Just stop the oil The protests have cost police more than £3.5m and nearly 11,000 officer shifts in lost time over the past month, according to the Met. The figures come as nine more Just Stop Oil (JSO) activists were arrested on Wednesday during the group’s latest road blockade marches.
JSO launched three months of protests on April 24, using a new “idle march” tactic on the roads to slow traffic, cause disruption and highlight its message.
As of May 22, a total of 78 marches have been held throughout the capital, according to the Metropolitan Police.
The protests have sparked clashes between JSO supporters and members of the public caught in traffic as activists slowly walk down a street.
Police they now have powers to force them to move onto the sidewalk, but they arrested the nine JSO supporters on Wednesday for allegedly failing to do so.
Since April 24, a total of 45 JSO activists have been detained by police, with the frustration of some drivers leading to heated confrontations.
Police handcuffed a man after he apparently pushed two JSO supporters off the road on Blackfriars Bridge on Tuesday.
JSO said a motorcyclist tried to drive through the protesters while in a separate incident a van crashed into a bus stop as the driver tried to pass the activists.
Other members of the public are said to have grabbed banners.
On Friday, a man approached JSO protesters as they slowly marched in front of traffic on Mansell Street, near the Tower of London, before grabbing their banners and pushing a woman to the ground.
Twist said: “We absolutely understand why those caught in traffic delays will be frustrated.
“I urge the public not to intervene or take matters into their own hands, but to call the police, let us know where the incident is, and we will get there quickly.
“I know that a widely shared video of a member of the public confronting protesters on May 23 has reignited deeply held public sentiments about this protest tactic and how we are responding to it.”
“But we must recognize that brief clips of individual incidents do not tell the full story of a much larger police operation which, as we have shown, ensures that our response times are effective and that our interventions allow roads to be cleared with minimal delay. “
Unlike some groups, the JSO does not interact with the Met prior to its actions, so officers cannot be deployed at or near protest locations, according to the force.
He urged JSO to engage with officers in advance so that police can be present to prevent any disturbance of the peace.
JSO is organizing what it calls “an indefinite campaign of civil resistance” to stop all new oil, gas and coal projects in the UK.
Protesters walked slowly down the street in Islington, Marylebone and the City of London at around 8am on Wednesday, before police used new powers under the Public Order Act to force them onto the pavement.
The group posted footage of the Blackfriars Bridge confrontation on Twitter, saying: “This is an impossible situation.
“That is where our government has left us. More and more people are realizing that taking action is the right thing to do.
“Do we interrupt other ordinary people, like this man, arrested for lashing out today, or do we just sit back and watch everything burn?”