Just Stop Oil London protest

Environmental protesters smashed up fuel pumps and blocked entrances at forecourts in London early this morning.

Just Stop Oil said 51 of its supporters blocked service stations and “decommissioned” pumps across central London in support of its demand that the UK government end new oil and gas projects in the UK.

Actions took place across west and south London affecting up to seven service stations, it claimed.

In some locations protesters blocked access to forecourts by sitting in the road with banners, while other groups broke the displays on pumps or covered them with spray paint before sitting down to await arrest.

Protester Stephen Gingell, 56, a business owner and father of three from Manchester, said: “I don’t want my beautiful boys to suffer horribly and their lives to be cut short with food shortages and riots due to climate collapse. The brutal truth is more burning of oil and gas is an act of genocide. The oil companies and the government know this. So why are they leading us into this slaughter?

“This week I climbed into the pipework of an oil refinery to shut it down. I’d never done anything remotely like that before. But I’m going to continue doing whatever it takes to stop new oil and gas.”

Metropolitan Police said on Twitter: “Protesters have targeted a number of petrol stations this morning, causing disruption [and] damaging pumps. Officers are at each of the targeted locations, we have made a number of arrests [and] specialist teams are removing those who are glued to pumps.”

Its Hammersmith and Fulham division added: “We were called at 06:29hrs today to reports of protesters damaging pumps at a petrol station in Talgarth Road, Hammersmith. Officers responded and within around 10 minutes five people had been arrested on suspicion of criminal damage. They remain in custody.”

Today’s action follows protests by the group earlier this week which blocked access to fuel depots in Essex and Warwickshire, and sit-ins at the entrances to fuel stations on the M25 during which fuel pumps were smashed up.

Yesterday Essex Police reported two people were still occupying a tunnel under St Clements Way.

It also revealed that following intelligence it received, officers carried out a warrant at an address in Rainham on Wednesday evening.

Items seized included climbing equipment and eight people were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit a public nuisance. They remain in custody.

Chief superintendent Stuart Hooper said: “These further arrests demonstrate our commitment to keeping our residents safe, keeping Essex moving, and tackling disruption.

“Those arrested in this warrant had travelled from as far as Cheshire and Dorset.

“To reiterate what we have said already, we respect the public’s rights to peacefully protest, but sadly this is not what we have been seeing this week.

“These incidents have been extensively resourced with more than a hundred officers and staff assigned to the operational response at this point.

“These officers could have been in the communities of Essex responding to emergencies, helping Essex residents, and tackling crime.”

Referring to the protesters in the tunnel, he added: “People have a right to have their say but they don’t need to sit in a hole, using up public money from the people of Essex in order to do that.”