Just Stop Oil: Climate group marches on Waterloo Bridge, dispute with Met Police over blocked ambulance

Just Stop Oil said more than 50 people marched over Waterloo Bridge in London this morning.
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The Met Police has clashed with Just Stop Oil on social media after officers accused protesters of blocking an ambulance on Waterloo Bridge.

Climate campaigners have this week kicked off a new round of slow march protests, aimed at disrupting traffic on busy roads in the capital, as they call for an end to new fossil fuel projects in the UK.

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Activists associated with Just Stop Oil also smashed the glass protecting the Rokeby Venus - a 17th century painting famously slashed by suffragette Mary Richardson in 1914 - at the National Portrait Gallery on Monday (November 7).

Police say they have made 219 arrests and filed 98 charges against Just Stop Oil members so far this month. Officers were on the scene this morning as a group of 50 marched at Waterloo Bridge, with police signalling on social media they planned to make arrests under Section 7 of the Public Order Act - a new legal power which allows police to remove protesters interfering with "key national infrastructure".

In a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, the Metropolitan Police posted a photo of traffic backed up on Waterloo Bridge.

"This is some of the congestion which JSO are causing on Waterloo Bridge," it wrote. "One of the vehicles is an ambulance on blue lights which is not able to get past. Officers are continually telling the activists to move out the road so it can pass while making arrests."

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Just Stop Oil commented on the Met's post querying the force's telling of events, writing: "Show the whole photo. Protesters are on the right-hand side of the photo, walking north. It's your officers blocking the ambulance."

The force hit back claiming the bridge was blocked "because your activists are laying in the road, as your video shows. If the people who are under arrest worked with us, got up and moved to the pavement we could have reopened the road to release the traffic".

Just Stop Oil in a separate post accused the Met of preventing the ambulance from moving "so they can blame it on a protest march going in the other direction".

The climate action group has traditionally had a "blue light policy", meaning activists will move out of the way for emergency vehicles with their lights and sirens going.

Further marches are planned this month on November 18, starting at the London Eye and ending at Trafalgar Square, and then every day from November 20.

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