Lorry drivers blasted their horns and a female protester was nearly run over by a frustrated motorist as campaign group Insulate Britain blocked roads for a 13th time.
Clashes ensued between demonstrators and angry commuters on Wednesday morning, with demonstrators dragged off the roads by drivers near a busy industrial estate in Essex.
Around 20 protesters blocked the junction to St Clements Way and London Road, in Thurrock, forcing multiple vehicles including HGVs to stop and turn round.
Others had glued themselves to the road, causing long queues of cars.
A female protester was almost run over after stopping in front of a blue Hyundai car, and was berated by the driver who told her “this is stupidity”.
Some members of the group were dragged off the road multiple times by drivers, who pulled their backpacks and clothing, after immediately returning to their spots and sitting down again.
Police later arrived and removed more protesters from the roads.
HGV drivers also warned that the protests could cause the ongoing fuel crisis to worsen as tankers would not be able to reach fuelling stations.
One driver told LBC news: “If this protest stays here for much longer, I’m afraid the night shift driver will not be able to deliver fuel for any garages or anyone.
“So talking about lorry driver shortages and fuel shortages, today it may get worse. This is a hotspot.
“We also deliver to commercials, bus garages, train depots, which are all essential for transport.”
“I took pictures whilst sitting in traffic trying to deliver fresh produce to a supermarket distribution centre.
“I was on the moving side of traffic so didn’t wait long, luckily.”
Responding to the incident, Essex Police said: “We are currently on scene and have made arrests following reports of people blocking the slip road of the M25 in Thurrock.
“We received reports of people on the road at junction 31 shortly after 8.25am today.
“Arrests have been made.
“We know this will be frustrating for people caught up in traffic but we appreciate your patience and understanding.”
Insulate Britain, an offshoot of environmental campaign group Extinction Rebellion, has now staged protests 13 times in recent weeks.
The group has blocked parts of major roads around London, including the M25 and M4, to draw attention to climate change.
Transport for London was previously granted a High Court injunction against the group to prevent them further obstructing traffic – which applies to 14 locations around the capital.
The injunctions were extended to the end of next month on Tuesday, prompting members of the group to burn the court orders outside the Royal Courts of Justice in central London.
Dr Diana Warner, an Insulate Britain supporter, said: “Many people are going out of their way to thank us.
“Some come out of their cars to thank us, some are police officers involved with our arrests.
“To them, we bring hope – we haven’t yet given up. We are still pushing for lifesaving changes.”