A police officer on a motorbike was injured in a highway collision while responding to Just Stop Oil protesters near London on Tuesday.
Essex police have arrested four people as of Wednesday, with two facing charges of “intentionally recklessly causing a public nuisance.”
Activists with Just Stop Oil climbed overhead gantries on the M25 — U.K.‘s busiest highway — on Tuesday, where they have been hanging banners as part of an anti-fossil fuel protest which coincides with the COP27 climate summit in Egypt. The protests disrupted traffic and caused massive delays on the highway, frustrating residents relying on the highway, authorities said.
“Due to the dangerous position in which the protester has placed themselves, their movements across the gantry and the need to ensure the safety of road users and police officers the M25 has had to be closed in both directions,” police said.
After authorities put a rolling road block on the highway to deal with the activists, there was a collision involving two lorries and a police motorbike, injuring the rider, according to the Essex police. Authorities did not provide details on the condition of the injured officer.
Four people were arrested as of Wednesday morning, including a 55-year-old man and a 53-year-old woman.
In a statement, Just Stop Oil called the incident “an awful situation” that would be “unacceptable” in “normal circumstances.” However, the group — which has gone viral for their protests at art museums — defended their actions, saying, “The failure of our politics has left us with no other option as we seek to protect our rights and freedoms from a collapse in law and order due to a heating world.”
Since Monday, London’s Met police have arrested at least 35 people as part of Just Stop Oil protests along the M25 highway, the BBC reported.