Thirty climate activists have been arrested after a sit-down protest that blocked a major central bridge in London for traffic for several hours.
The demonstration at Lambeth Bridge took place in support of nine Insulate Britain campaigners jailed this week for violating an injunction designed to stop activists blocking roads that has angered motorists.
The nine were convicted by the high court on Wednesday after, during the morning rush hour on October 8, they admitted to having participated in a blockade at exit 25 on the M25.
Saturday’s arrests came after conditions of public order were imposed for the protest, which involved up to 250 people marching from the royal courts. Some protesters later caused disturbances at the nearby Vauxhall Cross at the Vauxhall Bridge before police reopened the roads there.
Referring to the circumstances, the Metropolitan Police said: “Lambeth Bridge has now been reopened, 30 arrests were made for breaches of S14 conditions.”
Isolate Great Britain, an offshoot of the Extinction Rebellion, said it was not involved in setting up the bridge event. Those who participated claimed that it was locally led.
The Extinction Rebellion said the protest was to break the injunction given to National Highways, in solidarity with at least 34 people who have broken those injunctions so far, including those jailed this week.
During the sit-in, protesters gave speeches, sang songs and shouted slogans.
Campaigners told the crowd that the nine imprisoned activists were “political prisoners” and would not be the last to be locked up.
Insulate Britain began a wave of protests in September. Followers have blocked the M25, roads in London including around Parliament, roads in Birmingham and Manchester and around the port of Dover in Kent.
The group has said it intends to continue the protests until the government agrees to isolate homes in the UK to help deal with the climate crisis.
Gabriella Ditton, 27, an animator from Norwich, was among those who attended Saturday.
She claimed she has been arrested six times with Insulate Britain, including once for breaking the injunction.
She said: “I expect to go to jail at some point in at least six months because I do not want to apologize for this.
“I have known for a few years that the only thing that will serve us is civil resistance. I have confidence that people will come together. There are solutions to this crisis, we just need the political will to to do it.”
Zoe Cohen, 51, traveled from her home in Warrington, Cheshire, to attend the demonstration.
She said she attended because she was “angry, despairing and mourning over the enormous amount of nature that we have already lost”.
She argued that “ordinary people should not have to do this and risk imprisonment”, adding “any disturbance is microscopic for the sufferings of millions of people who are now dying all over the world because of this crisis”.
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