‘I expect to go to jail but I’m not sorry’: Hundreds of Insulate Britain activists flout injunction AGAIN as they CLOSE Lambeth Bridge on protest through London against prison sentences given to fellow eco-zealots
- Nine Insulate Britain members were jailed Wednesday after they admitted breaching a High Court injunction
- Group and supporters gathered outside the Royal Courts of Justice in Westminster, London in solidarity show
- Jailed activists were yesterday ordered to pay £45,000 – just half of National Highways’ £91,000 legal costs
- Insulate Britain began protests in September and saw widespread chaos across Britain’s motorways for weeks
Hundreds of Insulate Britain activists have closed Lambeth Bridge on a protest through London against the jail terms given to their road-blocking comrades.
The supporters claim the nine jailed activists are ‘political prisoners’ and ‘will not be the last to be locked up.’
The group was jailed this week for breaching an injunction designed to prevent the road blockades which brought the country to a standstill for weeks on end.
This afternoon, campaigners blocked off Lambeth Bridge with a sit-down demonstration which quickly saw police divert traffic to other routes.
Gabriella Ditton, 27, an animator from Norwich, said she has been arrested six times with Insulate Britain, including once for breaking the injunction. She said: ‘I expect to go to prison at some point for at least six months because I am not going to be apologetic about this.
‘I have known for a couple of years that the only thing that is going to serve us is civil resistance. I have faith in people coming together. Solutions to this crisis exist, we just need the political will to do it.’
A campaigner, who would only give her name as Gully, told some 200 supporters who gathered outside London’s Royal Courts of Justice: ‘Make no mistake, these are political prisoners and they will not be the last.’
Insulate Britain began a wave of protests in September and has blocked the M25, roads in London including around Parliament, and across Birmingham, Manchester, and the Port of Dover in Kent.
In a warning directed towards the heavy police presence around the event, Gully said: ‘These streets are ours and we will put one foot in front of the other, and dare you to stop us.’
She added: ‘You can jail the resistor but not the resistance.’
The group, watched closely by uniformed officers, then set off for a protest walk around nearby central London streets towards Westminster chanting ‘power to the people’.
Cheers rang out during the walk as a campaigner told the crowd, ‘good people have a duty to disobey bad laws’.
Hundreds of Insulate Britain activists are marching through London in protest against jail terms given to their comrades. Pictured, they sat down on Lambeth Bridge, forcing it to close
The supporters claim the nine jailed Insulate Britain climate activists are ‘political prisoners’ and will not be the last to be locked up
The group was jailed this week for breaching an injunction designed to prevent the road blockades which have sparked anger among motorists and others affected by the protests
In a warning that was directed to the heavy police presence around the event, Gully said: ‘These streets are ours and we will put one foot in front of the other, and dare you to stop us’
The group, watched closely by uniformed officers, then set off for a protest walk around nearby central London streets towards Westminster chanting ‘power to the people’
Cheers rang out during the walk as a campaigner told the crowd that ‘good people have a duty to disobey bad laws’
Extinction Rebellion activist Alanna Byrne, who took part in the protest, said: ‘When I saw the Highway Nine give their testimonies in court this week, I knew I had a duty to take a stand today in their place.
‘These people willingly gave up their freedom to push the Government to act on the greatest crisis we’ll ever face.
‘The failure of Cop26 should shock everyone into action. World leaders are protecting the interests of the fossil fuel industry over the general public – they are not coming to save us.
‘All we have left now is to come together on the street and rebel for all we hold dear.
‘The Government thinks that this injunction will scare people into submission and stop taking action. But the opposite is true.
‘This has only ignited a fire in people that will spread faster than they know. As Emma Smart said in the courtroom on Wednesday: ‘I will not be a bystander.’ And neither should you.’
Zoe Cohen said she had travelled from her home in Warrington in the north-west of England to take part in the demonstration out of frustration and anger.
She said: ‘I am angry, distraught and grieving for the huge amount of nature that we have already lost.’
The 51-year-old said that ‘ordinary people should not have to do this and risk prison’.
Ms Cohen added: ‘Any disruption is microscopic to the suffering of millions of people who are dying now across the world due to this crisis.’
Insulate Britain said it was not involved with setting up the event, which was described by those who took part as community-led.
The nine protesters were sentenced at the High Court on Wednesday after they admitted breaching an injunction by taking part in a blockade at junction 25 of the M25 during the morning rush-hour on October 8.
Ana Heyatawin, 58, and Louis McKechnie, 20, were jailed for three months while Ben Buse, 36, Roman Paluch-Machnik, 28, Oliver Rock, 41, Emma Smart, 44, Tim Speers, 36, and James Thomas, 47, received four-month sentences.
Ben Taylor, 37, was given a longer sentence of six months ‘to deter (him) from committing further breaches’ after his submissions to the court on Tuesday were described by Dame Victoria Sharp as ‘inflammatory’ and a ‘call to arms’.
Nine Insulate Britain eco zealots were jailed at the High Court after admitting breaching an injunction on protesting
Protesters today gathered outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London in solidarity with campaigners from Insulate Britain who are facing prison sentences
Demonstrators outside the court in Westminster today accused Boris Johnson’s cabinet of ‘betrayal’ and said they were ‘frightened that our government would rather imprison scientists than follow their advice’
Others warned ‘Cop has failed’, referring to the COP26 Climate Change summit held in Glasgow earlier this month that ended with a watered down pact which said states would ‘phase down’ rather than ‘phase out’ fossil fuels
The judge, sitting with Mr Justice Chamberlain, said there was no alternative to custodial sentences given that the group’s actions were so serious and they had made it clear they intended to further flout court orders.
Insulate Britain has said it intends to continue the protests until the Government agrees to insulate homes.
The High Court has so far issued five injunctions to prevent protesters from blocking roads.
They include four injunctions granted to National Highways, banning demonstrations on the M25, around the Port of Dover and on major roads around London, and one to Transport for London (TfL).
TfL was granted a civil banning order aimed at preventing protesters from obstructing traffic on some of the capital’s busiest roads.
Those who breach the injunctions could be found in contempt of court and face a maximum penalty of two years in prison or an unlimited fine.
Further High Court committal proceedings are expected to be issued against other Insulate Britain protesters relating to protests on October 27.
Protesters from Insulate Britain blocking the M25 at junction 31 back on October 31 this year
How Insulate Britain made a mockery of the law over two months
September 13 – 78 Insulate Britain protesters arrested after blocking junctions 3, 6, 14, 20 and 31 of the M25
September 15 – More than 50 protesters arrested after targeting junctions 1, 8, 9 and 23 of the M25
September 17 – 48 protesters arrested after targeting junctions 3, 9 and 28 of the M25, as well as the M3
September 20 – 29 protesters are arrested after blocking the M25 at junctions 4 and 18, as well as the A1
September 21 – Protesters risk death by running into moving traffic to block the carriageway near Junction 10. Some 38 arrests are made. National Highways obtains an injunction against further protests on the M25
September 22 – Protesters burn copies of the injunction outside the Home Office, blocking the road outside the ministry. No arrests are made
September 24 – 39 protesters arrested after blocking roads at three locations in Dover. They are all released under investigation. National Highways obtains a second injunction covering Dover.
September 27 – 53 protesters are arrested for blocking a slip road at Junction 14 of the M25. They are all released under investigation.
September 28 – National Highways says it is taking ‘legal advice’ over how to enforce its injunction
September 29 – 27 protesters are arrested for blocking a roundabout at Junction 3 of the M25 on two occasions
September 30 – Protesters return to junction 30 at Thurrock in Essex, and nine are arrested
October 1: The group block the M4 at junction 3, the M1 at junction 1 and M25 at junction 25. Some 39 arrests
October 2: Third injunction bans them from obstructing traffic and access to motorways and major A roads in and around London
October 4: 38 arrests after protesters block three major roads in London – the Blackwall Tunnel, Wandsworth Bridge and A40 and North Circular at Hanger Lane.
October 8: 19 arrested over protest at Old Street roundabout and a further 16 on the M25 at junction 24. Transport for London gets a High Court injunction to ban them from obstructing traffic in 14 locations in London.
October 13: Protesters return to the M25 at junction 31 and a nearby industrial estate, with 35 people arrested.
October 25: Activists target areas around Southwark Bridge, Canary Wharf and Liverpool Street station. Some 53 are arrested.
October 27: Protesters blockade the A40 in North Acton, West London, and a major roundabout next to the Dartford Crossing in Kent. Kent Police arrested 32 protesters, while the Metropolitan Police detained 17.
October 29: 10 activists are arrested after walking onto the M25 between junctions 28 and 29 in Essex
November 2: Police arrest 20 activists before they can even get onto the M25 at junction 23 for South Mimms, but other actions take place on the M56 in Manchester, with 11 arrests, and the A4400 in Birmingham
November 4: Some 62 protesters sit down at Parliament Square in Westminster
November 17: Nine of the protesters are jailed at the High Court for between three and six months
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