Thirty climate activists have been arrested following a sit-down protest which blocked a major central London bridge to traffic for several hours.
The demonstration on Lambeth Bridge took place in support of nine Insulate Britain campaigners jailed this week for breaching an injunction designed to stop activists blocking roads which have angered motorists.
The nine were sentenced at the High Court on Wednesday after they admitted taking part in a blockade at junction 25 of the M25 during the morning rush hour on 8 October.
Saturday’s arrests came after Public Order Act conditions were imposed on the protest, which involved up to 250 people who had marched from the Royal Courts of Justice. Some demonstrators later caused disruption at nearby Vauxhall Cross, by Vauxhall Bridge, before police reopened roads there.
Referring to the conditions, the Metropolitan Police said: “Lambeth Bridge has now been reopened, 30 arrests were made for breach of S14 conditions.”
Insulate Britain, an offshoot of Extinction Rebellion, said it was not involved with setting up the bridge event. Those who took part claimed it was community-led.
Extinction Rebellion said the protest was to break the injunction granted to National Highways, in solidarity with at least 34 people who have broken these injunctions so far, including those jailed this week.
During the sit-in, demonstrators gave speeches, sang songs, and chanted slogans.
Campaigners told the crowd the nine jailed activists were “political prisoners” and will not be the last to be locked up.
Insulate Britain began a wave of protests in September. Supporters have blocked the M25, roads in London including around parliament, roads in Birmingham and Manchester and around the Port of Dover in Kent.
The group has said it intends to continue protests until the government agrees to insulate homes in the UK to help deal with the climate crisis.
Gabriella Ditton, 27, an animator from Norwich, was among those who took part on Saturday.
She claimed she has been arrested six times with Insulate Britain, including once for breaking the injunction.
She said: “I expect to go to prison at some point for at least six months because I am not going to be apologetic about this.
“I have known for a couple of years that the only thing that is going to serve us is civil resistance. I have faith in people coming together. Solutions to this crisis exist, we just need the political will to do it.”
Zoe Cohen, 51, travelled from her home in Warrington, Cheshire, to take part in the demonstration.
She said she attended because she was “angry, distraught and grieving for the huge amount of nature that we have already lost”.
She claimed “ordinary people should not have to do this and risk prison” and added “any disruption is microscopic to the suffering of millions of people who are dying now across the world due to this crisis”.