Larisa Vilceanu, a nurse by trade, joined other environmentalists to carry out a slow march in Southsea on Saturday (October 21), and said demonstrations will continue nationally. Traffic was brought to a standstill in the Anglesea Road area shortly after 11.45am, as protestors linked arms to block cars.
Police said they had to close Landport Terrace. Hampshire Terrace and Cambridge Road to ensure the safety of the demonstrators and motorists. Ms Vilceanu, of Portsmouth, said the protest was successful in spreading Just Stop Oil’s message.
She told The News: “I do believe the protest was heard, as it created a little bit of inconvenience for people. Some of them were a bit aggressive towards us.
“Our demands are simple: no new oil or gas licences. We are bringing attention to the public that we cannot continue with the rhetoric, and business as usual.
“There is no future for me or for anyone in a world which relies on fossil fuels. We must stop our reliance today, not by 2050. I really hope that more people will join us in mass civil resistance this November.”
Video footage provided by the activist group shows a member of the public pushing a protestor as they walked down the middle of the road. Motorists belted their car horns in frustration at being held up, with some hurling verbal abuse at them.
Just Stop Oil have garnered criticism for their methods, which have included slow marches, members gluing themselves to road surfaces, blocking routes out of factories, and disrupting sporting events such as this year’s Wimbledon and the World Snooker Championship. A previous demonstration blocked much of Portsmouth city centre in September.
Ms Vilceanu said the disruptive methods are the only way that change will happen. She added: “I’m not surprised that people are aggressive and we expect this to happen. We understand the public, it’s not something we enjoy doing, but unfortunately, it is the only way that the government will listen to us.
“We always try to talk to them (the government), but they never listen. We have to find effective ways in which our opinions are heard, and this is one of those ways.”
The nurse said she joined Just Stop Oil because she agrees with their message and wants to make her voice heard. “I’m really scared for my future,” she added.
"I want my children to grow old and enjoy retirement, and I believe it won’t be possible if the government keeps investing in fossil fuels. People keep telling us to get jobs, but most of us have respectful careers. We are not going to have any jobs in the future if we destroy the planet.
"These methods are necessary. While we create this inconvenience, we hope that they will stop and think about the planet. If nothing is made inconvenient, the government will only ignore us like they always have.”
Ms Vilceanu said no future demonstrations are currently planned in Portsmouth. A police spokeswoman said officers attended to monitor the protest, prevent crime and disorder and minimise disruption.
She added that no arrests were made, and the road closures were lifted just before 12.40pm.