The Metropolitan Police have launched a “significant” operation to identify and arrest climate change protesters suspected of planning “reckless and serious” motorway disruption as Cop27 gets underway.
ssistant Commissioner Matt Twist said three people were arrested on Sunday evening who were suspected of planning public disruption. Police were expecting to make more arrests overnight.
Mr Twist said: “Our investigation has strong reason to suspect the Just Stop Oil group intend to disrupt major motorway road networks which would risk serious harm to the public, with reckless action to obstruct the public on a large scale.
“All those arrested are suspected of engaging in conspiracy to cause public nuisance contrary to Section 78 Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022.
“There remains a possibility outstanding suspects are still intent on causing unlawful disruption to the public. The Met has mobilized specialist teams and drawn police officers from across the capital to respond.”
According to the Met, which is conducting the operation in conjunction with the National Police Coordination Center (NPoCC), more than 10,000 officer shifts have been dedicated to policing Just Stop Oil protests since the start of October.
“These are officers who would otherwise be dealing with issues that matter to local communities, such as knife crime, safeguarding and responding to burglaries,” Mr Twist said.
“We are determined to bring justice all of those who conspire to cause significant and unreasonable disruption to London, or cause damage to buildings, property or valuables. It’s what the public expects, and we’ll work closely with the Crown Prosecution Service and Courts to make sure this happens.”
Police are calling on the public to assist with preventing public disruption from protesters by reporting it to 999.
Just Stop Oil staged 32 days of disruption from the end of September and throughout October, which the Met said resulted in 677 arrests with 111 people charged, and officers working a total of 9,438 additional shifts.
The climate change action group has been calling on the Government to abandon plans to license over 100 new oil and gas projects by 2025, and to do more to help people with their skyrocketing energy bills.
“Policy failures… will force millions into poverty and fac(e) a choice between heating, eating, or providing the basic essentials for themselves and their families,” Just Stop Oil said in a recent statement.
“After decades of climate misinformation and delay, we face an existential crisis. We are going to lose all we hold dear. We need to ditch new oil and gas now and we need to change our politics, so that in future everyone can have a say in the decisions that will determine the future of humanity.”
According to the group, since its campaign began on April 1, Just Stop Oil supporters have been arrested nearly 2,000 times, with five of their supporters currently in prison.