Sunday, May 26News For London

Just Stop Oil protesters block M25, one wails: “I don’t have a future”

Congestion chaos as activists scale motorway gantries

Image credit: Surrey Police

Significant sections of the M25 were closed Monday morning after Just Stop Oil protesters climbed gantries along England’s busiest motorway.

Just two days after a High Court Order was issued to prevent protests on the M25, activists took to the artery, leaving motorists at a standstill on stretches across London, Surrey and Kent.

Video Credit: Nicholas Dunning

Louise, 24, a tearful protester, cried: “I’m here because I don’t have a future.” Cognisant of the divisiveness of the protests, she reasoned: “You’re entitled to hate me but I wish you would direct all that anger and hatred at our government.”

Just Stop Oil demanded that the government not issue any new oil or gas licences, declaring anything less as a “death sentence”.

Officers were deployed to extract the activists from the overhead gantries and arrests were eventually made.

Stranded vehicles could be seen dotted across the lanes after the road was reopened, due to batteries failing and engines overheating during the resulting jam.

Paul Dines, 55, from Brentwood is an electrician who was caught up in the disruption: “I will lose my day’s money today, completely. I can’t start what I was meant to do now, it’s too late. I know people need to protest, but this is a bit too much.”

Sue Taylor, 46, from Dartford is an office manager whose car broke down during the blockage. She supports the protests: “I think they’re doing really well. They should clear for emergency services but what else can they do? The government isn’t listening.”

Image credit: Surrey Police

Questions have arisen as to how the protest took place despite the Metropolitan Police (MPS) announcing last night that they had arrested leaders of Just Stop Oil, foiling a plan to cause widespread disruption on the M25. 

Responding to today’s events, Matt Twist, Assistant Commissioner for MPS said: “We have reports of up to 9 junctions of M25 with activists trying to cause serious, unlawful and unreasonable disruption. Specialist officers from across South Eastern forces are on scene and dealing. We will make arrests and remove them as soon as possible, to get people moving.”

This latest protest follows months of disruption caused by Just Stop Oil in pursuit of their demands. It coincides with the COP27 climate summit in Egypt where world leaders are meeting to negotiate policies aiming to deal with climate change.