Motorists drag Insulate Britain activists from road as London tunnel is shut by protests

Arrests after Insulate Britain causes major disruption during Monday morning rush hour

Insulate Britain activists have been dragged from the road by irate motorists after London was disrupted by yet another day of climate protests.

Massive tailbacks were reported across the capital on Monday, including at the Blackwall Tunnel, Hanger Lane and Wandsworth Bridge.

Footage showed furious drivers clashing with protesters on Wandsworth Bridge in south-west London after they appeared to block an ambulance from passing through.

One driver could be heard saying: “There’s an ambulance, get out of the road”, as activists were picked off the ground and dragged away.

Insulate Britain said around 50 people had blocked four sites in the capital on Monday morning during the fourth week of its campaign to urge the government to insulate 29 million homes by 2030.

This included Blackwall Tunnel in east London, where LBC captured the moment a woman stuck in the traffic tearfully confronted protesters as they blocked her journey to see her mother, who she said was in hospital.

Amid blaring horns from dozens of other angry motorists, she told them: “She’s in the ambulance, she’s going to the hospital in Canterbury.

“I need to go to the hospital, please let me pass. This isn’t OK. How can you be so selfish?”

Protesters wearing high-visibility jackets appeared to be speaking quietly with the woman but showed no sign of letting her through.

The activists at Blackwall Tunnel – which links north and south London – sat on the northbound A102 at rush hour, as well as at three other major routes in the capital.

By late morning the Metropolitan Police said 38 people had been arrested for disruption of the motorway and conspiracy to cause public nuisance.

An entry on the force’s @MetPoliceEvents Twitter account said: “We consider protests of this nature unreasonable and are acting as quickly as possible to minimise disruption caused to members of the public using the roads.”

It is the latest in a string of protests from the group, which has previously held demonstrations on the M25, M4 and Port of Dover.

This comes after the government took out a fresh injunction last week barring protesters from Insulate Britain from obstructing traffic and access to motorways and major A Roads in and around London.

Anyone who breaks the injunction faces imprisonment or an unlimited fine, and activists found in contempt of court may also be forced to repay the costs of their case.

Insulate Britain has pledged to continue its action until the government makes “a meaningful statement indicating that they will insulate all of Britain’s 29 million leaky homes by 2030”.

Updated: October 5th 2021, 5:15 AM
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