Get in touch
***Do you know the man who sprayed the ink? Let us know: [email protected]***
This is the moment a man infuriated with Insulate Britain’s latest protest squirted ink in the faces of the eco-mob.
The extraordinary footage was taken as the group blocked the A40 in North Acton, west London, causing huge tail backs this morning.
The man walked along a line of sitting protesters and squirted them in the face with a bottle of ink.
When challenged, he told the activists: ‘It’s ink. If you’re going to do that, you’re getting covered in ink.’
One of the protesters covered in ink was 77-year-old retired doctor Christian.
Christian said: ‘It wasn’t painful, it didn’t hurt – it was unpleasant, but just sad, the whole thing’s sad, it’s sad that we have to do this. I hate doing it, I’m a retired doctor, I’ve spent my whole life trying to help people, and I’m reduced to having to do this because the Government won’t address the problem adequately, basically. Terribly worried.’
The identity of the ink sprayer is unknown and it is unclear if he was a passer-by or driver.
The campaigners split their action across two sides of the capital today, with one group sitting on the A40 in North Acton, and others blocking a major roundabout next to the Dartford Crossing on the M25 in Kent.
Some 17 people were arrested by the Metropolitan Police in London, while Kent Police detained 32 – but Insulate Britain said the total number arrested was 55.
The man walked along a line of sitting protesters and squirted them in the face with a bottle of in
The identity of the ink sprayer is unknown and it is unclear if he was a passer-by or driver
The demonstrations lasted about two hours – having both began at about 8am. The A40 was reopened by 10am, while one lane in Dartford was open by 10.30am.
The protesters have brought chaos to motorways and A roads in the capital since mid-September with 146 people taking part in the campaign and 739 arrests made so far – but no one has yet been charged. The activists were effectively banned from all major roads in England on Monday after a landmark High Court ruling.
In Dartford this morning, police held some of the drivers back and warned they could be arrested for assault if they touched the activists. One irate motorist was heard on Sky News telling an officer: ‘I’ll get the lorry down here and I’ll run over them, I promise you, just saying. Drag them out the f***ing way mate, will you?’
Meanwhile another driver got out a set of bagpipes and played them in the faces of protesters until police stopped him.
The man, who had a Scottish accent, said: ‘They are holding up ambulances, fire trucks. Disgraceful. You’re damaging your cause. What I was doing, obnoxiously, bagpiping in your face, is what you’re doing to all this traffic – you’re obnoxiously holding up people’s lives. You’re damaging your cause guys, you’re actually damaging your cause.’
As a further motorist tried to pick up the protesters, an officer told him: ‘No, don’t even think about it.’ That driver was then heard saying: ‘Get out of the road, we’ve got work to do. We’re trying to earn money here. We’ve got people trying to get to school, we’ve got people going to school, get out the f***ing road.’ He then tells the officer: ‘Get them out the road, why ain’t you nicking them?’ But the officer tells him to ‘get back in your car’.
Another driver on the A40 today removed the group’s banners, shouting: ‘Get out the road’. While being filmed by Greatest Hits Radio, he added: ‘Who’s going to help me move them, someone help me move them?’
One man on the A40 in West London threw ink over one of the protesters today – a 77-year-old retired doctor called Christian
Retired doctor Christian, 77, is an Insulate Britain protester who had ink thrown at him by angry drivers on the A40 today
And a BBC reporter at the scene said: ‘Now the police are here, but have readily admitted they’re too short-staffed to move them off the road, so this disruption will probably last for at least a few hours here.’
As drivers faced two-mile tailbacks on the A40, the Metropolitan Police said 17 people were arrested including six who were glued onto the road.
A spokesman said: ‘Officers have arrested 17 Insulate Britain activists for obstructing the highway at the A40 junction/Gypsy Lane, North Acton. Police worked quickly to get roads open again. Traffic is now flowing. Thanks to motorists for their patience.’
Meanwhile, protesters at Dartford were unhappy at how quickly the police turned up, with one of the activists telling the Guardian: ‘We’re here again, Insulate Britain, and we’re attempting to block this road.
Retired vicar, 79, is back again with Insulate Britain and arrested for a SIXTH time in just six weeks
‘Police arrived very quickly, arresting us. I’m fine, it would have been good if we’d had a little longer, but we’re here, and we’re doing it, and we’re still making the same statement whether it’s for a long period or short.’
And one teenage demonstrator in Dartford was overheard saying on Sky News just before he was pulled off the road by a police officer: ‘I’m 18, I’m terrified of all the war that will happen because of the climate.’
Kent Police arrested six people in Dartford at a Hilton hotel car park before the protests even started. Protesters included Amy Pritchard and Tony Hill, who were also sat on Bishopsgate in London on Monday.
Miss Pritchard, who claimed to have been arrested 11 times since September 13, said: ‘The plan is we are being searched and are about to be arrested. We were going to go on to the roundabout to obstruct it. We’ve been prevented from entering the roundabout. The police have not been charging us with anything or interviewing us.
‘There’s been a political decision not to deal with us and we don’t want to be blocking roads, so it is fine. And we will continue until our demands are met and we are prevented from doing this. The decarbonisation at the speed and scale that is necessary is more important than the legal consequences for us all individually.’
And Mr Hill, a former police officer and soldier who is now a councillor, said: ‘I’m here through anger, fear and determination. Forgive us this disruption but please understand the reasons why we are doing it, for the disruption today will be nothing compared to what we get in the future of climate catastrophe.’
Kent Police also arrested 14 people on the A206 and another 14 by the nearby M25. A total of around 40 activists descended on Dartford, with some of them glueing their hands to the road or to each other to delay their removal.
But Insulate Britain taunted the force in a statement saying: ‘Insulate Britain would like to congratulate Kent Police for the swift and robust action they have taken today though it must be frustrating to have to devote resources to intelligence gathering on people from Insulate Britain, when we could have been in prison weeks ago.’
And the activists warned that the disruption will continue, with a spokesman for the group adding: ‘Insulate Britain will return to the roads at the earliest opportunity to continue our campaign of nonviolent civil resistance until Boris Johnson gets on with the job of protecting the people of this country. Insulate Britain has a duty to continue our campaign and we will not be bystanders whilst the Government condemns this country to death.’
The two protests comes one day after Insulate Britain urged drivers not to use the M25 as they threatened to bring chaos to the motorway again with a series of road blockades. The environmental campaigners also asked police to refuse to arrest them and had warned their ‘non-violent civil resistance’ would restart on the road from 7am today.
Insulate Britain, which is an offshoot of Extinction Rebellion, added that if motorists do still choose to use the M25 this morning then their speed should be ‘reduced to 20 mph to minimise the risk of accidents’.
Today’s action – which started one hour later than planned – comes after the eco-zealots brought parts of Central London to a standstill once again on Monday, with several of them glueing their hands, feet or faces to roads.
Four court injunctions have been taken out in response to the protests. Most recently, National Highways secured a ban on activities which obstruct traffic on its 4,300-mile network of motorways and major A-roads in England.
This came in the wake of an injunction granted to the Government-owned agency on Monday, which prohibits Insulate Britain activists from interfering with traffic on any part of the strategic road network in England.