53 Insulate Britain eco-protesters released by police as govt slams ‘guerrilla tactics’

28 September 2021, 17:10 | Updated: 29 September 2021, 00:39

By Joe Cook

More than 50 people arrested at an Insulate Britain protest on the M25 on Monday have been released by the Met Police under investigation.

Protesters glued themselves together and onto the road as they disrupted traffic on the M25 for the sixth time in just over two weeks - despite a High Court injunction that could see them imprisoned, fined, or having their assets seized for protesting on the motorway.

It comes as Kent Police revealed that just one person has been charged in connection with an earlier Insulate Britain protest, out of 96 arrests made by the force.

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The group - an off-shoot of Extinction Rebellion - has caused chaos on the M25 and at Dover, demanding the government take action to insulate all of Britain's social housing to tackle the climate crisis.

They’ve oftentimes outwitted the police, who have faced heavy criticism for not taking stronger action.

Despite the threats of stronger action from the police, Insulate Britain vowed to continue its action in a taunting letter to Home Secretary Priti Patel.

"We are more fearful of the loss of our country than we are of you,” they wrote.

"You can throw as many injunctions at us as you like, but we are going nowhere.

"You can raid our savings. You can confiscate our property. You can deny us our liberty and put us behind bars.

"But shooting the messenger can never destroy the message: that this country is going to hell unless you take emergency action to stop putting carbon into the air."

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On Tuesday, the group also tweeted: "Injunction? What injunction? 115 people have been involved in Insulate Britain's protests over the last two weeks.

"The arrest tally is now 438 'You can throw as many injunctions at us as you like, but we are going nowhere'."

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Following the release of the 53 people from police custody, a Department for Transport spokesperson said: "The right to protest is a fundamental principle of our democracy, but we will not tolerate the guerrilla tactics we have witnessed over the last two weeks.

"That is why we sought injunctions to put an end to this behaviour, which wreaks havoc and puts people's lives in danger.

"These injunctions are now in place, meaning that if people protest, or encourage others to do so, they face prison or an unlimited fine."

A Crown Prosecution Service spokesperson commented: "Offences committed at a protest are often summary only and if the police have sufficient evidence they can charge those themselves.

"We have told police forces that we are ready to give early advice if they come to us.

"When the CPS does get involved we will not hesitate to charge protesters, as we have done in the past, if our legal test is met."