At least 34 climate change protesters have been arrested over the blocking of oil terminals across the country.
Activists from Just Stop Oil and Extinction Rebellion groups obstructed 10 fuel sites in the Midlands and southern England in the early hours of Friday morning, to stand against “expanding UK oil and gas production”.
Protesters were glued on to roads, suspended on bamboo tripods, and locked on to oil drums and each other from around 4am.
ExxonMobil UK, one of the country’s largest privately owned underground oil pipeline distribution networks, said it shut down three of its terminals as a result, and police officers from at least five forces were deployed to tackle the demonstrations.
The Met arrested 14 activists who broke into a facility at Bedfont Road in Staines, Surrey, while Essex Police detained 13 demonstrators at various sites, and West Midlands Police arrested six people at a terminal in Tyburn, Birmingham.
Police said arrests were made for offences including aggravated trespass, criminal damage and obstructing the highway.
All those arrested by the Met remain in custody at a west London police station, the force said on Friday night.
Their officers were called to the Bedfont Road site at around 4.15am, where protesters had blocked the entrance.
Met Chief Superintendent Claire Clark said: “Today has seen multiple protests targeting oil terminals across the country.
“The Met has closely coordinated its response with other police forces, sharing information with the overriding priority of resolving each incident as quickly and as safely as possible.
“We understand and respect the right to protest but not the right to cause disruption to businesses and the public in this way.
“Such action taken by activists affects critical national infrastructure and diverts many officers from responding to emergencies in their communities.
“Being able to protest peacefully in a democracy is important but it is also important that there are consequences for those who break the law.
“The Met’s arrests today, as well as arrests made by other police forces, have minimised disruption across the country.”
Just Stop Oil said in a statement: “The Just Stop Oil coalition is demanding an end to the Government’s genocidal policy of expanding UK oil and gas production and is calling on all those outraged at the prospect of climate collapse and suffering from the cost-of-living crisis to stand with us.
“Ordinary people can no longer afford oil and gas, it’s time to Just Stop Oil.
“It’s funding war and killing people in the global South, while destroying the future for young people everywhere.”
Just Stop Oil supporters have also disrupted several Premier League football matches in recent weeks, including by running on to pitches and tying themselves to goalposts.
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