Just Stop Oil: Skip lorry ploughs through park to dodge protests - and is then stopped by police

Driver of a skip lorry takes a detour through Stoke Newington Common to get around a Just Stop Oil blockade - Jamie Lorriman
Driver of a skip lorry takes a detour through Stoke Newington Common to get around a Just Stop Oil blockade - Jamie Lorriman

A skip truck driver roared into a park while yelling expletives at police officers as he dodged the Just Stop Oil blockade.

He mounted the pavement, sped through the grass and trees of Stoke Newington Common and careered off the pavement on the other side of the road.

It came during the eco group's fourth "slow march" of the week, this time blocking traffic in Hackney, having earlier blocked a dual carriageway in Whitechapel.

A police car raced after the trucker following the incident on blue lights and pulled him over, reporting him for an alleged traffic offence.

The trucker gave the middle finger to the police officers walking alongside the protest and yelled: "You're just as bad as them."

Police stop truck driver - Jamie Lorriman
Police stop truck driver - Jamie Lorriman

The skip truck took a short detour through the edge of the pedestrian park in north London, managing to rejoin the carriageway ahead of Just Stop Oil's "slow march".

Just before his outburst, a cyclist forced his way through one of the infamous Just Stop Oil orange banners while yelling abuse at the group.

The group deployed their "go slow" tactic on the busy A10 for an hour, while multiple police officers simply walked alongside them for the second time in one morning.

Police officers also ordered a furious pedestrian to "leave Just Stop Oil to it" after he hurled an orange at them and said "you're not welcome".

The Metropolitan Police threatened the man with arrest during the eco group's "slow march" on Whitechapel Road, east London, on Thursday morning at rush hour.

Four police vans and nine officers have been flanking the protesters for an hour as they block the full dual carriageway outside Royal London Hospital, beginning at 8.45am.

A pedestrian was so incensed by the eco group that he grabbed an orange from a fruit market and threw it at them, only narrowly missing.

He also hurled expletives at them and told them "you're not welcome in Tower Hamlets".

'They're minding their own business'

It prompted four police officers to rush over to him and tell him to "leave them to it".

An officer told the pedestrian: "They're minding their own business, what harm are they doing to you?" Another said: "This is your final warning, or you will get nicked."

At one point a motorist attempted to force their way past the road blockade and a Just Stop Oil protester claimed she was hit in the protest.

Theresa Garlake, 59, former teacher and charity worker, said she was "shaken up" and hit on the leg and back by the car.

A driver confronts activists - Marcin Nowak
A driver confronts activists - Marcin Nowak

Meanwhile, a war of words erupted between the 11 eco protesters and a Range Rover driver, who shouted out of his window: "You should be ashamed of yourselves."

A Just Stop Oil protester shouted back: "You should be ashamed of yourself!"

Authorities appeared to be aware of the protesters' plans in advance, as three marked police vehicles lay in wait at the group's pre-march location in a nearby park.

But rather than foil the blockade, which lasted around 90 minutes, the police simply followed them as they walked to the nearby Whitechapel Road, where further reinforcements then arrived to escort the kilometre-long traffic jam

It was a repeat of the scenes on Monday, when police accompanied the eco group's huddle in Southwark, south London, before letting them block three lanes of traffic on the A2.

Just Stop Oil is wreaking havoc on the capital's roads in the run-up to Christmas.

Legal loophole

In contrast to the mass arrests of earlier protests, the group is now exploiting a legal loophole that leaves the police powerless as long as the activists keep moving and it is not classed as "serious disruption".

However, ministers are planning to force officers to act over the new tactic, after police chiefs were grilled in Downing Street last week.

During Thursday morning's protest, a Met Police officer asked Sean Irish, the Just Stop Oil health and safety officer leading the protest: "Do you know how long you're going to be in the road for, sir?"

When Mr Irish responded that he did not know, the police officer replied: "Is there anything I could ask you that you might want to tell us just to help us manage the rest of London?"

A pedestrian waiting for a bus later took his anger out on the strolling officers walking alongside the blockade, shouting: "Why are eight police officers walking alongside them, for f--- sake?"

A man burns a leaflet given by JSO activists - Marcin Nowak
A man burns a leaflet given by JSO activists - Marcin Nowak

It follows claims by police chiefs that the uncertainty over what is legally defined as serious disruption has prevented them from intervening for fear of exposing officers to legal challenges and compensation claims for breaching the laws on protest.

Ministers are expected to introduce secondary legislation in Parliament that will set out a statutory definition of “serious disruption”, which could allow police to crack down on “slow walk” tactics by treating them as the culmination of a series of unlawful protests.

It is understood police chiefs have been told the legislation could be introduced before Christmas to enable officers to adopt a tougher approach in the New Year.