Controversial Labour donor and Just Stop Oil supporter Dale Vince has slammed the suggestion the eco-zealots should foot their own protest bills – as activists staged yet another slow march forcing London rush-hour into gridlock this morning.
Mr Vince was debating whether activists should cover the cost of policing marches after the Metropolitan Police revealed the last six weeks has cost £4.5million.
Meanwhile, two groups of 28 activists blocked roads around Victoria as they entered their eighth week of daily action – with 95 eco-protesters arrested so far.
Just hours later more protestors in north London had to be moved off the road by police.
Dale Vince, the multi-millionaire founder of wind farm company Ecotricity, sparked scandal after it was revealed he made a series of donations to Labour. Here, he supports a Just Stop Oil protest in Central London on June 8
Worth £100million, Vince has given around £1.5million to the Labour party, including £20,000 to Sir Keir Starmer’s own election campaigns
A former penniless hippy who trundled around the country in a converted ambulance has thrown his weight – and bulging bank account – behind the climate activist group Just Stop Oil.
Speaking about whether activists should have to foot the bill for their own protests, he told Good Morning Britain: ‘I think effectively that would shut down protesting in this country. Protesting should be a democratic right.
‘You have to ask yourself, if we weren’t allowed to protest because we had to pay the bill we might as well be living in Russia or China or North Korea because they don’t allow protest there either.’
Worth £100million, Vince has given around £1.5million to the Labour party, including £20,000 to Sir Keir Starmer’s own election campaigns.
Some 40 members of the protest group Just Stop Oil have been charged with failing to comply with public order conditions.
Two groups of activists today brought London roads to a stand-still at 8am, with police giving notices ordering both marches off the road by 8.30am.
Police were notified about the Westminster protest and arrived at the scene two minutes after, clearing the road after 12 minutes.
In Islington, north London, further protesters gathered in the road to slow march at 9.49am.
Officers arrived at 10.11am and activists were moved off the road by 10.33am.
Two groups of 28 activists blocked roads around Victoria as the group enters their eighth week of action – with 95 eco-protesters arrested so far
The two groups brought London roads to a stand-still at 8am in Victoria, central London
Police placed notices ordering both marches off the road by 8.30am
One of the group, 74-year-old Ann Taylor, who is a former teacher from Oxford, said: ‘My fourth grandchild was born on May 21. So gorgeous, so tiny and defenceless.
‘She’s just weeks old now and I will do anything I can to help ensure a liveable future for her.
‘As a former teacher, young people really matter to me. I will absolutely do what I can, non-violently, to try to protect the future of my grandchildren, and all young people all over the world.’
Yesterday, Home Secretary Suella Braverman lashed out at the group after it was revealed their traffic-stopping antics had cost the taxpayer millions.
The Home Secretary backed giving police new powers to prevent and end such slow-walking demonstrations.
Activists have been staging demonstrations every day since April 24, mainly marching slowly on major roads in London, but also disrupting high profile events like the Chelsea Flower Show, Gallagher Premiership rugby final at Twickenham and World Snooker Championship.
Just Stop Oil has pledged to carry on its protests indefinitely until the Government stops granting new licences for gas, coal and oil.
Up to June 8, nearly 13,770 officer shifts had been used dealing with the demonstrations, Scotland Yard has revealed.
Yesterday, Home Secretary Suella Braverman lashed out at the group after it was revealed their traffic-stopping antics had cost the taxpayer millions
The £4.5million cost is on top of the £7.5million spent policing the series of protests Just Stop Oil staged between last October and December.
The Government is seeking to introduce law changes through a piece of secondary legislation that cannot be amended, known as a Statutory Instrument, because the same proposals were made in a late amendment to the Public Order Bill earlier this year and voted down by the Lords.
Speaking in the Commons this afternoon, Ms Braverman said: ‘People have a right to get to work on time and free from obstruction… the roads belong to the British people and not a selfish minority who treat them like their private property.’
Officers have new powers introduced last month to force protesters out of the road if they are deemed to be causing significant disruption, and these have been used in 125 of the 156 slow marches that have taken place so far.
Police said 86 people have been arrested for failing to comply, with 49 charged so far.