Published: 09:37, 13 September 2021
| Updated: 12:00, 14 September 2021
Dozens of climate change protestors have been arrested after a series of sit-ins caused major delays on the M25 and erupted into clashes with drivers.
Police were called to a series of demonstrations blocking slip roads on the motorway network this morning near the Dartford Crossing.
The protestors blocking entry to the M25. Voiced by Christina Bowden
Protestors from environmental group Insulate Britain also restricted access to the roundabout at junction 20 for the Swanley Interchange.
Videos have emerged online showing an unnamed driver attempting to break up the blockade and drag away a climate campaigner before being stopped by police.
Another man is heard saying "I don't understand why you won't move them."
Social media users reacted angrily to the protests with some accusing the police of being too scared to act.
One lorry driver tried to break up the blockade
Others pointed out such activities could restrict access to emergency vehicles, preventing them from reaching those in need.
But officers from Kent, Surrey, Essex, Hertfordshire and the Metropolitan Police have now made a series of arrests.
Twelve people have been taken in custody in Kent on suspicion of obstructing a highway after police were called to the scene shortly after 8am this morning.
Another twelve people suspected of obstructing the busy motorway network have been arrested by Essex Police on the Thurrock side of the Crossing near Lakeside. They remain in custody.
Chief Inspector Paul Austin said: “This incident caused significant disruption and our officers worked to resolve it as quickly and safely as possible.
“I want to thank the drivers affected for their patience and understanding.”
The road has since reopened but there continues to be long queues on the M25 in both directions.
Highways England is reporting the earlier police incident at Thurrock has now been cleared and all closures lifted.
Other areas affected include junction six in Godstone and junction 14 in Heathrow.
A group called Insulate Britain, a climate change action group, are claiming responsibility for the demonstrations.
A statement on the pressure group's website said: "During rush hour today motorway traffic at six locations on the M25 was brought to a standstill by campaigners from Insulate Britain, a new group demanding that the government gets on with the job of insulating Britain’s homes.
"Insulate Britain says today’s disruption is just the start.
"Actions will continue until the government makes a meaningful commitment to insulate Britain’s 29 million leaky homes, some of the oldest and most energy inefficient in Europe."
James Walker, a spokesman for Kent Police, said: "We was called at 8.10am to a report a group of people were obstructing the road at a roundabout where the B1273, in Swanley, and junction 3 of the M25 meet.
A diversion, which will allow drivers to join the motorway at junction 4, is in place.
Traffic is moving but motorists are advised to expect delays and, if possible, use an alternative route.
Watch KMTV's report on the demonstrators