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Two months of chaos: A timeline of Insulate Britain's disruptive protests
17 November 2021, 11:43 | Updated: 17 November 2021, 13:34
Insulate Britain sentenced for breaking court order
Eco group Insulate Britain have caused travel chaos across the country over the past two months. Here's a timeline of their demonstrations.
Monday 13 September
The group's first protest took place on Monday 13 September. They blocked multiple junctions of the M25. A total of 78 arrests were made, and it took police from five different forces two hours to clear the protesters.
Later that day they vowed to cause further disruption until the Government agreed to their demands.
Wednesday 15 September
The second protest was also on the M25. Protesters blocked the M25 carriageway and a number of roundabouts. A total of 71 people were arrested, but police were criticised after being filmed offering to help protesters.
They told police they would return to the roads as soon as possible when they were released.
'Insulate Britain' protesters blockade M25
Furious drivers told LBC they would lose their jobs because they would be made late, and a four-car collision happened only a mile from the protest site.
Friday 17 September
A total of 79 protesters attempted to block the M25 for the third time in a week. They targeted roundabouts and junctions.
Police were waiting for them but did not manage to intercept all of them, although they did shut down the protest much quicker than previous days. Protesters also poured paint onto the road, causing further disruption.
Responding to Home Secretary Priti Patel, who called the protests "unacceptable", the group said: "What is unacceptable, is the deaths of eight and a half thousand people from fuel poverty. Also unacceptable, is the fact that Boris will not get on with the job of retrofitting UK’s leaky homes."
There were many arrests at their third protest, but many were released the following day.
Sunday 19 September
The group wrote to the Highways Agency saying their protests would continue from the following Monday at 7am, and asked them to reduce the speed limit on the M25 to keep protesters safe.
Monday 20 September
In the group's fourth protest, M25 slip roads and the carriageway were blocked in several locations. Paint was also poured onto the road, and 41 people were arrested.
The group penned an open letter to Priti Patel asking her to agree to their demands. They issued an ultimatum - if the Government issued a "meaningful, public statement to insulate the housing stock of the UK by 9pm tonight", the group said, "disruption to the M25 network will cease".
Tuesday 21 September
Both carriageways were blocked at J10 of the M25 and more paint was poured onto the road. A total of 38 people were arrested.
Eco mob blocks the M25 again
Witnessed by LBC, it was the first time the group blocked the actual carriageway of the motorway.
Police officers dragging protestors off the M25
Wednesday 22 September
On the day a court granted an injunction to keep them off the M25, around 60 protesters spoke about their cause in front of the Home Office and burnt their police release papers.
Speaking on a loudspeaker at a protest in central London, one of the group said: "If I'm arrested at any time, at a convenient moment I will go out and I will continue to obstruct highways."
Friday 24 September
In their sixth protest, the group blocked the A20 at the Port of Dover. More than 40 protesters took part.
A total of 39 people were arrested, and it prompted a second injunction granted to National Highways, keeping protesters from occupying the A20 and strategic roads linked to the Port of Dover.
Angry motorists clashed with the activists who sat in front of lorries.
One woman said she was being stopped from getting to her granddaughter, while a man shouted: "We need insulating from you!"
Another said to the activists: "Do you realise that you're actually losing the cause because I would've supported you but I've got children that are supposed to be going to school... you've got no respect from me whatsoever – none."
Insulate Britain block access to the Port of Dover ferry terminal
A protester told LBC that demonstrating in Westminster wouldn't work as the police would move them on.
She said they were causing disruption to draw attention to what she called the Government's "inaction".
"True, it hasn't worked up til now but how long does it take for the Government to make a meaningful statement?" she told LBC.
"And we will continue - all the Government has to do is make a statement to accept this programme which we've put forward is a workable programme."
Motorists argue with eco-protesters on tanker
Monday 27 September
The group returned to the M25 for the sixth time - their seventh protest overall.
This was the first protest that openly defied an injunction. 52 protesters attended, and the group later wrote a letter to Priti Patel saying they were "more fearful of the loss of our country than we are of you".
Wednesday 29 September
The group blocked the M25 at J3 twice in one day. It was another breach of the injunction.
A spokesperson said: "We are going nowhere."
Eleven people were arrested at the first protest, and 16 at the second one.
Thursday 30 September
Insulate Britain blocked the M25 for the third time that week, this time targeting J30. The group said they were "raising the tempo this week" because of the lack of "meaningful response" from the Government.
Eco-protesters block access to the M25
Friday 1 October
This time the group branched out, blocking the M1 and the M4. There were around 30 protesters. In a press release the group said it was the tenth time they had blocked major roads - but in reality it was more than that.
Clashes between the public and protesters stepped up a notch, with videos showing a driver violently ripping posters away from campaigners.
Angry motorist rips signs from Insulate Britain protestors
Monday 4 October
Two days after the Government took out another injunction, the group targeted other major routes around London, with 54 protesters blocking the Blackwall Tunnel - north and south - Hanger Lane and Wandsworth Bridge.
LBC witnessed a tearful woman pleading with the group at the Blackwall Tunnel, saying she was trying to follow her mum, who was being taken to hospital in an ambulance.
After branding the protesters "selfish" she later tried to reason with them, crouching where they gathered in the road and saying: "We all believe on what you're doing but i just need to get to my mum... everybody agrees with you."
The woman then asked protesters why they were there, to which one of the protesters replied: "No one is doing anything."
The woman responded: "But that's not my fault! And my mum is the one in an ambulance on the way to hospital!"
Woman pleads with eco-mob blocking Blackwall Tunnel
Police made 38 arrests across London.
Over the next few days, the group was criticised by various politicians at the Tory party conference, and by Sadiq Khan, who said they were going about it in the wrong way.
PM Hits out at Insulate Britain
Friday 8 October
Approximately 40 protesters blocked the M25 at J25 and the A501, breaching the injunction again. They accuse Grant Shapps of "missing the point".
LBC witnessed a furious mother hitting out at protesters for impeding her daughter's journey to school.
"My daughter is late to school," shouted the woman.
"You are messing with children’s education because you are selfish."
Asked by an LBC reporter what she thought about the protesters, the female driver replied: "I think it’s a disgrace, an absolute disgrace."
"absolute disgrace" furious driver blocked on M25 by Insulate Britain
Transport for London took out a High Court injunction to ban Insulate Britain from obstructing traffic at 14 locations across London.
Meanwhile, a YouGov poll found the group's protests were opposed by almost 75 per cent of Brits, with just 18 per cent supporting them.
Wednesday 13 October
Around 40 people blocked the M25 near J31 and the A1090 near Dartford Crossing. Their press release from that day was titled "the Government should be in prison, not Insulate Britain".
LBC witnessed an enraged mother clashing with the group, demanding they move to let her take her son to school.
Furious mum argues with eco-mob on school run
The woman's son can be seen standing out of the car and he exchanges words with protesters too.
"I don't care what the issue is, my son is 11, he needs to get to school today," the furious mother is seen shouting in LBC footage.
"So move out the way and let me get my son to school!"
A lorry driver also told LBC he had missed out on a job after being prevented from getting to an interview.
HGV driver loses job after eco-mob blocks roads
Thursday 14 October
The group pen an open letter to the Prime Minister Boris Johnson saying they will suspend their campaign until October 25, vowing to return then if no meaningful promise of action is made by the Government.
In the letter, Insulate Britain wrote: "Ahead of COP26, Insulate Britain will suspend its campaign of civil resistance until Monday 25th October.
"In light of the speech you made (to the UN on the 22nd September) in which you recognised that "We are approaching that critical turning point – in less than two months – when we must show that we are capable of learning, and maturing, and finally taking responsibility for the destruction we are inflicting, not just upon our planet but ourselves", we ask you to use this time to signal that you believe what you say."
On October 24, the group vowed to return.
Monday 25 October
Their campaign restarted on Monday 25 October, with the group saying they were "gutted" that they had to return after the Government did not promise to meet their demands.
Police drag protesters away from busy London junction
A total of 61 protesters blocked three locations across the City of London - Upper Thames Street, Bishopsgate and Limehouse Causeway.
Drivers reacted with fury, with police having to intervene to stop a motorist driving into protesters.
Police forced to stop van driving at eco-protesters
Wednesday 27 October
The group defied a super injunction to block the A40 in west London and a roundabout in Dartford.
They said there had been 690 arrests so far.
At this protest, a member of the public sprayed protesters with ink whilst another played the bagpipes at them.
Insulate Britain campaigners squirted with ink on A40
Later that day, seven protesters tried to get onto the M25, but they were intercepted by Kent Police.
Friday 29 October
Protesters tried a different tactic, with 14 campaigners walking down the white lanes on the M25, forcing traffic to slow down but not stop.
Eco protesters wander down M25 towards oncoming traffic
Tuesday 2 November
The group branched out further, blocking major roads in Birmingham and Manchester as well as London.
They blocked the M25 J23 in London, M56 J6 in Manchester and the A4400 in Birmingham.
But police put a stop to the protest on the M25 before it got started, much to the relief of motorists.
Wednesday 3 November
Nine protesters were summoned to appear at the High Court on 16 November. The group said a further 23 are expected to be summoned in the coming days.
Thursday 4 November
A total of 62 protesters blocked roads near Parliament Square. Members of the public are getting increasingly annoyed, with one protester having their hand - which was glued to the road - stamped on.
Insulate Britain block Parliament Square
A total of 59 arrests were made, and police defended their handling of the protests.
Tuesday 16 November
Nine protesters appeared at the High Court. They told LBC they are "terrified" and are expecting jail time.
Insulate Britain campaigner 'crapping himself' as horror of jail looms
Wednesday 17 November
The nine are sentenced to jail. Six were jailed for four months, two for three, and one for six.
Tracey Mallaghan makes statement at High Court as Insulate Britain activists are jailed