Boris Johnson hits out at Just Stop Oil environmental protesters for 'wreaking havoc'

Just Stop Oil campaigners in Essex.
Credit: Just Stop Oil
Just Stop Oil protesters blocking a road in Essex. Credit: Rich Felgate / Just Stop Oil

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has hit out at environmental protesters he said were "wreaking havoc" on the nation's roads and costing taxpayers millions of pounds.

Home Secretary Priti Patel had eralier accused "thugs and so-called eco-warriors" of "waging a war against the British people", following a series of demonstrations across the country in the past week.

Protesters from Just Stop Oil blocked a tanker from a depot in Essex, mounting the vehicle and deflating its tyres, with Essex Police making eight arrests.

Campaigners also dug under a road leading to an oil terminal in Grays, and say they will now dig up to try to break through the carriageway to stop trucks from passing through. Protests have also taken place at Kingsbury in Warwickshire.

On Tuesday, No 10 said Mr Johnson backed Ms Patel's words, with a spokeswoman adding: "Obviously the right to protest is a fundamental principle of our democracy but these demonstrations are wreaking havoc on our roads and they're disrupting thousands of journeys and costing millions in taxpayers' money and also putting lives in danger.

"To date, Just Stop Oil protests have cost police and other agencies millions of pounds and police on the ground have made over 1,000 arrests to date of Just Stop Oil protesters who are distracting officers from preventing crime and keeping our communities safe."

The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act increased the sentences available for offenders convicted of carrying out disruptive acts and police had more flexibility in the way that they manage protests, the spokeswoman said.

The Public Order Bill "will give police pre-emptive powers to prevent guerrilla tactics" and "we will continue to ensure the police have the powers that they need".

Essex Police made eight arrests on Sunday night after protesters blocked an oil tanker in Essex.

Officers were called to the scene in St Clements Way in Grays at around 8pm on Sunday after reports of a group obstructing the road and a tanker.

One person climbed on top of the vehicle while others are reported to have deflated its tyres.

Just Stop Oil revealed last week that protesters had dug a tunnel underneath the carriageway - a key delivery route for a nearby oil terminal.

The group said its tunnellers "are still underground disrupting the oil death machine".

One protester in the tunnel - a 39-year-old Suffolk ground worker called Sam - explained why he was taking action.

He said: “It was my choice to occupy this tunnel and I will accept the consequences because I can’t stand by and let the government continue with its plans to fast track up to 46 new oil and gas projects.

"This will do nothing for our skyrocketing energy bills and will put millions of people unknowingly or unwillingly at risk of serious harm from climate collapse."

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