Drivers drag Just Stop Oil protesters away during London road blockages

Police have made a number of arrests after anti-oil activists blocked four roads in the capital on Saturday.

Lucas Cumiskey
Saturday 29 October 2022 15:23 BST
Screengrab from a video posted by Just Stop Oil of one of their activists being dragged off the street in south London (Just Stop Oil)
Screengrab from a video posted by Just Stop Oil of one of their activists being dragged off the street in south London (Just Stop Oil) (PA Media)

Furious motorists dragged Just Stop Oil protesters out of the way as activists simultaneously blocked four roads in London on Saturday.

The anti-oil campaign group said 61 of its supporters walked onto Charing Cross Road, Kensington High Street, Harleyford Street, just off Kennington Park Road, and Blackfriars Road, and sat down holding banners, causing traffic delays, at 12pm.

They are demanding that the Government halts all new oil and gas licences and consents, and police made a total of 33 arrests.

The protest outside Oval Station in Harleyford Street, south London, sparked ugly scenes as drivers remonstrated with activists and forcibly tried to move them.

Drivers dragged protesters out of the road but they persistently returned to retake their places.

A man hurled a traffic bollard onto the road near where they were sitting and people snatched their signs and chucked them on the ground.

One driver appeared to accelerate towards them before stopping while another mounted the pavement to get around them.

A motorist said: “We’ve asked you nicely, you are doing the wrong thing by blocking innocent people going about their business.

“Can you please move before we pick you up and move you?

“You are stopping the wrong people, I’ve got to go pick my kids up, I’ve got to get my lorry back to work. We can’t help you, go to Westminster.”

Theresa Norton, 64, a Labour councillor in Scarborough who was supporting the protest, said: “In the grand scheme of things, a half an hour’s disruption is not a massive sacrifice.

“It’s these people that are making the biggest sacrifice, they’ll be arrested, go to a police cell, they might even have to spend 48 hours in the police cell, go to court on Monday.

“These are the real people making the sacrifices even though people may not realise it.

“We’re doing it for everyone, no people here is doing it out of selfish reasons.”

She added: “We all have to undergo non-violence training, so that’s a day’s training with exactly this scenario, people being dragged out, dragged away, violently sometimes, and just calmly not reacting, calmly moving back into place if and when is possible.

“So, we are trained for this situation and we know there’s a lot of anger, which is regrettable, nobody enjoys it, but we are here to make a point.”

Just Stop Oil said the road blockages follow four weeks of civil resistance by its supporters during which the police have made 626 arrests.

The Metropolitan Police tweeted: “We are aware of Just Stop Oil protests in Kensington High Street, Charing Cross Road, Kennington Park Road and Blackfriars Road. Police were immediately on scene and a number of arrests have been made.

Protesters have used ‘lock-ons’ and glued themselves to the road. Charing Cross Road has now been cleared and is back open to traffic. Work is ongoing to reopen the other roads as soon as possible.”

The force later said officers had removed the protesters and the roads were open again, and a total of 33 people had been arrested and taken into custody.

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