124 Insulate Britain supporters arrested after London demonstration

The Metropolitan Police Force has arrested 124 Insulate Britain supporters after a protest on Lambeth Bridge in central London on Saturday.  

The demonstration, which saw around 250 – 300 people blocking the road, caused Lambeth Bridge to close for several hours resulting in severe congestion. Traffic was halted from about 2pm to 7pm. 

So far, the majority of protesters arrested have been released under investigation.  

The protest – which Insulate Britain said it supported but did not organise – was held in response to the imprisonment of nine Insulate Britain campaigners last week. The campaigners were jailed for breaching an injunction designed to prevent further road blockades during their protests on the M25.

On Wednesday, the day the campaigners were jailed, home secretary Priti Patel – an advocate of the new injunction – said in a tweet: “We will not stand by while these reckless and selfish criminals disrupt the freedoms and livelihoods of hard-working people.” 

Campaigners at the demonstration told the crowd that the nine Insulate Britain members jailed were “political prisoners”. 

A spokesperson for Insulate Britain said: “I am reminded of Ben Taylor’s words, 27, who is one of a group of at least 34 people who have broken the Highways England and TFL injunctions[…] Ben predicted that if the High Court chose ‘to put nine of us in prison, 100 more will step forward to take our place.'”

In a tweet, the Met police force thanked the public for their “patience while officers worked to remove the groups”. 

The Insulate Britain spokesperson also said: “Insulate Britain understands that the 124 people arrested, with an additional 300 or so people in support, were inspired to do so by Insulate Britain’s campaign of nonviolent civil resistance. (Our) campaign has sought to support and encourage people to step up and not to be a bystander at this time of great consequence.”

After a freedom of information request made by the Local Democracy Reporting Service, it has been revealed that recent Insulate Britain protests on the M25 have cost the Surrey police force around £110,000. 

The Surrey police force have said that they managed the M25 protests through overtime to avoid depleting other police response teams.  

Despite not being involved in organising the Lambeth Bridge protest, Insulate Britain has stated their support for the demonstration. They plan to continue protesting until the government agrees to make arrangements to insulate homes across Britain.

The Insulate Britain spokesperson continued: “The government has made a choice to imprison nine ordinary people this week, unfortunately this choice is not going to prevent 8,500 at least who will freeze to death in their homes in the UK this winter. 

“Insulate Britain’s campaign of nonviolent civil resistance has asked the government to get on with the job of insulating Britain’s leaky homes, and we think it is wrong that they haven’t shown the leadership necessary to do that.”

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