Insulate Britain protesters block Port of Dover

·4-min read
Insulate Britain activists block roads at the Port of Dover ferry terminal
Insulate Britain activists block roads at the Port of Dover ferry terminal

Climate-change activists have blocked the Port of Dover after a series of controversial protests on the M25 motorway.

Lorry drivers honked their horns as more than 40 protesters from Insulate Britain sat down in the middle of the A20, blocking an entrance to the port at 8.30am on Friday.

This has led to vehicles attempting to cross the Channel being stuck in queues.

The offshoot of Extinction Rebellion caused chaos on the M25 five times in the past fortnight, and have since been threatened with imprisonment if they return to the motorway.

Matthew Scott, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Kent, said the protesters struck at three different locations, the East Docks, West Docks and Jubilee Way, making it very difficult for the police to respond.

So far officers have made 17 arrests and have managed to clear two sites but one remains blocked.

The Port of Dover tweeted a statement on the disruption:

One police officer was heard telling angry motorists "we’ve just got to go along with it" before asking them to get back in their cars and wait for the protest to finish.

Another officer asked the protesters: "How long are you expecting to be here today?" One activist replied that they planned to remain "all day".

The officer said that police would "do our best to make sure things stay calm but if you work with me I’d really appreciate that".

Another officer from Kent Police told a lorry driver: "We can’t remove people because we don’t have enough police officers at the moment. Once we do, then we will. Do it once, do it properly."

Police attempt to remove Insulate Britain protesters from blocking the port - Jamie Lorriman
Police attempt to remove Insulate Britain protesters from blocking the port - Jamie Lorriman
Protesters at Dover
Protesters at Dover

Police let an ambulance through the traffic caused by the protest. When protesters were told, they jumped up, shouted "ambulance" and it was let through.

Two protesters climbed on top of a tanker and tied their banner to the handrail on the roof.

When asked: "Is this your tanker?" They replied: "It is now!"

One of the protesters on top of the tanker said their reception had been "surprisingly positive" compared to the M25 protests.

An Insulate Britain protester climbs on top of a tanker at Dover
An Insulate Britain protester climbs on top of a tanker at Dover
Protesters said they intended to remain at the port 'all day' - Jamie Lorriman
Protesters said they intended to remain at the port 'all day' - Jamie Lorriman

A lorry driver, leaning from his cab window, shouted: "What a bunch of idiots. What a bunch of f------ idiots."

Peter, a café worker who was stuck in traffic right in front of the protesters, said he was trying to get to work but was sympathetic to their cause.

"I admire the b---- to do what they’ve done to be honest. It’s a bit annoying for me but I’m not too bothered about it - it’s for a cause they care about."

'I just want to go home'

One nurse who was stuck in the tailback said: "I’ve just finished a night shift - I just want to go home."

A spokesperson for the group, which wants the Government to insulate and retrofit homes across the UK to cut climate emissions, said: "We are blocking Dover this morning to highlight that fuel poverty is killing people in Dover and across the UK.

"We need a Churchillian response: we must tell the truth about the urgent horror of the climate emergency. Change at the necessary speed and scale requires economic disruption.

"We wish it wasn't true, but it is. It's why the 2000 fuel protests got a U-turn in policy and gave (Tony) Blair his biggest challenge as prime minister."

Among the protesters is Theresa Norton, the mother of the group's spokesman, Liam Norton, who stormed off Good Morning Britain after being accused of hypocrisy over allegedly not insulating his own home.

Mr Norton was mocked following his appearance on the ITV show when he compared the group’s struggle to Winston Churchill's fight against the Nazis.

Just hours after storming off the set, Mr Norton was arrested by detectives from Scotland Yard on suspicion of conspiracy to cause public nuisance.

So far over 200 protesters have been arrested over protests on the M25.

On Monday Boris Johnson said the environmental protesters who blocked the M25 were undermining their cause and condemned their actions.

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