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Dozens arrested as Insulate Britain renews roadblock campaign

·5 min read

More than 50 people have been arrested after Insulate Britain brought London’s financial districts to a standstill.

Protesters took to the streets of the City of London and Canary Wharf at around 8am on Monday, disrupting rush-hour traffic.

Officers from the Metropolitan Police and City of London Police attended to negotiate with activists, who sat in the road at the junction of Bishopsgate and Camomile Street, close to Liverpool Street.

The Met said 53 people were arrested at protest sites in Bishopsgate, Upper Thames Street, Limehouse Street and Southwark Bridge.

Insulate Britain, an offshoot of Extinction Rebellion, wants the Government to insulate all UK homes by 2030 to cut carbon emissions and has been staging protests for several weeks including on motorways and at the Port of Dover.

But the demonstrations have led to clashes with the public, including drivers who have dragged protesters out of the road.

In one incident, a man was filmed telling protesters he hoped their family members got cancer.

In the footage, the man can be heard telling the group that his father is going through cancer treatment and he hoped if anyone got the disease, it would be family members of the protesters so they “know what it’s like”.

Insulate Britain protests
Protesters from Insulate Britain blocking a road near Canary Wharf in east London. Climate group Insulate Britain had pledged to restart its road-blocking protests despite the risk of its members being jailed or fined. Picture date: Monday October 25, 2021.

He said: “If anyone gets cancer, please let it be people you know. So you know what it’s like to have your loved ones who can’t get treatment.

“You can sit here, I hope you know what it’s like. My father needs treatment and you sit here doing this. Scum. I hope if anyone gets cancer, I hope it’s your parents.. are they alive, are your parents alive?”

During the footage, a protester can be heard telling the man her mother had died of cancer, to which he replied: “Do you know what it’s like someone trying to get treatment for cancer and you’re standing like this? People are trying to get to hospital, of all places. If anyone gets cancer, please let it be your family.”

The protests on Monday were the organisation’s first since temporarily halting activities for 10 days from October 14.

Insulate Britain protests
Metropolitan Police officers work to release a woman who has glued herself to the carriageway in Bishopsgate (Sophie Corcoran/PA)

Demonstrators who superglued their hands to the ground on Monday were removed from the road by officers before being arrested and led to police vehicles.

As she was unglued, one woman claimed she was “in agony”.

Members of the public approached the protesters, with some saying they were “doing a good job” but others shouted at them as they passed by.

One man walked up to the protesters and said: “Why are you doing this? Get a job. I was trying to get to work and have had to walk just to get there. I pay my taxes.”

Insulate Britain protests
Members of the public watch as protesters from Insulate Britain cause a roadblock in Bishopsgate (Sophie Corcoran/PA)

The activists did not reply and the man left the area.

One of the protesters, Emily, said she has been arrested 14 times for her involvement in demonstrations.

Another, Tony Hill, 71, said he had travelled from near Kendal in Cumbria to the capital to take part.

He said: “I’m here today out of anger, fear and determination. The anger that my Government is failing the people of our country.

Insulate Britain protests
Police remove an Insulate Britain protester (Victoria Jones/PA)

“The governments of the world are failing everyone. Everyone says we’re at the 11th hour but we’re at midnight and nothing substantial is being done by our Government and the governments across the world.

“We’re saying insulate as many buildings as we can. It’s a no brainer. It’s something we can all do, it’s a solution.

“We’ve got the money; all we need is the will power from our Government to do it. It will save money, create jobs, save lives and save the planet. Why aren’t they doing it?”

By midday, the last of the protesters at the junctions of Bishopsgate and Camomile Street had been removed from the scene. Police left the area and traffic was flowing freely again.

Leaflets handed out to members of the public by protesters apologised for the disruption.

Insulate Britain protests
A notice from Insulate Britain handed out to drivers (Sophie Corcoran/PA)

The flyers said Insulate Britain is asking the UK Government to invest in homes across the country to make them free of fossil fuels.

The message read: “Dear driver, we are peaceful and non-violent.

“We are sorry to delay your journey. For your safety please stay in your vehicle and do not drive on the hard shoulder, this is for emergency vehicles.

“The police are on their way. They will arrest us and you will be able to continue your journey.”

Insulate Britain blocked roads on 14 days over the five weeks to October 14, with activists often gluing their hands to the carriageway to increase the length of time it took for police to remove them.

Hundreds of arrests were made, with some people detained several times.

The campaign continues despite injunctions leaving protesters facing court summons and possible imprisonment or an unlimited fine.

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