Just Stop Oil activists spark public anger after targeting the East End

Just Stop Oil activists have blocked a road in the East End in what is the 30th day of the group’s campaign this month.

According to the group, 15 supporters walked onto Commercial Street at 12.15pm on Sunday. They then proceeded to lock onto each other while some also glued themselves to the tarmac on the busy east London street.

This is just the latest protest from the group which has resulted in 651 arrests, the Met has said.

The protests have been orchestrated in order to call on the Government to halt all new oil and gas projects.

In one video posted by the group on social media, members of the public can be seen dragging an activist from the road.

In another, a man shouts for the group to “move out of the road”, before kicking a sign and driving around the protest.

In a statement, the Met Police later said 11 people were arrested for obstructing the highway.

Hazel Agombar, 53, a mother of three and charity worker from Winchester said: “I’ve spent 15 years ‘soft’ campaigning on the climate crisis. I’ve got to the point now where I feel driven to take direct action.

“I would never have believed that I – a quiet middle age woman – would find myself preparing for action that will likely lead to my arrest. But the time has arrived. The situation is so serious.”

Mat Osmond, 57, a father of three and university lecturer from Falmouth said: “What terrifies me about this crisis is how normalised it’s become. I’m taking action with Just Stop Oil because I can see no other way to confront the obscenity of our governments, and all of us, still choosing to act as if none of this was real.

“Every day now I hear people telling themselves it’s already too late to stop runaway global heating. It’s never too late to act as if the lives of others matter. That’s all the certainty we need. If even one in ten of us who already know what runaway global heating means for human societies took up civil resistance with Just Stop Oil and their allies, there’d be no stopping us.”

On Saturday, 33 people were arrested after members of the group caused huge build-ups of traffic by sitting in the middle of streets including Kensington High Street, Charing Cross Road, Kennington Park Road and Black Friars Road.

In light of the number of protests, assistant commissioner Matt Twist, from the Met’s Operations team, called on the public not to directly intervene with group but wait for officers to arrive at the scene.

“Just Stop Oil do not engage with police in advance of their demonstrations, which means more resources are needed across the Met to respond, irrespective of whether significant action takes place or not.

“This impacts on policing resources from local communities. Since 1 October, more than 7,900 officer shifts have been needed to respond to this activity to try to keep London moving and minimise serious impact on communities,” he said.

“I completely understand the frustration and anger felt by the public who are seriously disrupted by a relatively small number of protesters and their deliberate tactics.

“They are affecting people’s businesses, their lives, whether they are on their way to a doctor, a long awaited hospital appointment, on their way to work, to interviews, or to collect children; I know communities and the public of London have had enough of a very small number of people disrupting them.

“When notified of any activists committing offences, or causing disruption by blocking roads, our priority is to get there quickly. I would urge the public not to directly intervene, but to call us, and we will deal. “