Climate protesters in south London arrested on bridges

At least 30 climate protesters were arrested during coordinated protests on bridges in south London yesterday (Saturday, November 20) staged after the jailing of activists with Insulate Britain.

Bridges linking central and south London including Lambeth Bridge and Vauxhall Bridge were blocked by protesters Saturday who carried placards imploring faster action to address the worsening climate crisis.

A number of protesters held signs that simply read ‘Betrayed by my government’, and expressed their support for the nine Insulate Britain activists who were jailed this week for defying an injunction on blocking the M25 motorway.

Police made the arrests on Saturday afternoon and evening after imposing Public Order Act conditions on the protest.

Gabriella Ditton, 27, from Norwich, said she had previously been arrested for climate activism and expected to go to jail too at some point, stressing her belief in the need for direct action until the government rapidly reduces carbon emissions fuelling the climate crisis.

She told the PA news agency: “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.”

A statement from the Met Police later confirmed they had reopened Lambeth Bridge around 7pm after having made a number of arrests.

A spokesperson posted to Twitter just after 7pm: “#Lambeth Bridge has now been re-opened. 30 arrests were made for breach of S14 conditions. We continue to take action at #Vauxhall Cross to remove protestors.”

The latest climate protests follow on the heels of the COP26 climate summit that was labelled a “catastrophic failure” by Amnesty International after it failed to lock in steep, regular emissions cuts from countries worldwide to avert the worst impacts of the climate crisis.

The summit was convened months after a landmark report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) confirmed that only steep cuts in carbon emissions could prevent the most serious consequences of global heating in the coming decades such as threats to the global food supply and increasing extreme weather events like droughts, floods and wildfires.

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