Government seeks fresh injunction after Insulate Britain blocks Port of Dover

·3 min read

The Government is seeking a new injunction after climate protesters blocked the Port of Dover, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said.

Kent Police arrested 39 people after Insulate Britain sat down on roads in and out of the cross-Channel ferry port shortly at around 8.20am on Friday.

The demonstration created long queues of vehicle, with several drivers remonstrating with the activists.

Two Insulate Britain supporters sat on top of a tanker for several hours.

The injunction request comes after the group – an offshoot of Extinction Rebellion – blocked parts of the M25 five times in the past fortnight.

Mr Shapps wrote on Twitter: “We won’t tolerate reckless behaviour on motorways or ports (Dover this morning).

“I’m therefore seeking a further injunction to prevent this disruption. Living in a democracy everyone is entitled to protest, but that doesn’t extend to closing roads and ruining livelihoods.”

Earlier this week the Government obtained an injunction prohibiting protests on the M25.

Protesters lie in front of lorries
Protesters sit in front of lorries (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Kent Police said shortly after 10am that it had cleared all the roads and arrested 39 people on suspicion of causing a public nuisance and obstructing a highway.

Chief Superintendent Simon Thompson said: “The impact this disruption had on the local community and port-bound traffic is not lost on us and I would like to thank those adversely affected by it for their patience whilst we made the area safe again.

“Kent Police is working with the other forces, the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) and partner agencies to gather evidence and ensure there are consequences for those who break the law.”

The pair sitting on the tanker draped the vehicle in an Insulate Britain banner and held signs saying: “I want my children to survive”, and: “Arrested 4 times because I am in mourning for life on earth”.

Protesters from Insulate Britain block the A20
Protesters from Insulate Britain block the A20 (Gareth Fuller/PA)

One of the tanker protesters – 27-year-old Stephanie – told the PA news agency: “We do not want to be here.

“I want to be home with my family spending time with them, but if we don’t do this they aren’t going to have a future.

“The Government are not doing enough. On the current trajectory we are heading for chaos.”

The other protester on the tanker, 28-year-old Josh, said: “We are here today to get the Government to insulate the houses of the UK.

“The reason being is because per pound invested insulation is the fastest and cheapest way to reduce CO2.”

Protesters from Insulate Britain sit on top of a vehicle
Protesters from Insulate Britain sit on top of a vehicle (Gareth Fuller/PA)

A Government spokeswoman said: “Peaceful protest is a cornerstone of our democracy and there will always be space for people to make their voices heard – but that is not on busy roads or at a vital port, putting lives at risk.

“The demonstrations we have seen over the last few weeks have wreaked havoc on our roads, disrupted thousands of people and put lives in danger and we are taking action to prevent these kinds of guerrilla tactics being used in the future.

“We thank the police for their quick and decisive action to remove the protesters and keep the port open.”

The Port of Dover is Europe’s busiest ferry port and handles 17% of the UK’s trade in goods.

It was used by an average of 6,200 road haulage vehicles every day last year.

The blockage comes amid disruption to supplies across the UK due to a shortage of lorry drivers.

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