Just Stop Oil eco-activists halt traffic again, on same day police get fresh powers to clear protesters from roads

14 June 2023, 12:23 | Updated: 14 June 2023, 12:33

Just Stop Oil blocked up several streets in London on Wednesday morning
Just Stop Oil blocked up several streets in London on Wednesday morning. Picture: Just Stop Oil

By Kit Heren

Activists from Just Stop Oil have shut down traffic in London again, as the police gained powers to stop protesters from blocking roads.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Eco-activists were at Chiswick Roundabout, Shepherd's Bush Road, North End Road and Savoy Circus in west London between 8am and 9am on Wednesday morning, blocking rush hour traffic into the capital.

Commuters could be seen in videos posted online reacting in frustration, beeping their horns and calling for the protesters to leave the road.

One angry driver shouted "I want to move now", while another called out "Get out the f***ing way bruv, get out the way then, move man".

The Chiswick Roundabout protest started at 8.03am and was over by 8.21am. The Shepherds Bush Road protest began at 8.27am and was cleared at 8.47am.

Listen and subscribe to Unprecedented: Inside Downing Street on Global Player

The North End Road protest involved 15 people and began at 8.42am before finishing at 8.47am, while the A40 protest began at 8.43am before being cleared at 9.07am.

Other protesters were marching on Westminster Bridge, Tower Bridge, Blackfriars Road, London Bridge and Vauxhall Bridge Road in central London later in the morning.

Nine protesters were arrested across all the various marches for not clearing off the road after police told them to. Just Stop Oil claimed that one of the protesters was arrested unlawfully, because officers did not issue the correct order.

It comes as an attempt to foil new government measures aiming to make it easier for police to tackle disruptive protests was blocked by the House of Lords on Tuesday night.

Read more: Furious scaffolders take on Just Stop Oil activists as protestor pushed off road and slammed onto van bonnet

Read more: Just Stop Oil start 'slow cycling' protests, with onlookers bemused as police steer eco-activists onto the pavement

Just Stop Oil have been protesting again on Wednesday
Just Stop Oil have been protesting again on Wednesday. Picture: Just Stop Oil
Just Stop Oil have been protesting on Wednesday
Just Stop Oil have been protesting on Wednesday. Picture: Just Stop Oil
Just Stop Oil on Tower Bridge
Just Stop Oil on Tower Bridge. Picture: Just Stop Oil

Home Secretary Suella Bravermans' proposals lower the threshold for what is considered "serious disruption" to community life from "significant" and "prolonged" to "more than minor".

They will also allow police officers to take into account "any relevant cumulative disruption" of repeated protests.

The secondary legislation is controversial because the government had previously tried to introduce the same changes when the Public Order Bill went through Parliament, but they were rejected by the House of Lords at the time by 254 votes to 240.

The move was branded a "constitutional outrage" by the opposition in Parliament.

Labour frontbencher Lord Coaker said: "Primary legislation was defeated. So what does the Government do? It doesn't bring forward new primary legislation, it tries to sneak through, in an underhand way, secondary legislation without proper public consultation.

Ben Kentish challenges Just Stop Oil protester

"They undermine the workings of our parliamentary democracy and, as such, it is shocking."

The Green Party tried to bring a motion to kill the proposals, but the Lords voted it down. Labour did not vote against Ms Braverman's proposals, but brought a so-called 'regret motion', which was backed by the majority of voting peers.

Just Stop Oil have been protesting on and off since February 2022, in an attempt to halt new oil and gas exploration. Some 2,200 people have been arrested and 138 people have been jailed.