Just Stop Oil activists to halt M25 protests

time:2023-06-09 06:47:37source:BBC News (British Broadcasting Corporation) author:Press center7

Just Stop Oil activists will halt their protests on the M25 with immediate effect, the group has said.

Demonstrators from the environmental group have been blocking parts of the busy motorway for four days, leading to multiple arrests.

No protests would be held on Friday or in the "foreseeable future", a spokesman said. The pause would allow the government "to do the right thing".

The Met Police said 58 people had been charged over the four days of protests.

Police said the move to halt protests would help them "focus resources" on other crime.

Just Stop Oil has said it wants the government to halt new licences for the exploration of oil and other fossil fuels in the UK.

Despite ceasing any existing protests which may have been planned on the M25, the spokesperson said they did not rule out returning to the motorway in the future.

"We're not saying we're going back to the motorway, but we're not saying we won't go back either. But we've stopped this for the moment," they said.

The Home Office said it was giving police strengthened powers to "match the rise in guerrilla protest tactics".

A spokesperson said: "Not only is the serious disruption we have experienced recently extremely dangerous for all involved, it costs the taxpayer millions and is draining police resources."

Activists earlier this week climbed on overhead gantries in multiple locations of the M25 causing the motorway to be closed.

A police officer was injured during Wednesday's protests.

Essex Police said there was a collision involving the police motorcyclist and two lorries during a rolling roadblock.

Chief Constable BJ Harrington warned it is "only a matter of time" before someone is killed during a protest.

Surrey Police has welcomed the demonstrations being halted, and said it would allow the force to "focus resources on tackling other crime within our communities.

"However, we are not being complacent and have resources in place to deal with any further disruption if required," a spokesperson added.

The protests were staged as the COP27 climate summit was being held in Egypt.

The Just Stop Oil spokesperson told Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to "consider his statement at Cop27, where he spoke of the catastrophic threat posed by the ravages of global heating, the 33 million people displaced by floods in Pakistan, and the moral and economic imperative to honour our pledges".

The environmental activist group was founded after Extinction Rebellion and Insulate Britain, with organisers from both at the helm.

Rory Kennedy, co-founder of the US-based Climate Emergency Fund, which funds Just Stop Oil, told The World Tonight on BBC Radio 4 that there would be no let-up in the group's activities in the UK.

Ms Kennedy said protests would continue until government commitments over fossil fuels are changed. She said protesters would stay in "emergency mode" in order to "stave off the worst climate emergency we've ever faced".

Suella Braverman said the "disruption is a threat to our way of life", during a speech on Wednesday.

The Metropolitan Police said eleven people are appearing in courts across the country following this week's protests.

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