Today the brazen eco-warriors who blocked the M25 for the third time this week have praised the police for their safety.
A crowd of Insulate Britain stirred up travel chaos again this morning when they stormed Britain’s busiest motorway – and vowed to return “as soon as possible”.
Activists dressed in hi-vis clothes – who have already been arrested and released twice since Monday – targeted Junction 3 in Swanley, Kent just after 8.30 a.m.
He drowned himself in the middle of the tarmac and tailbacks quickly formed.
Several furious drivers lost their patience, with a man in a white van shouting: “Go to work you’re lazy b******s.”
Another person, a contractor for DX Logistics, which supplies medical supplies, said: “We’re angry about this. The van stuck in traffic here has ventilators, drips, everything.
“This protest is troubling us. We can’t bring any medical supplies to hospitals, which should have arrived by now. It’s ridiculous, it’s wrong. We’re outraged.”
Police were in position ready to flock, and were later pictured clearing environmentalists off the road – but the group actually thanked them.
Sandy, 31, who works as a teacher, told Online: “There was a lot of yelling at us by motorists on Monday and Wednesday. Today, we are well protected by the police and there are fewer opportunities for this.”
She said today was the third time she was arrested this week – but she will keep coming back to shut down the M25.
“I feel calm. It’s out of my hands now. If I’m released, I’ll be back here,” she said.
“Losing my job is a small concern compared to what is happening if we don’t reduce our carbon emissions.”
Fourteen workers were swiftly dragged off the road and chased away by the police.
But one protester, Kathy, a mother of two, stuck to the street.
She said: “I’m really scared. I don’t want to do this, I’m doing this for my kids.
“I’m only doing this because I’m desperate.”
The group is calling on the government to introduce social housing to all homes in the UK by 2025.
Oliver, 41, an activist from London, said: “When the police arrested us earlier this week the police wouldn’t interview us – they released us without bail conditions.
“I told two officers that I was going to commit the crime again. They simply advised against it.
“I was very clear that I would return to the motorway. We all told him of our intentions.
“I think it’s weird because they’re supposed to stop people from committing crimes. And here they’re letting us go and breaking the law all over again.
“If it’s so dangerous, they are now responsible because they are fully aware of our intentions. Why are they letting us do this?”
Traffic came to a halt for hours on September 15, two days after some 89 campaigners sparked travel chaos during a crowded blockade on Monday.
A mob blocked Junction 23 in South Mims, Hertfordshire, while a second group blocked the main carriageway from Regate to Junction 9 in Leatherhead in Surrey.
Some people also pasted their hands on the road in the Dartford crossing area at Junctions 1A and 1B.
Police in Essex, Hertfordshire, Surrey and Kent arrested dozens of climate change protesters after widespread chaos.
But it is understood that most of the campaigners were released under investigation without bail conditions.
Cameron, 31, who works as a carpenter, said this morning: “Wednesday was my birthday in the police cell. I’ve told my clients I can’t work today.
“I’m taking time off, I’m self-employed, it affects my business. Every year 10,000 people are dying because they can’t afford to turn on their heating.
“I’m worried about the confrontation – I think people are quite angry with the immediate situation.
I hope we can get our message across by creating disruption through civil disobedience. I’m not doing it because I want to.
“But we’re trying to look at the long-term situation. It’s nothing compared to what’s to come.
“I hope we can get our message across by creating disruption through civil disobedience. I’m not doing it because I want to.”
“I’ve never been arrested before. That’s not what we want. One of the girls was left in cuffs for three hours, with scars on her hands.”
Fellow campaigner Oliver said: “It’s terrifying to sit in the middle of the street and think about the inconvenience, but there’s another important thing going on here.
“I think I’m doing the right thing. We’ll be here again and again. I don’t care anymore if it affects my life.”
‘I’ll be back’
Despite their pockets being searched and handcuffed, the group continued to sing a song about “standing together”.
“We sing to keep our spirits up,” said Cathy.
It took Kent Police an hour to detain 14 protesters and put them into five police vans to detain them.
Elsewhere, Insulate Britain blocked the M11 roundabout at Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire at 9 a.m., Junction 9 in Leatherhead, Surrey, 28 near Brentwood in Essex, and Junction 1 of the M3.
A total of 48 protesters were arrested after the rush-hour mayhem.
Priti Patel has warned “selfish” eco-warriors blocking roads under new laws to tackle illegal demonstrations.
She urged police to take “decisive action” and vowed to target protests under the government’s Police, Crime, Punishment and Courts Bill.
She described the group’s “guerrilla tactics” as “totally unacceptable” and warned that under the new powers, they could be sentenced to prison.
“This government will not allow a small minority to cause significant disruption to the lives and livelihoods of the hard-working majority,” Ms Patel said.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps also called the demonstrations “dangerous and hostile”.
He added on Twitter: “We all agree that climate change must be tackled, but nothing is gained by such behavior, putting drivers at risk and increasing pollution.”
Organizers could face up to six months in prison or a fine of up to £2,500.
Earlier this week a four-vehicle sabotage on the M25 was blamed on climate change protesters who blocked the carriageway.
A 50-year-old woman was taken to hospital in critical condition after an accident at Junction 9 for Leatherhead, Surrey.