Insulate Britain activists were dragged away by irate motorists today as the carried out yet another road-blocking protest, with 40 of them bringing misery on the M25.
The demonstrators ran onto the road by traffic lights at junction 31 of the motorway near Thurrock on the north side of the Dartford Crossing which links Essex to Kent.
But motorists got out of their cars and dragged the protesters off the road while they were still in a seated position, with one man seen ripping banners out of their hands.
A lorry driver was filmed taking his vehicle right up to the protests, while a mother taking her 11-year-old son to school shouted at the activists to leave the road.
The group, an offshoot of Extinction Rebellion, said it was the 13th time that its activists had caused disruption on motorways or A roads over the past four weeks.
Police officers remove Insulate Britain activists as they block junction 31 of the M25 today
Police remove Insulate Britain activists as they block junction 31 of the M25 this morning
Insulate Britain protesters on the M25 at junction 31 in Thurrock, Essex, this morning
Protesters from Insulate Britain block the M25 at junction 31, near the Dartford Crossing today
An Essex Police spokesman said: ‘We’re on scene and have made arrests following reports of people blocking the slip road of the M25 at J31 in Thurrock.
‘We were called at 8.26am and officers were on scene within five minutes. We’re trying to resolve the situation as quickly and safely as possible.’
Yesterday, protesters set light to court injunction papers that had been individually served on them, on the pavement outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London.
A High Court hearing was taking place over three injunctions granted to National Highways, covering the M25, Port of Dover and major A roads around London.
Insulate Britain activists block a roundabout on the M25 in junction 31 in Essex this morning
The demonstrators caused chaos on the M25 at Junction 31 and the London Road A1090 today
Activists were warned by David Elvin QC, on behalf of National Highways, that a bid to prove the protestors are in contempt of court – and thus liable to be jailed – could come ‘sooner rather than later’. A further hearing will take place next week.
Liam Norton, from Insulate Britain, said today: ‘In ten years’ time when fuel crises are catastrophic, when the food has run out and when people are experiencing unsurvivable heat waves, what would you be wishing you had done now?
‘We think you’ll be wishing you had sat on the road with Insulate Britain doing whatever it took to protect current and future generations. So come join us on the road.’
Dr Diana Warner, an Insulate Britain supporter, also said today: ‘Many people are going out of their way to thank us. Some come out of their cars to thank us, some are police officers involved with our arrests.
Protesters from Insulate Britain stand in front of cars at junction 31 of the M25 this morning
Insulate Britain demonstrators near the Dartford Crossing in Thurrock, Essex, this morning
Police speak to protesters from Insulate Britain blocking the M25 at junction 31 this morning
‘To them, we bring hope – we haven’t yet given up. We are still pushing for life saving changes. It is a big step to move from thanking us to taking action.
‘But if you make some move to help us, however small, you will be helping us to achieve change. Please check out the website insulatebritain.com ‘
Earlier this week, Prince Charles said he understood why eco activists took to the streets, but warned they could be doing more damage than good by blocking roads.
The heir to the throne told the BBC that he disagreed with the group’s ‘destructive’ tactics, but understood its members’ ‘despair’, adding: ‘Young people feel nothing is ever happening, so of course they’re going to get frustrated.’
Meanwhile an Insulate Britain protester arrested for blocking the M25 was this week revealed to be the wife of a Transport for London director, who has now stepped down from his £170,000-a-year role.
Cathy Eastburn had previously vowed to ‘unleash hell’ on drivers during her protesting, despite her long-term partner Benedict Plowden’s role in charge of the Covid Restart and Recovery Scheme.
It is understood TfL bosses were aware of her views and actions, but insist it was Mr Plowden who resigned for unrelated reasons to ‘pursue new opportunities’.