More than 30 Just Stop Oil protesters have been arrested after they glued themselves to roads surrounding Trafalgar Square in an attempt to block off the London landmark.
The Metropolitan Police said that 32 people had been arrested for “wilful obstruction of the highway” after supporters of the environmental protest group “glued and locked themselves” on to the road at the top of Whitehall near Trafalgar Square at midday.
Traffic began flowing down Whitehall again at 2pm after specially trained police officers detached protesters from the road – they were then carried off into police vans.
Catherine Rennie-Nash, 72, a Just Stop Oil supporter who was part of the demonstration, said it was about “asking the British Government not to allow 130 new oil and gas licences in the North Sea”.
She added: “The disruption that the campaigns cause is minuscule compared with the disruption that is going to happen when the climate breaks down if we continue like we are.
“It’s always difficult, but we know that civil resistance is the only thing in history that has shown to be effective.”
Traffic around Trafalgar Square was disrupted for two hours, forcing some bus passengers to get off and walk to their next stop.
Russell Wibrew, 77, said: “We had to get off the bus and walk – the protest is so stupid and futile.
“I’m for freedom of speech but not freedom of disruption. Disruption of the general public is not acceptable in any way whatsoever.”
While some people applauded the protesters, others shouted “get a job” at them and thanked the police for forcibly removing them.
Lynn Jones, 65, from south London, said: “It does annoy me – there are better ways to protest than sticking yourself to the tarmac.”
She added: “Us taxpayers are paying for idiots to be removed from the pavement and it’s then going to cost the NHS money to repair their hands.”
Just Stop Oil said in a post on Twitter: “At approximately 12pm today, 32 supporters of Just Stop Oil peacefully blocked multiple roads surrounding Trafalgar Square demanding an immediate end to all new oil and gas licensing.
“Oil is causing the climate and cost of living crisis. Rocketing energy prices are funding the companies who are torching the climate. Oil is fuelling wars and causing droughts, extreme heat, wildfires and crop failures.”