More than 120 people arrested after climate protesters block bridge in central London

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Police have arrested 120 people over the past week after climate activists blocked major bridges connecting central and south London, including the Lambeth and Vauxhall bridges, to protest.

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The bridges were closed for round-the-clock traffic on Saturday due to the protests. During the demonstrations, activists raised placards reading “betrayed by my government” and “COP has failed”.

The Metropolitan Police said most of those arrested had been released after an investigation, and thanked the public “for their patience while officers worked to clear the groups”.

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The protests were held to express support for nine Insulate Britain activists who were jailed earlier this week for violating an injunction designed to prevent road blockages.

Gabriella Ditton blocks Lambeth Bridge in central London with a sit-in demonstration amid climate protesters

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Gabriella Ditton blocks Lambeth Bridge in central London with a sit-in demonstration amid climate protesters

Insulate Britain has become increasingly active since the summer, blocking busy roads – including motorways – to demand action from the government on home insulation and household energy waste. Several protests were held this month, with activists sticking themselves in the streets outside Parliament and blocking major roads in Manchester, Birmingham and Hertfordshire.

A high court order was passed in September at the request of National Highways, which prohibited the protest group from obstructing traffic and blocking access to 4,300 miles of major roads and motorways across the country.

Nine activists were jailed on Wednesday after they admitted to violating prohibitory orders by blocking a junction of the M25 during the morning rush hour on October 8. Eight were jailed for three or four months, while the ninth, Ben Taylor, was sentenced to six months after a judge said his submissions in court were “inflammatory.”

Liam Norton, a spokesman for Insulate Britain, denied reports on Saturday that the group’s protests had prevented ambulances from going to hospitals.

Defending the group’s actions, he said that “it is necessary to change our system to protect every single person in this country”.

“Instances of people being stopped from going to the hospital are almost zero. People could have found another way to go to the hospital, there is no instance of stopping an ambulance. It is just the media which is creating controversy while it is not really,” he said.

The government has responded by seeking a court injunction to stop the protests. So far four major national highways, the M25, have been issued relating to the roads around the Port of Dover and major roads in London administered by Transport for London.

Those violating the injunction could face charges of contempt of court and up to two years in prison or a fine.

Additional reporting by agencies

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Credit: www.independent.co.uk /

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