Police have detained a man trying to get past Just Stop Oil protesters in Central London, after he was recorded appearing to push two protesters off the road - knocking one off his feet.
Forty-five members of Just Stop Oil - a climate change activism group - blocked traffic on Blackfriars, London and Tower bridges on Tuesday (23 May) morning, walking slowly down the road.
In a video posted by the group on social media, a man in hi-vis work pants and a grey hoodie walked up and pushed a male protester towards the side of the road, on what appeared to be Blackfriars Bridge. The protester lost his balance and fell at the feet of a police officer.
The man then appeared to try and push a second protester off the road, before two police officers gave chase, eventually handcuffing him.
The Metropolitan Police said he was detained on suspicion of common assault but not arrested, but they urged the public not to intervene in protest action.
A spokesman said: “At around 8.25am, Met police officers detained a male member of the public for common assault after an altercation between him and two Just Stop Oil protesters on Blackfriars Bridge.
“There have been no arrests and police are investigating the matter," they continued. “We completely understand the frustration and anger of London’s communities when protesters walk slowly in the roads."
“We urge people not to intervene and to let police deal with the situation who, if not already there, will arrive promptly."
Just Stop Oil said a motorcyclist also tried to drive through the group of demonstrators, and there were a number of clashes at other protest sites - with people snatching banners.
“This is an impossible situation," the group posted on Twitter, alongside footage of the Blackfriars Bridge confrontation. “That’s where our government has left us. More and more people are realising taking action is the right thing to do. Do we disrupt other ordinary people, like this man, arrested for lashing out today, or just sit back and watch everything burn?”
Police now have powers under the Public Order Act to force protesters out of the road and onto the pavement. These orders were used at all three bridges on Tuesday by 8.55am, Just Stop Oil said.
Tuesday’s clashes came after footage of another confrontation in the City of London was posted on social media on Friday, PA reports. A man approached Just Stop Oil protesters as they marched slowly in front of traffic on Mansell Street, near the Tower of London, before snatching their banners and pushing a woman to the ground.
He also grabbed a phone from one of the campaigners and threw it away, before trying to push other activists out of the road.
Climate change protesters have also tried to storm the stage at oil giant Shell’s annual shareholder meeting in London on Tuesday. In a tense moment in the meeting, which had already been delayed for nearly an hour, security stepped in to prevent a protester reaching chairman Sir Andrew Mackenzie and other board members on stage.
Dozens of protesters were escorted out by members of the security team at London’s Excel conference centre. PA reports one woman appeared to faint as she was escorted out by security, as another screamed that the three men carrying her out of the room were hurting her.
Meanwhile, other shareholders grew increasingly frustrated, shouting: “Shut up” and “get a job”. Protesters had consistently stood up to chant songs and slogans against the major producer of polluting oil and gas.
“Shut down Shell,” protesters repeatedly chanted on Tuesday, interrupting Mackenzie and other board members as they were speaking to shareholders in the room. Security repeatedly escorted protesters out one at the time, however one protester was replaced by another.