climate change activists walked along the Strand carrying banners, slowing cars and buses.

Another demonstration was held in Shepherd's Bush Green, west London, at the start of what is expected to be two weeks of action.

It comes as National Highways was granted an injunction by the High Court to try to prevent protests on the M25.

Recently activists have caused major delays on the M25 by blocking different parts of the motorway.

National Highways said it secured the civil order to "prevent unlawful protests" on the country's busiest motorway.

It follows a series of stunts during which members of the environmental group scaled gantries and caused major traffic disruption.

The injunction, granted on Monday by Mr Justice Soole, will remain in place until just before midnight on 15 November 2023 or until further order.

It means anyone entering, remaining upon or affixing themselves to any object or to any structure on the M25 could have civil proceedings launched against them for contempt of court.

Those found to have breached the injunction could face imprisonment, an unlimited fine and the seizure of assets.

Some 65 individuals who were arrested by police as a result of their involvement in Just Stop Oil protests on the M25 gantries are named in the injunction, as well as those from Animal Rebellion and Insulate Britain.

Transport Secretary Mark Harper said: "The reckless, selfish actions of a small group of protestors has stopped children getting to school, people getting to work, and emergency service workers from their critical work."

"Free speech and lawful protest is a cornerstone of our democracy, but putting peoples safety and livelihoods at risk due to selfish and unlawful protest activity will not be tolerated."

Sean Martell, National Highways' head of service delivery in the South East, said: "Millions of people rely on the strategic road network every day and they have a right to expect it to operate as it should.

"Climbing on structures such as gantries is extremely dangerous - both for the protesters themselves and motorists - and we're committed to doing all we can to seek to prevent a small minority from causing disruption on the network.

"We're extremely concerned that the M25 will continue to be targeted by protesters and this underlines the importance and need for the civil injunctions to deter unlawful protest activity."

The Met said it believed Just Stop Oil was planning disruptive activity across the capital until 14 December.

Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist told BBC Radio London demonstrators were "looking to target major roads and roundabouts in and around the centre of London, and their intent is to cause maximum disruption to the travelling public".

Throughout October and November, the Met Police arrested 755 Just Stop Oil activists during a number of protests.

Just Stop Oil is calling on the government to end all new oil and gas projects to tackle climate change.

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