Just Stop Oil: climate group clashes with police as Met accuse slow marchers of blocking ambulance
Just Stop Oil has traditionally had a blue light policy - where marchers blocking roads will let emergency vehicles through
London police and climate activists have clashed on social media, as officers accused slow marchers of blocking an ambulance with its lights on.
Just Stop Oil has this week kicked off a new round of slow march protests, aimed at disrupting traffic on busy roads in the capital, as they call for an end to new fossil fuel projects in the UK. Activists associated with the group also smashed the glass protecting the Rokeby Venus - a 17th century painting famously slashed by suffragette Mary Richardson in 1914 - at the National Portrait Gallery on Monday (6 November).
Police say they have made 219 arrests and filed 98 charges against Just Stop Oil members so far this month. Officers were on the scene this morning as a group of around 50 marched at Waterloo Bridge, with police saying on social media they had made an estimated 40 arrests under Section 7 of the Public Order Act - a new legal power which allows police to remove protesters interfering with "key national infrastructure".
In a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, the Metropolitan Police posted a photo of traffic backed up on Waterloo Bridge. "This is some of the congestion which JSO are causing on Waterloo Bridge," they wrote. "One of the vehicles is an ambulance on blue lights which is not able to get past. Officers are continually telling the activists to move out the road so it can pass while making arrests."
Just Stop Oil hit back with their own post, which accused Met officers of blocking the ambulance. They wrote that the force "appear to be blocking an ambulance on Waterloo Bridge so they can blame it on a protest march going in the other direction".
A spokesperson told NationalWorld that the climate action group has traditionally had a 'blue light policy', meaning activists will move out of the way for emergency vehicles with their lights and sirens going. "In this case, Just Stop Oil supporters were on the other side of the road, and had never blocked the side of the road the ambulance was on.
"The picture shared by the Metropolitan Police indicates that it's only their officers who are blocking the road with the ambulance. Our own pictures confirm this," they continued.
"Nevertheless, we accept that our actions do cause disruption. There are a limited range of options available to normal people to resist government criminality," the spokesperson said. "However, inaction on dealing with climate breakdown at this critical point in history is itself an inherently violent choice."
A Met Police spokesperson declined to comment further than the information available on social media.