Just Stop Oil protest on Dartford Crossing ends as activists arrested

Traffic was diverted from Thames bridge for days as pair hung high above the roadway

Liam James
Tuesday 18 October 2022 20:00 BST
Just Stop Oil activist hangs nearly 450ft above Dartford crossing in makeshift bed

The two Just Stop Oil protesters who blocked the Dartford Crossing have been arrested and removed from the bridge.

Specialist police officers used a raised platform to reach the pair who hung themselves from cable supports on the 450-foot high Queen Elizabeth II (QEII) Bridge over the River Thames.

The environmental protesters claimed in a statement to have “successfully disrupted oil supplies to Kent and the southeast for 36 hours” and said more activists would be “stepping up day after day, causing disruption and putting their liberty on the line”.

The QEII Bridge was closed on Monday and Tuesday due to the stunt by the environmental group, which is calling for the government to remove approval for all new oil and gas licences.

National Highways said on Tuesday morning there were about six miles of congestion on either side of the crossing.

Chief Superintendent of Essex Police Simon Anslow said in a tweet from the force: “We cannot tolerate people carrying out activity which puts lives at risk and prevents people from going about their lives.

“Alongside our partners, we worked hard to resolve this complex situation as quickly and safely as possible.

“Now the situation has been resolved, National Highways will make the decision about when and how the bridge can re-open.”

Mr Anslow added: “I want to again reiterate; we are not in any way anti-protest, and we will always seek to facilitate safe protest where we can. However, it is unacceptable for people to think they can put lives in danger with irresponsible actions.

A Just Stop Oil protester hangs from the bridge (PA)

Just Stop Oil said that the two protesters cooperated with police but added the group will “continue in civil resistance to harmful politics and our criminal government. To protect our rights, freedoms and the rule of law”.

The A282 Dartford Crossing is the only way to cross the Thames east of London by road. The 1.7-mile QEII Bridge southbound and two 0.8-mile tunnels northbound link Essex and Kent.

The A282 also connects directly at both ends with the M25 Motorway, one of the busiest in Europe.

Just Stop Oil has staged dozens of protests in recent weeks, mostly disrupting road traffic with lines of activists, some of whom have glued themselves in place by the hand.

Home secretary Suella Braverman has vowed to crack down on protesters employing the so-called “guerilla tactics” favoured by Just Stop Oil and Extinction Rebellion, another environmental group.

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