35 arrested as drivers clash with eco-protestors blocking the M25 in Essex
Dozens of people have been arrested after eco-protestors returned to Essex to block the M25 for a fourth time.
Around 40 members of Insulate Britain converged on junction 31 of the M25 in Thurrock this morning to block the roundabout.
The demonstrators also blocked London Road, Stonehouse Lane and St Clements Way.
Police were on the scene within minutes and eventually arrested 35 people.
Clashes ensued between protesters and angry motorists during the protest and multiple vehicles, including HGVs, were forced to stop and turn round.
Vehicles blasted their horns and members of the public got out of their cars to confront protesters, who lay down in the roads in front of them.
Some were physically dragged out of the road but immediately returned, only to be dragged away again by the frustrated drivers.
The protest began around 8.25am and was brought to an end around 10am.
No significant delays were reported on the M25 despite the demonstration, however Thurrock Council warned some waste collection services were affected.
A police spokseman said: "Our officers have acted quickly to make 35 arrests and get traffic moving following reports of people blocking the road in two locations in Thurrock.
"We were initially called to reports of people on the slip road of Junction 31 of the M25 shortly after 8.25am and officers were on scene within five minutes. 16 people were arrested.
"We were able to keep one lane open to allow traffic to keep moving and were then able to re-open all lanes shortly after.
"We were then called to reports of people blocking Stonehouse Lane, Purfleet.
"Officers arrested 19 people and the road has now fully re-opened.
"Thank you for your patience and understanding."
Insulate Britain has now staged 13 protests which has seen members block busy roads each time.
They have now targeted the M25 in Thurrock three times, as well as junction 28 at Brentwood.
Following the protest, Insulate Britain claimed it had support from the British public.
Supporter Dr. Diana Warner said: "Many people are going out of their way to thank us. Some come out of their cars to thank us, some are police officers involved with our arrests. To them, we bring hope - we haven't yet given up. We are still pushing for life saving changes.
“It is a big step to move from thanking us to taking action. But if you make some move to help us, however small, you will be helping us to achieve change.”
Protestor Liam encouraged more people to join Insulate Britain’s demonstrations, adding: “In 10 years time when fuel crises are catastrophic, when the food has run out and when people are experiencing unsurvivable heat waves, what would you be wishing you had done now?
“We think you’ll be wishing you had sat on the road with Insulate Britain doing whatever it took to protect current and future generations. So come join us on the road.”
Insulate Britain confirmed yesterday’s protest in Thurrock was again in breach of a court injunctions which could see members handed unlimited fines or even a prison sentence.
Members who had been served with court papers for breaching the injunctions were seen burning the documents outside the High Court on Tuesday.
It is understood 112 people have been served with court orders linked to Insulate Britain protests so far.
The injunctions have now been extended until November 30.