Woman with sick child shouts at Just Stop Oil activists for blocking roads

Activists holding banners temporarily blocked traffic by sitting in Commercial Street and Hanbury Street, near Spitalfields Market, in Whitechapel at 12.15pm.

Published

Drivers dragged protesters out of the way and a woman shouted that they were stopping her sick child from passing as Just Stop Oil activists blocked two roads in east London on Sunday.

Activists holding banners temporarily blocked traffic by sitting in Commercial Street and Hanbury Street, near Spitalfields Market, in Whitechapel at 12.15pm.

Police had moved them within an hour.

Protesters are demanding that the Government halts all new oil and gas licences and consents, but the stunt angered motorists.

A man and a woman were seen dragging demonstrators out of the way while a driver shouted that she had a sick child in her car and needed to get through.

It came after Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Matt Twisty urged people in a statement on Friday not to take the law into their own hands and “directly intervene” to move protesters.

A police officer speaks to Just Stop Oil activists blocking the road on Commercial Street in east London.
A police officer speaks to Just Stop Oil activists blocking the road on Commercial Street in east London.
Activists blocking the road on Commercial Street in east London.
Activists blocking the road on Commercial Street in east London.

He said the force has arrested 651 people while responding to Just Stop Oil protests since October 1, accounting for more than 7,900 officer shifts.

Officers arrived on the scene on Sunday and started making arrests and moving protesters.

Activist Ben Humphrey, a nurse who works in Nottingham, said: “I’m here because I’m terrified of the future.”

The 56-year-old said he was blocking the road “because the Government is about to grant over 100 new licences to oil and gas companies, and that’s a suicidal threat, and they’re going against the international energy associations and the UN, the world scientific community, which are all saying we’ve got plenty of oil and gas and what we need to do is use that carefully and not grant new licences.

“The world is on the cusp of irreversible climate breakdown which means we’re going to start to hit tipping point.”

As part of a month-long campaign of direct action, Just Stop Oil has blocked roads in various locations, sparking angry responses from some members of the public.

The Metropolitan Police, who have been approached for comment, earlier tweeted: “Several Just Stop Oil protesters have blocked Commercial Road.

“Officers are on scene and are working to remove them as quickly as possible.

“Arrests are taking place.”

Activists blocking the road on Commercial Street in east London.
Activists blocking the road on Commercial Street in east London.