[ad_1]

Eco-zealots who have provoked fury among drivers after they forced police to close the Dartford Bridge by climbing up it have vowed to keep it shut for ‘at least 24 hours’.

Traffic has been seen tailing back on the M25 for seven miles this morning after Just Stop Oil activists scaled the girders of the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge shortly before rush-hour.

Angry motorists say the road has become a ‘car park’ after police closed the road as they try to coax down two demonstrators from the bridge which links the M25 across over the River Thames between Essex and Kent.

In an ominous warning, the Just Stop Oil said this morning that it expects the bridge to remain closed for ‘at least 24 hours’ while the demonstrators remain in the air.

Two Just Stop Oil supporters have climbed to the top of the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge forcing police to close the bridge to demand that the government halts all new oil and gas licences and consents,’ it said.

‘At approximately 5 am two climbers ascended the two 84m masts on the North side of the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge forcing the police to stop traffic from entering the bridge. It is expected that the bridge will remain shut for at least 24 hours.’

In a video posted from on top of the bridge today, one of the protesters said he was ‘not willing to sit back and watch everything I love burn for the rest of my life’.

In the footage an emotional Morgan Trowland, a 39-year-old civil engineer, ranted against ‘the current fraudulent, charlatan excuse for a Government’, saying it was ‘accelerating that process granting more licences for oil and gas’.

‘It’s an absolute act of treason, it’s selling ourselves and our children into an uninhabitable earth and I believe it’s my duty to do anything in my power to stop it,’ he added.

Essex Police says it is trying to resolve the incident ‘as quickly and as safely’ as possible, although it is still likely to cause big delays into rush-hour. 

It is latest in a series of protests by the environmentalist group, which has launched demonstrations in London over the last few weeks.

Yesterday protesters sprayed orange paint over an Aston Martin garage in the capital, and blocked roads as they continue to demand an end to new oil and gas projects.

Aerial footage shows the protesters hanging high above the road after scaling the 84m masts on the northern side of the bridge

Aerial footage shows the protesters hanging high above the road after scaling the 84m masts on the northern side of the bridge

The protesters, from Just Stop Oil, have vowed not to come down until the Government stops issuing new gas and oil licences

The protesters, from Just Stop Oil, have vowed not to come down until the Government stops issuing new gas and oil licences

Police have been forced to close the road, which is the only crossing over the Thames to the east of London, as they try to coax the pair down

Police have been forced to close the road, which is the only crossing over the Thames to the east of London, as they try to coax the pair down

It has caused long delays on the roads, with reports of seven miles of queues on the M25 in Kent and five miles on the M25 in Essex

It has caused long delays on the roads, with reports of seven miles of queues on the M25 in Kent and five miles on the M25 in Essex

The pair have been seen on the girders of the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge at the Dartford Crossing after climbing up shortly before 4am this morning

The pair have been seen on the girders of the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge at the Dartford Crossing after climbing up shortly before 4am this morning

The bridge, which is the only road crossing over the Thames to the east of London, has been closed by police while they try to coax the pair down

The bridge, which is the only road crossing over the Thames to the east of London, has been closed by police while they try to coax the pair down

There are long delays this morning, with police saying there were queues of up to three miles long and waits of more than an hour at 6am

There are long delays this morning, with police saying there were queues of up to three miles long and waits of more than an hour at 6am

Just Stop Oil said the pair climbed the two 84m masts on the north side of the bridge at around 5am this morning to demand the Government halts all new oil and gas licences and consents

Just Stop Oil said the pair climbed the two 84m masts on the north side of the bridge at around 5am this morning to demand the Government halts all new oil and gas licences and consents

Police have closed the road to all traffic as they try and coax the pair down from the girders. Essex Police says it is working to resolve the situation 'as quickly and as safely' as possible

Police have closed the road to all traffic as they try and coax the pair down from the girders. Essex Police says it is working to resolve the situation ‘as quickly and as safely’ as possible

Just Stop Oil has named the demonstrators as Morgan Trowland (pictured here on the bridge), a 39-year-old bridge design engineer from London, and Marcus, a 33-year-old teacher from the capital

Just Stop Oil has named the demonstrators as Morgan Trowland (pictured here on the bridge), a 39-year-old bridge design engineer from London, and Marcus, a 33-year-old teacher from the capital

Essex Police said colleagues at National Highways are escorting traffic through the Dartford Tunnel in a bid to alleviate the impact of the road closure

Essex Police said colleagues at National Highways are escorting traffic through the Dartford Tunnel in a bid to alleviate the impact of the road closure 

There are reports of more than seven miles of congestion in Kent and five miles in Essex on the M25 as a result of the closure today. Pictured: Vehicles gridlocked on the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge this morning

There are reports of more than seven miles of congestion in Kent and five miles in Essex on the M25 as a result of the closure today. Pictured: Vehicles gridlocked on the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge this morning

The eco-zealot who brought the M25 to a standstill 

Just Stop Oil has named the two protesters who have scaled the bridge at Morgan Trowland and Marcus. 

Mr Trowland, who is originally from New Zealand, is a 39-year-old civil engineer from London.

A veteran of environmental demonstrations, he was arrested in 2019 while taking part in protests by Extinction Rebellion. He was later convicted for taking part in an unauthorised protest and fined £500 and given a six month conditional discharge.

He has also been arrested for protests at London Concrete in Bow and for blocking Broxbourne printworks in Hertfordshire.

Morgan Trowland, pictured here outside St Albans Magistrate Court last year, is a veteran of climate protest

Morgan Trowland, pictured here outside St Albans Magistrate Court last year, is a veteran of climate protest

In a video posted from on top of the bridge today, Mr Trowland said he was protesting because ‘I’m not willing to sit back and watch everything I love burn for the rest of my life’.

The emotional protester railed against ‘the current fraudulent, charlatan excuse for a Government’, saying it was ‘accelerating that process granting more licences for oil and gas’.

‘It’s an absolute act of treason, it’s selling ourselves and our children into an uninhabitable earth and I believe it’s my duty to do anything in my power to stop it,’ he added.

The bamboo-loving demonstrator – he has built numerous bamboo sculptures and objects for use at protests – believes the world is set to end if it stays on its current path. 

In a Facebook post last year he said: ‘Your children are facing annihilation within a decade or two, who knows exactly when? People in other parts of the world are facing it now. Inexorably, extreme weather and ecological collapse will alternately scorch, flood and plague our crops leading to food shortages, leading to mob violence, murder and rape as your desperate neighbours turn ugly.

‘We are outta time for incremental changes and we need to organise an emergency response an order of magnitude greater than for COVID. for that we need to take over the state as it’s the only institution through which this could happen. the mechanism proposed for that is a citizens assembly to set legally binding strategy.

‘That may sound impossible but it’s equally impossible to sit back and watch the annihilation lap at our door steps.’

Just Stop Oil has named the demonstrators Mr Trowland, bridge design engineer from London, and Marcus, a 33-year-old teacher from the capital.

Mr Trowland said: ‘As a professional civil engineer, each year as I renew my registration, I commit to acting within our code of ethics, which requires me to safeguard human life and welfare and the environment.

See also  Prince William 'lunged at Prince Harry and grabbed his shirt twice' in row over Oprah interview

‘Our government has enacted suicidal laws to accelerate oil production: killing human life and destroying our environment.

 ‘I can’t challenge this madness in my desk job, designing bridges, so I’m taking direct action, occupying the QE2 bridge until the government stops all new oil.’ 

Marcus added he felt the current political system in the UK was ‘betraying the people of this country’

He said: ‘Too many people in this country simply don’t know the scale and intensity of climate breakdown as the scientists describe it.

‘The authorities are criminally failing to get this grim science communicated. During Covid the science was conveyed on a daily basis.

‘Why isn’t the most existential threat that humanity has ever faced on the news every day?

‘Our political system is betraying the people of this country. More fossil fuel licenses means global genocide. Only direct action will now help to reach the social tipping point we so urgently need.’

This morning’s protest is causing long delays, with reports of people having to wait an hour in queues of up to three miles long at 6am.

Essex Police said colleagues at National Highways are escorting traffic through the Dartford Tunnel in a bid to alleviate the impact of the road closure.

Traffic is also being impacted by an earlier closure to the Blackwell Tunnel, which was closed northbound this morning after a collision. It has since reopened.

The crossing is currently the only way to cross the River Thames by road east of London, with the A282, which connects both ends with the M25, running over the bridge.

The crossing contains two tunnels and the bridge, with the tunnels taking traffic north from Kent to Essex and the bridge taking vehicles in the other direction. Police have diverted traffic heading south through one of the tunnels in a bid to ease congestion.

Angry motorists have hit out at the protesters, accusing them of turning the M25 into a ‘car park’ as commuters struggle to get to work on Monday morning.

Others have accused the demonstrators of potentially costing lives by stopping ‘hundreds of NHS staff’ from getting to work and preventing people from getting to hospital and doctors appointments.

One video posted on social media shows an ambulance with blue lights flashing stuck in the traffic at Chafford Hundred in Essex this morning.

Essex Police says it is trying to resolve the incident ‘as quickly and as safely’ as possible, although it is still likely to cause big delays into rush-hour. 

‘The bridge has been closed while we resolve the incident which we will do as quickly and as safely for all involved,’ the force said on Monday.

‘It does mean that we have had to close the bridge to traffic, but a diversion is going to be put in place through the tunnel.

‘This is likely to cause delays throughout this morning and this incident may take some time to resolve due to the complexities of safely getting people down from height.’

Documentary filmmaker Rich Felgate, who has worked with Just Stop Oil in the past, says the pair are supporters of the environmentalist group

Documentary filmmaker Rich Felgate, who has worked with Just Stop Oil in the past, says the pair are supporters of the environmentalist group

Furious motorists have vented their frustration at being caught in the delays after police closed the bridge earlier this morning

Furious motorists have vented their frustration at being caught in the delays after police closed the bridge earlier this morning

The force later added: ‘Our colleagues from National Highways South East have now began escorting traffic through the tunnel. It currently believes there are delays of around 60 minutes. We appreciate your patience and understanding.’

National Highways East wrote on Twitter that there were ’60 minute delays with 3 miles of congestion on the approach’.

Just Stop Oil said on their website today: ‘Today’s actions follow over two weeks of continuous disruption by supporters of Just Stop Oil in which they have experienced over 450 arrests.

‘On Sunday, there were 14 arrests of Just Stop Oil supporters, who blocked Park Lane and sprayed an Aston Martin dealership with orange paint. Since the campaign began on April 1st, Just Stop Oil supporters have been arrested over 1,700 times, with 5 currently in prison.

‘This is not a one day event, expect us every day and anywhere. This is an act of resistance against a criminal government and their genocidal death project. Our supporters will be returning – today, tomorrow and the next day – and the next day after that – and every day until our demand is met: no new oil and gas in the UK.’

According to Rich Felgate, a documentary maker who has been filming the group’s recent protests, two of its supporters climbed up this morning ‘shutting down the entire bridge and blocking oil tankers from oil terminals in Essex traveling south’. 

The protest comes a day after demonstrators from the environmental group blocked traffic in Park Lane, London, and sprayed paint over an Aston Martin showroom.

One furious black cab driver hauled the eco-zealots from the road as they protested for a 16th day in a row in the capital. 

One motorist bellowed at them: ‘People have got f****** work to go to’ while another added ‘people are trying to go to hospital’.

One motorist bellowed at them: 'People have got f****** work to go to' while another added 'people are trying to go to hospital'

One motorist bellowed at them: ‘People have got f****** work to go to’ while another added ‘people are trying to go to hospital’

Members of the public were not amused by the protest group's activities and removed them themselves from the road

Members of the public were not amused by the protest group’s activities and removed them themselves from the road

Just Stop Oil sprayed orange paint over the Aston Martin car showroom in an apparent spontaneous act of vandalism

Just Stop Oil sprayed orange paint over the Aston Martin car showroom in an apparent spontaneous act of vandalism

The spray painter somehow found themselves on the floor and appeared to have been arrested by the Metropolitan Police

The spray painter somehow found themselves on the floor and appeared to have been arrested by the Metropolitan Police

Among them were a pregnant mother and a musician who all vowed to continue with their deeply divisive campaign.

Chloe Thomas, 19, from Cannock said: ‘I’m 15 weeks pregnant this week. Today, we’re out here on the road together, demanding no new oil. How do I explain to my daughter in the years to come where the animals went, where the culture went, where the beauty went, why there are no bees and why I can’t put food in her tummy?

‘You know it’s bad, don’t you? As citizens, as humans, as parents and children we have a responsibility and a right under British law to protect ourselves and those we love. ‘

David Kearns, 45, a musician from Birmingham added: ‘I can not stand by and allow this government to continue destroying everything we love for the sake of nothing but profit.

‘The climate crisis is a product of greed, just as the cost of living crisis is a product of greed and I will not comply with a system that puts profits before the people and the planet. ‘

It came just hours after Suella Braverman slammed the activists as ‘thugs’ and told the Metropolitan Police and told them to ‘do a better job’.

[ad_2]

Source link