Advertisement

'Get a backbone', police told as Just Stop Oil cause rush-hour chaos

Geoff Pugh for the Telegraph - Geoff Pugh for the Telegraph
Geoff Pugh for the Telegraph - Geoff Pugh for the Telegraph

A furious lorry driver has said "police need to get a backbone" as they walk alongside Just Stop Oil protesters while they evade arrest once again with their "slow march" tactic.

Four van loads of Metropolitan Police officers have been walking beside around 20 activists from the eco group as they turned out in Southwark, south London, on Tuesday just after 8am and blocked three lanes of traffic.

One lorry driver stuck at the front of the blockade sounded his deafening air horn at the protesters, prompting a strolling police officer to rush over to him and order him to "pack it in".

This prompted a furious row between the lorry driver and the police officer, resulting in the driver being told by the officer that "it's a perfectly lawful protest taking up the road".

The lorry driver told The Telegraph: "The police officer told me my air horn was hurting his ears - w------ aren't they.

"The police need to get a backbone - we should drag them round the corner and give them a good kicking like they used to do."

Motorists are growing increasingly frustrated with the eco group, with a chorus of horns sounding as three lanes of gridlocked traffic crawl on the A2 in Southwark, south London.

The lorry driver added of the protesters blocking three lanes of traffic in front of him: "My thoughts would be run over the lot of these - why don't they go to China and do it - they produce far more emissions than us. F------ w------ the lot of them."

Around 20 activists from the eco group turned out in Southwark on Tuesday morning - Geoff Pugh for the Telegraph
Around 20 activists from the eco group turned out in Southwark on Tuesday morning - Geoff Pugh for the Telegraph

Taxi driver tells police: 'Do your job properly'

A taxi driver has also lashed out at the strolling, laughing at police officers as tensions rise in the group's latest slow march along three lanes of the A2 in Southwark.

The taxi driver stuck in the group's blockade told The Telegraph: "The police just asked me 'how I feel'. I said, 'what?!' I told them to do your job properly."

An exasperated pedestrian waiting for a bus was seen shouting at police officers saying "old bill, what are you doing?"

Officers were seen laughing amongst each other and radioed into the control room to say they were "moving to the pavement and the protesters can stay in the road".

Another pedestrian confronted the 11 Met Police officers walking alongside the protesters in the middle of the road. "It beggars belief, how are they allowed to do this," he asked an officer.

The police officer replied, watching the mass tailback behind the protesters: "They are allowed to do that - they've got a right of protest."

Buses are being allowed through but cars are now stacked up for at least a kilometre - Geoff Pugh for the Telegraph
Buses are being allowed through but cars are now stacked up for at least a kilometre - Geoff Pugh for the Telegraph

At least eleven police officers followed alongside and behind the protesters without intervening as the group caused a mass tailback on the busy A2 at rush hour.

Drivers tooted horns loudly and some wound their windows down to shout "f--- off".

Officers were seen laughing, chatting and filming the protesters.

Buses are being allowed through but cars could be seen stacked up for at least a kilometre.

'A near miss has just taken place'

Meanwhile, a cyclist narrowly avoided a collision with a Mercedes on the A2 during the group's latest slow march.

The eco activists have resorted to letting cyclists pass their rush hour road blockade this morning.

But this had led to some motorists trying to tailgate the cyclists, before the eco activists rush to block the lanes again so cars cannot pass.

Police officers, dozens of whom are standing on the side of the road watching the protesters and following behind their blockade in vans, were heard radioing to warn "a near miss has just taken place".

'Get out of the road'

Just Stop Oil then held their second "slow march" of the morning outside the Royal Exchange, in the City of London, where the roads were deserted anyway.

Flanked and filmed by City of London police officers this time, the group sang "power to the people" through megaphones and called for all fossil fuel licenses to end.

In Southwark, rush hour commuters expressed their frustrations.

Shernette Godfrey, 49, a teaching assistant waiting for a bus stuck in the traffic in Southwark, told The Telegraph: "I don't mind them protesting, but to block the road, I find it ridiculous. People have to go to work, children have to go to school. It's crazy."

Jack Letchford, a satellite engineer stuck in the gridlock for 30 minutes, said: "Get out of the road - this clearly doesn't work, it just causes outrage for the average working person like myself.

"The police presence seems a bit ridiculous, if anything it seems they're there to protect them because if they aren't here I'm sure there would be trouble."

Jackie Forbes, a tourist visiting London, who was held up by the blockade, said: "They're holding everybody up, it's making the roads unsafe and it's just not fair. The police's hands are tied, I've just asked if they can do something and they said 'no we can't'.

"Well, the Lord Mayor and people in government should be able to stop this - yes I think you can demonstrate, but I think demonstrating in this way is a very selfish act. It's not going to do anything, they'll have to go home eventually."