Holidaymakers were caught in huge tailbacks at the Port of Dover on Saturday after Extinction Rebellion protesters imposed a “blockade” amid a heavy police presence.
Activists occupied one side of a dual carriageway and made attempts to block the other side, with lines of HGV lorries at a standstill for about 30 minutes earlier.
Outside of the town protesters are reported to have “superglued” themselves to another section of the A20 and held up cars there.
Protesters also hung giant banners showing the Extinction Rebellion “XR” emblem from Dover Castle and the iconic white cliffs.
Dozens of police officers were drafted in for the event, arresting 10 people.
At the Port of Dover, protesters were told they could demonstrate in the area cordoned off for their use, but some have reportedly breached the other lanes eastbound, where they risk arrest.
One activist on a megaphone announced that a protester in a “mobility scooter” had already been arrested.
Jade Evans, posting on Twitter, said: “Carnage in Dover!
“(They) have superglued themselves to the A20. The amount of police cars they have here to remove them is causing more pollution than you know #ExtinctionRebellion.
“(They) think they can stop pollution at Dover Ferry port. They’ve glued their hands and feet to the A20.”
Activists also hung giant banners from Dover’s 11th century castle as they protested against what they say is inaction on climate change.
A banner also briefly appeared at the top of the cliffs overlooking the port, but was taken down.
Event organiser Kay Marsh hailed the “symbolic” blockade of the A20 and said she was thrilled that so many people – she estimated a few hundred – attended.
“We could always cause more disruption.
“I’m happy with it, it was a symbolic block. We did manage to shut down the dual carriageway.”
Police confirmed that a “brief closure” was enforced on the A2 Jubilee Way shortly after 11am due to a “small group of people obstructing the carriageway” who were safely removed within around 15 minutes.
Ten people have been arrested on suspicion of public order offences and they remain in custody as inquiries continue.
Chief Superintendent Andy Pritchard, from Kent Police, said: “Disruption from the protest has been kept to a minimum due to the work of our officers and partners.
“The force is grateful to everyone who co-operated with efforts to ensure the rights of the protesters, and the wider public, were respected, and it is pleasing we haven’t seen levels of disruption greater than what could be reasonably expected.”
Activists began assembling near the ferry port on Saturday morning, ahead of the planned “blockade” at 11am.
Songs like The Clash’s I Fought The Law could be heard blaring out of a speaker set, with live music expected later as part of the demonstration.
⏳ This is a food emergency. Climate change and disappearing biodiversity threaten food scarcity and mass starvation. Britain faces food shortages, but our government has ignored independent advice on the risks we face and is saying and doing precious little to prepare us for what’s coming. Tell the government to tell the truth and act now – before hunger arrives on these shores. Join us in Dover this Saturday for a blockade of the port and a beach party on the seafront! More info on the Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/247920859449553/?ti=icl If joining the action please make sure to read the briefing in full and fill out the form (both on FB event). 🌽 #xrcanterbury #nofoodonadyingplanet #dover #dovernews #xraction #extinctionrebellion #rebelforlife #nowornever #systemchangenow #powertothepeople #nonviolent #nvda #nonviolentdirectaction #xrfamilies #beachparty #rebelart #musicfortherebellion #jointherebellion #internationalrebellion #octoberrebellion #nofood #climatecrisis #ecologicalcrisis #tellthetruth #actnow #climateandecologicalemergency #forourfuture #lifeorloss
A post shared by XR Canterbury 🌍 (@xrcanterbury) on Sep 19, 2019 at 6:07am PDT
Flags and signs adorn the seafront railings, with slogans like “Rebel for life” and “Climate breakdown kills”.
Chris Atkins from Extinction Rebellion Dover said: “As climate change develops, millions of ordinary Britons will face the real and growing threat of food shortages, hunger and starvation.
“Extreme storms and floods are already causing major crop failures across the world, with high temperatures also hitting livestock agriculture.
“This crisis may seem far away now but given the dependency of the UK on food imports we are extremely vulnerable.
“The Government must tell the truth and act now.”
An Extinction Rebellion spokesman said the group has assessed that the four-hour blockade between 11am and 3pm “will not cause any disruption to vital supplies” such as medicine.
He added: “Extinction Rebellion appreciates the blockade will directly affect ordinary people and businesses, but we feel the action is necessary in order to call the Government to action.”
A spokesman for the Port of Dover said: “We are aware of the protest plans and as a result, Port of Dover Police are working closely with Kent Police to ensure as minimal disruption as possible.