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Insulate Britain activists in heated clash with drivers after blocking Blackwall Tunnel in London

Metropolitan Police say demonstrations are unreasonable, as dozens arrested

Lamiat Sabin
Monday 04 October 2021 18:41 BST
A driver trying to get to see her mother in hospital pleaded with the activists

Insulate Britain protesters have clashed with motorists including a woman desperate to see her mother in hospital as the group staged another demonstration in London.

The group said around 50 people had blocked four sites around 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 clashed with 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, do you think I’m stupid?

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

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

Nearly 40 protesters were arrested over the action, which targeted three major routes into London, including Hanger Lane, Arnos Grove and the Blackwall Tunnel.

“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,” the Met Police said.

At around 12.30pm, it added that the protesters had been removed and the roads had been cleared, with traffic beginning to move again.

At the Blackwall Tunnel, a group of activists sat down on the northbound A102, causing large queues to build up during rush hour.

At Wandsworth Bridge, members of the public were seen repeatedly dragging protesters off the road so that motorists – including an ambulance crew – could continue their journeys.

The demonstration was the 11th day of action by the group in recent weeks. Protesters have previously targeted the M25, M4 and port of Dover.

The government took out a fresh injunction last week banning 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”.

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