Insulate Britain protest: 19 arrested over Old Street blockade
Emma Bartholomew and Sally Patterson
- Credit: Sally Patterson
Nineteen eco activists were arrested for obstructing the highway during rush hour in Old Street this morning (October 8).
Police have now cleared the protest staged by Insulate Britain, which saw about 40 protesters blocking the road and shutting down two exits on the gyratory.
Specialist Met officers were drafted in after some protesters glued themselves to the tarmac, as police accused them of causing "unreasonable disruption to the community" as queues of traffic built up.
Campaigners from the same group mounted a simultaneous protest at junction 25 of the M25 at Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire where police made a further 16 arrests.
Insulate Britain is calling on the government to fund a national home insulation programme starting with all social housing.
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Just before midday the Met announced that roads were back open and traffic is flowing, and thanked motorists for their patience.
Insulate Britain admitted its actions on the M25 are “in breach” of an injunction obtained by the Government last month.
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Those who break injunctions can be found to be in contempt of court, but prosecutions usually take several months meaning there is no immediate impact on the protests.
Protester Karen, who had glued her hands to the floor, told the Gazette this morning: "We're aware this is causing disruption to the public, which we don't want to do, but we want the government to listen and start to take the situation regarding the climate emergency and fuel poverty seriously.
"These radical measures are a response to the radical situation at hand, there is an extreme climate emergency.
"This inconvenience is nothing compared to the serious inconvenience further down the line if our government doesn't take drastic action."
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps branded members of Insulate Britain “glued fools”.
He told LBC: “It’s dangerous, it’s really outrageous, and actually, ironically, it probably adds to pollution as cars idle, waiting for their nonsense… for them to be unglued from the road."