Insulate Britain protesters stopped from blocking M25 but target roads in Manchester and Birmingham

Activists fail to get onto the M25 but are successful in blocking a key road leading to Manchester airport

Holly Bancroft
Tuesday 02 November 2021 16:00
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<p>Police officers detain a protester at an Insulate Britain roadblock near to the the South Mimms roundabout at the junction of the M25 and A1. </p>

Police officers detain a protester at an Insulate Britain roadblock near to the the South Mimms roundabout at the junction of the M25 and A1.

Insulate Britain activists launched a nation-wide campaign on Tuesday morning, attempting to block major roads in Manchester, Birmingham and Hertfordshire.

Eco-protesters, who tried to block the M25, were arrested by police before their protest could begin. But other activists were successful in halting the traffic on a key road leading to Manchester airport and a road running through the centre of Birmingham.

Nearer London, a number of protesters attempted to target Junction 23 of the M25 at morning rush hour but more than a dozen officers and seven police vehicles were already on the scene.

Police officers stopped the eco activists from getting onto the carriageway, with twenty people arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to cause a public nuisance. Four people were also arrested on suspicion of causing criminal damage. A 79-year-old vicar, Reverend Sue Parfitt, was one of those detained.

However the protest group were successful in blocking a road near Manchester’s airport on Tuesday morning.

Pictures of activists sat down on the M56 appeared on social media, with the police later announcing that they had arrested eleven people. They said the majority of protesters had glued themselves to the road and were detained on suspicion of causing danger to road-users.

A handful of protesters also sat down in the Great Charles Middleway road running through Birmingham city centre. Highways group West Midlands Road said that the demonstration had caused delays but that it was cleared by about 10:30am.

Around 60 people were involved in the nation-wide civil resistance campaign, according to the environmental activist group.

Reporting on the failed Insulate Britain protest on the M25, Hertfordshire Police said in a statement on Twitter: “Police were called at 7:45am today (Tuesday 2 November) to reports of protesters near junction 23 (Bignells Corner) of the M25.

“Officers are on the scene and working to resolve the disruption as quickly as possible. Several people have been arrested.”

Police officers were seen lifting activists from the pavement beside the road at Junction 23 and putting them in the back of a van.

One protester, Jess, told LBC: “Sadly not today, we didn’t manage to make it onto the road. The police were here as we arrived so we’re now just sat here on the side of the road.”

She was asked if she was going to try and get back onto the road, but gestured up to a police officer who was holding her jacket and said: “This officer has obviously arrested me already.

“This is the seventh time I’ve been arrested.. I think it’s really really important. I’ve read the statistics about the climate stuff, I’ve read the fuel poverty stuff, I keep hearing about how many thousands of people are going to die... I’m really feeling this sense of urgency.”

The activists were effectively banned from all major roads in England last week after a court ruling approved an injuction against protests on 4,300 miles of motorways and A-roads.

Greater Manchester Police confirmed that they were called to a protest on Wilmslow Road (A538) close to Manchester airport. They said in a statement: “We’re working at the scene to minimise disruption and we’ll provide updates in due course.

“Delays are expected and we ask people travelling to avoid the area if possible.”

They later added that the traffic was still moving and there was still access to the M56 and to Manchester airport. By the mid-afternoon all roads in the area had been returned to normal.

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “I can’t see how this type of protest does anything other than alienate people from the climate cause. Have been reassured that Greater Manchester Police are working to get things moving as soon as possible.”

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