Just Stop Oil activist hangs nearly 450ft above Dartford crossing in makeshift bed
Just Stop Oil protesters have blocked a busy road in London in the latest round of demonstrations aimed at raising the alarm about the climate emergency.
Dozens of activists stopped traffic on the A4 Cromwell Road near the Natural History Museum in Kensington as they demanded the government halt all new fossil fuel licences.
It come after a major bridge on the Dartford Crossing reopened to traffic after two Just Stop Oil protesters hung off it for 37 hours, causing severe delays.
The Queen Elizabeth II bridge on the M25 was closed off to drivers after two activists scaled the 190-ft structure on Monday morning and even spent the night up there.
National Highways confirmed the bridge reopened to drivers just before 10pm that night after being checked for damages.
Just Stop Oil protesters block road in London
Dozens of Just Stop Oil activists have stopped traffic on the A4 Cromwell Road in London in the latest stage of their climate protest:
Chris Baynes19 October 2022 11:47
Thank you for following our coverage
Thank you for following our coverage of the Just Stop Oil protests today.
We are ending our live coverage for today, but please check back on the Independent for future updates on this ongoing story.
Lucy Skoulding18 October 2022 23:12
QE2 bridge reopens
The QE2 bridge has now fully reopened so vehicles can drive across it again.
There’s still long traffic delays but queues should slowly start to ease up now the bridge has reopened.
National Highways tweeted: “The #QEIIBridge at #DartfordCrossing is now fully open.
“Long delays remain on the #M25 clockwise and anti-clockwise but these should start to ease now.”
Lucy Skoulding18 October 2022 22:15
Video of protesters descending from bridge
Just Stop Oil has now shared a video of the two protesters who spent 37 hours hanging from the QE2 bridge descending to the ground.
Activists Morgan and Marcus were lowered to safety in a “giant cherrypicker”. They were then arrested by police.
Just Stop Oil tweeted: “After a successful 37 hour occupation, Morgan and Marcus descended from Queen Elizabeth II Bridge on a giant cherrypicker, having majorly disrupted fuel deliveries from Essex to the South East of England.”
Lucy Skoulding18 October 2022 20:40
Police share photo of scene
Essex Police have shared a photo of the scene where the QE2 bridge on the M25 was closed off today due to protesters from Just Stop Oil.
Two activists spent 36 hours hanging off the bridge in protest. The bridge had to be closed off to traffic for safety reasons, causing chaos on the M25.
After scaling the bridge in the early hours of Monday morning, the protesters came down at around 5pm today. They were then arrested by police.
Lucy Skoulding18 October 2022 20:10
Police statement on arrests
Chief Superintendent Simon Anslow from Essex Police, who led the operation, said:
“We cannot tolerate people carrying out activity which puts lives at risk and prevents people from going about their lives.
“I know this has been really frustrating for the public and the disruption has negatively impacted on businesses and meant people have been late for, or missed, appointments.
“Alongside our partners, we worked hard to resolve this complex situation as quickly and safely as possible.
“Now the situation has been resolved, National Highways will make the decision about when and how the bridge can re-open.
“I want to again reiterate; we are not in any way anti-protest, and we will always seek to facilitate safe protest where we can.
“However, it is unacceptable for people to think they can put lives in danger with irresponsible actions. In this case, it is clear that we had to act, but that action had to be safe and responsible, and I want to again thank the public for their patience and understanding.”
Lucy Skoulding18 October 2022 19:40
QE2 bridge still closed
The Queen Elizabeth II bridge is still closed while it is inspected for damage to make sure it’s safe for vehicles to drive across again.
It’s National Highways’ responsibility to decide when the bridge can reopen to traffic.
Currently it’s still closed, causing huge delays on the M25 and the surrounding areas.
National Highways tweeted: “Thank you for your patience as we inspect the QE2 bridge to make sure it hasn’t been damaged. We’re working hard to get this done as safely and quickly as possible so we can get everyone back on the move.
“We’ll let you know as soon as the #DartfordCrossing re-opens to traffic.”
Lucy Skoulding18 October 2022 19:35
Two Just Stop Oil protesters have been arrested after coming down from the QE2 bridge.
Essex Police said in a statement: “Two people who had been at height on the Dartford Crossing have now been brought down and arrested.
“We have worked hard with our partners to bring this situation to a safe conclusion and considered all options available to us.
“This afternoon, we brought in an elevated platform which allowed specialist officers to work from height.
“That operation was a success and two men have now been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit public nuisance.
“Our specialist team will be leading the investigation and will be collating evidence for a Crown Prosecution Service decision. Our firm intention is to seek a positive outcome that prevents further dangerous disruption.”
Read the full story here.
Lucy Skoulding18 October 2022 18:54
Just Stop Oil makes statement
Just Stop Oil has shared a statement on Twitter after two activists spent 36 hours hanging from the Queen Elizabeth II bridge on the M25 in protest.
The climate action group said it achieved its aim of disrupting oil supplies to Kent and the South East.
The group tweeted: “We successfully disrupted oil supplies to Kent & the South East for 36 hours.
“We are stepping down now but other supporters of Just Stop Oil will be stepping up day after day, causing disruption & putting their liberty on the line to demand that the government ends new oil & gas.”
Lucy Skoulding18 October 2022 18:22
Traffic jams around Dartford Crossing
The Dartford Crossing protest has led to traffic queuing up around the surrounding area.
Here are some images from earlier today:
Zoe Tidman18 October 2022 18:19