Hallelujah! The police FINALLY send protesting eco fanatics away under threat of arrest
- Agents can intervene if demonstrators cause ‘serious disruption’
- Footage showed officers telling activists they had 2-3 minutes to clear the road
Police finally took tough action against eco-fanatics blocking traffic yesterday after a warning from a Met boss that unclear laws were hampering efforts to keep the roads open.
Just Stop Oil (JSO) activists dispersed within minutes of being threatened with arrest after circumstances allowed officers to interrupt the group’s third day of slow marches in London.
Earlier in the week, officers were forced to stand by and even shield the activists from irate commuters.
Under current law, protesters must be considered ‘serious disturbances’ so that officers can intervene – but police chiefs are not given a definition of what this actually means.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor, who leads the Met’s response to the protests, revealed that JSO failed to cross this threshold earlier this week because activists were only “about 15 minutes” away.
Just Stop Oil (JSO) activists dispersed within minutes of being threatened with arrest, after agents under circumstances interrupted the group’s third day of ‘slow marches’ in London on April 26
Under current law, protesters should be deemed to be causing ‘serious disturbance’ so officers can intervene – but police chiefs are not given a definition of what this actually means
But yesterday, the 90 JSO supporters who descended on five sites around Westminster and Lambeth continued to march slowly down the road for much longer, allowing police to intervene
But yesterday, the 90 JSO supporters who descended on five sites around Westminster and Lambeth continued to march slowly down the road for much longer, allowing police to intervene.
Mr Taylor said the vague legislation made it ‘quite challenging’ for police to respond effectively.
A government attempt to increase police powers to stop slow marches was crushed in February in the House of Lords by an alliance of Labour, Liberal Democrat and crossbench colleagues.
It would have clarified “serious disruption” and also empowered police to stop such disruptive protests before they happened.
Footage of police cracking down on the protest was shared on Twitter by JSO, which said ‘marches are a perfectly legal form of disturbance’.
It showed an officer telling activists they had “two or three minutes maximum” to clear the road before arresting them.