Just Stop Oil activists cause M25 to be closed with latest climate protests

Protesters from the group, Just Stop Oil, have climbed gantries on the M25, causing lanes in both clockwise and anticlockwise directions to be closed.

Just Stop Oil protester on M25 gantry, the road is closed behind her. - Just Stop Oil

Just Stop Oil protesters have caused parts of the M25 to be closed due to a protest which took place on Monday morning. 

The protest, which took place on the morning of Monday 7 November 2022, caused several parts of the motorway to be closed thanks to protesters climbing gantries in several locations along the motorway.

The protest targeted gantries on both the clockwise and anticlockwise sides of the M25, beginning at 07:30, according to Just Stop Oil, and - at time of writing - the latest protester being removed at 11:35, according to an update posted to Twitter by Surrey Police.

The protest went ahead despite a police operation that was intended to prevent it. The Met Police’s Assistant Commissioner, Matt Twist, said on Sunday night that an investigation conducted by the Met Police had “strong reason to suspect the Just Stop Oil group intend to disrupt major motorway road networks,” which Mr. Twist said “would risk serious harm to the public, with reckless action to obstruct the public on a large scale.”

The investigation resulted in arrests, but clearly failed to prevent the protest in totality.

Mr. Twist also said that over 10,000 officer shifts had been used to police Just Stop Oil protests since the beginning of October. “These are officers who would otherwise be dealing with issues that matter to local communities, such as knife crime, safeguarding and responding to burglaries,” he said.

This latest protest from Just Stop Oil arrives as the COP27 international climate change talks begin in Egypt this week, and after a period of unseasonably warm weather in Europe over the past few weeks.

One of the Just Stop Oil protesters, a 24-year-old named Louise, made a video in which she said that she was protesting on an M25 gantry because “I don’t have a future. And you might hate me for doing this, and you’re entitled to hate me. But I wish you would direct all that anger and hatred at our government. They are betraying young people like me.”

The UK Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, had initially planned to skip COP27, but then U-turned on that, and will be in Egypt for the summit.

“Why does it take young people like me up on a f*cking gantry for you to listen?” said Louise, who described in the video the use of new oil and gas as “an act of murder,” citing deaths in the 40-degree heatwave in the UK this summer.

“This is an act of self-defence,” she said, “and we need you to join us in order for this to work, in order for our murderous government to take action and listen. How many more people in Pakistan, in Nigeria have to die before they listen- even in the UK!

“We will stop as soon as the government stop new oil and gas. [...] Civil resistance is all we have left.”

At the COP27, the Guardian reports that the UN secretary general, Antonio Guterres, warned “We are in the fight of our lives. And we are losing. Greenhouse gas emissions keep growing. Global temperatures keep rising. And our planet is fast approaching tipping points that will make climate chaos irreversible.”

“We are on a highway to climate hell,” Guterres said, “with our foot on the accelerator.”

Images courtesy of Just Stop Oil.

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