Police have arrested 30 climate activists after they blocked a bridge in central London with a sit-down protest.
The arrests on Lambeth Bridge came after Public Order Act conditions were imposed on the protest. It had been held in support of nine Insulate Britain campaigners who were jailed on Wednesday 17 November.
“Hope lies in the streets!”
The sit-in caused the bridge to be shut down to traffic for a number of hours on Saturday 20 November. The protest initially involved up to 250 people who had marched from the Royal Courts of Justice.
The demonstrators made speeches, sang songs, ate lunch and chanted slogans.
Cheers had broken out earlier as campaigners told the crowd that the nine jailed Insulate Britain climate activists are “political prisoners” and won’t be the last to be locked up. Insulate Britain posted a tweet thanking supporters after the protest:
🦺 Hope lies in the streets!
📢 Thank you to everyone who stood up today.
‼️Thank YOU for not being a bystander as this government continues to betray its people, refusing to act on the science of climate breakdown, and is complicit in enabling a project of systemic genocide. https://t.co/qFDuKg1I4f
— Insulate Britain (@InsulateLove) November 20, 2021
‘The only thing that is going to serve us is civil resistance’
The nine protesters were jailed this week for breaching an injunction designed to prevent road blockades.
Extinction Rebellion later said Saturday’s sit-down protest was to break the injunction granted to National Highways. It was in solidarity with the at least 34 people who have broken these injunctions so far, including those who were jailed this week.
Gabriella Ditton, 27, an animator from Norwich, Norfolk, was among those who took part in the Saturday’s demonstration. She said she’s been arrested six times with Insulate Britain, including once for breaking the injunction.
I expect to go to prison at some point for at least six months because I am not going to be apologetic about this.
I have known for a couple of years that the only thing that is going to serve us is civil resistance. I have faith in people coming together.
Solutions to this crisis exist, we just need the political will to do it.
Referring to Public Order Act conditions imposed on the protest, the Metropolitan Police said:
Lambeth Bridge has now been reopened, 30 arrests were made for breach of S14 conditions.
Earlier, uniformed officers had stood on Lambeth Bridge as traffic was diverted. The Metropolitan Police said this was “for the safety of all”.
‘Power to the people’
Zoe Cohen, 51, said she had travelled from her home in Warrington, Cheshire, to take part in the demonstration. Cohen said she’s “angry, distraught and grieving for the huge amount of nature that we have already lost”.
She said that “ordinary people should not have to do this and risk prison”. And she added that “any disruption is microscopic to the suffering of millions of people who are dying now across the world due to this crisis”.
Insulate Britain began a wave of protests in September. Since then, supporters have blocked the M25, roads in London including around Parliament, roads in Birmingham and Manchester and around the Port of Dover in Kent.
In a warning directed to police at the protest, Gully Bujack said:
These streets are ours and we will put one foot in front of the other, and dare you to stop us.
You can jail the resistor but not the resistance.
The group, watched closely by uniformed officers, then set off towards Westminster, chanting “power to the people”.
Cheers rang out as one campaigner told the crowd that “good people have a duty to disobey bad laws”.
Insulate Britain said it did not set up the event. Those who took part described the event as community-led.
The nine protesters were sentenced at the High Court on Wednesday after they admitted breaching an injunction by taking part in a blockade at junction 25 of the M25 during the morning rush hour on 8 October.
Insulate Britain has said it intends to continue the protests until the Government agrees to insulate homes.
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