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58 people charged over Just Stop Oil protests on M25 – Metropolitan Police

Over the last four days, environmental activists have climbed gantries above the motorway, forcing it to close in several places.

PA Reporter
Friday 11 November 2022 15:04 GMT
Traffic comes to a halt on the M25 during a Just Stop Oil protest (JSO/PA)
Traffic comes to a halt on the M25 during a Just Stop Oil protest (JSO/PA) (PA Media)

A total of 58 people have been charged after the four-day, Just Stop Oil (JSO) protests which shut down parts of the M25 this week.

The Metropolitan Police said it had arrested 63 people during a “major operation to tackle serious disruption” by JSO which on Friday announced it was halting what it called its campaign of civil resistance on the motorway.

Over the last four days environmental activists have climbed gantries above the motorway, forcing it to close in several places.

The Met said 11 people who have been charged are due to appear at various courts on Friday.

Daniel Misfud, 46, of Totnes, Devon, is to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court.

Nicholas Onley, 60, of Tottenham, north London; and Thomas Gardener, 40, of Stapleford, Nottinghamshire; are to appear at Reading Magistrates’ Court.

Diana Hekt, 68, of Kirklees, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire; and Tez Burns, 34, of Swansea; are to appear at Brighton Magistrates’ Court.

Mair Bain, 35, of Derby;  Phoebe Plummer, 21, of Clapham, south west London; David Mann, 50, of Ipswich; Cressida Gethian, 20, of Ledbury, Herefordshire; Christopher Ford, 35, of  Cambridge; and Quido Wieswer, 18, of Pentonville, north London; are all set to appear at Colchester Magistrates’ Court.

In a statement, the group said it was halting its M25 campaign to give the Government time to consider their responsibilities, adding: “We ask that the Prime Minister consider his statement at Cop27, where he spoke of the catastrophic threat posed by the ravages of global heating, the 33 million people displaced by floods in Pakistan, and the moral and economic imperative to honour our pledges.”

A police officer was injured during Wednesday’s protests.

Essex Police said there was a collision involving the police motorcyclist and two lorries during a rolling roadblock.

Chief Constable BJ Harrington warned it is “only a matter of time” before someone is killed during a JSO protest.

Essex Police said the motorcycle officer, who was not named by the force, has thanked the public for the concern they have shown towards him as he recovers from his injuries.

The married father-of-two joined the Essex Police Roads Policing Unit in 2001.

He was equipped with the force’s latest motorcycle and protective clothing including built-in airbags which were “activated as he was thrown from his motorcycle during the incident,” a spokesman said.

He was described him as a “highly experienced officer”.

Chief Supt Simon Anslow, the senior officer leading operations on the Essex section of the M25 this week, said: “I’d like to thank everyone who was making their way to work or school or anywhere else on the M25 this week for their patience and for the support they’ve shown to our officers.”

On Friday, JSO said: “The supporters of Just Stop Oil are now the people upholding law and order and protecting civil society. Under British law, people in this country have a right to cause disruption to prevent greater harm — we will not stand by.”

On Friday, both Essex and Kent Police said they were “proactively” patrolling the M25 in order to detect and prevent any future disruption.

Surrey Police said its specialist protester removal teams worked alongside forces around the M25 this week, including Essex, Hertfordshire and Kent, to “swiftly remove those recklessly disrupting the public”.

Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Louise Rolfe said that officers had needed to try to balance people’s right to go about their business along with the right for others to protest.

She told London Live: “What we have seen of late is people conspiring to cause huge serious disruption to communities and to commuters.

“Therefore, we are responding and we are taking that very seriously. We are robust and swift in our response.

“Sometimes, it doesn’t always look like that because you see officers talking with protesters, you will see them taking time.

“If you are removing someone from a motorway gantry at height, you must do it safely. You must do it in the right way.”

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said on Wednesday his Government is “moving ahead” with legislation to give the police more powers to stop protests by groups such as JSO.

His comments came after Conservative MP for Runnymede and Weybridge, Ben Spencer, said in the Commons that the M25 protests are “causing disruption and misery to my constituents, including causing problems of access to my local hospital”.

In his reply, Mr Sunak said “we are moving ahead with legislation to give the police the powers they need to stop this type of extremist protesting”.

JSO staged 32 days of disruption from the end of September and throughout October, which the Metropolitan Police said resulted in 677 arrests with 111 people charged, and officers working a total of 9,438 additional shifts.

According to JSO, its supporters have been arrested more than 2,000 times since its campaign began on April 1.

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