Met Police: We can't just 'yank' glued protesters off the ground

4 November 2021, 09:06 | Updated: 4 November 2021, 17:47

Insulate Britain block Parliament Square

By Sophie Barnett

The Met Police has hit back at those criticising their handling of Insulate Britain's demonstration at Parliament, saying they can't wade in and "haphazardly yank" glued protesters off the ground.

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Around 50 protesters from Insulate Britain blocked traffic outside Parliament in central London today, causing travel chaos.

The Met Police were quick to the scene, but a number of protesters had already glued themselves to the ground shortly after 9am.

The force faced criticism of its handling of the protest on Twitter, and was quick to issue a defence of its actions.

Replying to a Tweet which claimed officers were cordoning protesters off for their safety, the Met said this was "not an entirely fair reflection of events".

"We have moved people and made arrests," the force said.

Read more: Eco mob Insulate Britain cost Met police £2m in just four weeks

Read more: Eco protesters tell court they feel 'bullied' as £900k cost of blockades is revealed

"Please note, some activists had glued themselves to the ground. We cannot haphazardly rush in and yank people away when they are glued."

The force confirmed that 59 arrests were made, with protesters being remove from the roads by 2pm.

The group of campaigners was split into two groups, one blocking traffic between the Houses of Parliament and Parliament Square, and the other to the north of Westminster Bridge.

The Met Police were quickly on scene and were filmed taking banners out of protesters hands, with specialist teams drafted in to unglue members of the group.

Police confiscate Insulate Britain banners

One onlooker claimed that a man stood on a protesters hand - which was glued to the ground - as he walked past.

"This is a peaceful, non-violent protest," the onlooker told LBC.

"A gentleman down there just stamped on an elderly ladies hand.

"The police are doing nothing - and that is blatant assault.

"These are non-violent protesters, purely highlighting government inaction and the 8,500 deaths from fuel poverty every year.

"He actually asked her if her hand was glued to the floor and stamped on it. That is disgusting."

Meanwhile Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle said it is "totally unacceptable" Insulate Britain are "interfering with democracy", after Conservative MP Darren Henry (Broxtowe) was unable to enter Parliament and participate in Transport questions due to being "trapped outside" by the group.

He told MPs: "We have got a slight problem. Darren Henry is trapped outside because Insulate Britain have blocked the access to the House.

"This is totally unacceptable. This is interfering with democracy. This is not what should happen and it is a tragedy that those constituents are not going to be represented by the member for Broxtowe."

The protest follows a number of nationwide disruptions earlier this week, where activists targeted roads in Birmingham, London and Manchester.

Read more: Truss: Insulate Britain are not heroes and give environmentalism 'a bad name'

The demonstration comes as an LBC exclusive revealed the price of policing Insulate Britain protests around London.

Figures obtained by LBC show the demonstrations cost the Metropolitan Police nearly £2m in the first four weeks of the group's activity.

Read more: Police swoop on eco mob and stop planned protest at M25 junction

Police officer accuses eco-protesters of littering

Court documents last week said just the first three days of Insulate Britain protests had an "economic cost" of almost £900,000.

Andy Trotter, former Deputy Assistant Commissioner at the Metropolitan Police and former Chief Constable of the British Transport Police, said it's a "shocking use of public money that could easily have been used for something better".

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