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Activists block bridge in London to protest against Insulate Britain prison sentences

Activists block bridge in London to protest against Insulate Britain prison sentences
‘You can jail the resistor, but not the resistance,’ said one campaigner

Climate activists have blocked Lambeth Bridge in central London to protest the jailing of nine Insulate Britain members earlier this week.

The protestors gathered outside the Royal Courts of Justice before making their way over to the bridge to create a blockade, with the Metropolitan Police saying traffic had been diverted “for the safety of all”.

Lambeth Bridge has now been re-opened and 30 arrests have been made made.

Previously, the police have put conditions under the Public Order Act for the protest and have requested that all protestors leave the bridge.

According to the Met’s Twitter, 40 people were still blocking the bridge in central London, with four of them having glued themselves together.

The notice said the group have “no identified organiser” and “warm clothing, food, seats” and if they fail to leave, could face arrest.

Officers are also reportedly dealing with a secondary protest taking place at Vauxhall Cross.

The group was jailed this week for breaching an injunction designed to prevent the road blockades, which sparked uproar among affected motorists.

The offshoot of Extinction Rebellion began a wave of protests in September and is calling for a national home insulation strategy. Activists have blocked the M25, other roads in London including around Parliament, roads in Birmingham and Manchester, and around the Port of Dover in Kent.

Nine activists were sentenced at the High Court on Wednesday after they admitted to breaching an injunction while forming a blockade at junction 25 of the M25 during the morning rush-hour on 8 October.

Speaking to a crowd of around 200 supporters ahead of the march today, a campaigner, known as Gully, said: “Make no mistake, these are political prisoners and they will not be the last.”

In a warning directed toward the heavy police presence around the event, Gully said: “These streets are ours and we will put one foot in front of the other, and dare you to stop us.”

“You can jail the resistor but not the resistance,” she added.

Tailed closely by uniformed officers, the group wove their way around nearby central London streets towards Westminster, chanting “power to the people”.

One person told the crowd: “Good people have a duty to disobey bad laws”.

The activists were jailed this week for breaching an injunction designed to prevent the road blockades which have sparked anger among motorists and others affected by the protests.

Insulate Britain has denied any involvement in organising the event, which was described by those who took part as community-led.

Those jailed include Ana Heyatawin, 58, and Louis McKechnie, 20 – for three months – and Ben Buse, 36, Roman Paluch-Machnik, 28, Oliver Rock, 41, Emma Smart, 44, Tim Speers, 36, and James Thomas, 47, for four-months.

Ben Taylor, 37, was given a longer sentence of six months to deter him from “committing further breaches” after his submissions to the court on Tuesday were described by Dame Victoria Sharp as “inflammatory” and a “call to arms”.

Insulate Britain has said it intends to continue the protests until the Government agrees to insulate homes.

The High Court has so far issued five injunctions to prevent protesters from blocking roads.