Environmental protesters have gone ahead with action to disrupt sections of England’s busiest motorway despite a major Metropolitan Police operation to foil their plans.

A spokeswoman for Just Stop Oil said “action has gone ahead in multiple locations on the M25” on Monday morning.

Hackney Gazette: (photo: Essex Police)(photo: Essex Police) (Image: PA)

The demonstrations come as the latest Cop27 international climate change talks in Egypt get under way.

Surrey Police tweeted that they had reports there were protesters at a number of places along the motorway, resulting in some temporary lane closures.

The force said they would “get this resolved as soon as possible”.

Hackney Gazette: (photo: Surrey Police)(photo: Surrey Police) (Image: Surrey Police)

Essex Police said arrests were made after reports of people climbing up an overhead gantry close to junction 30 of the M25.

Hertfordshire Police said five people had been arrested after protesters attempted to climb overhead gantries at various junctions.

The Metropolitan Police said it had arrested people on Sunday evening and Monday morning as it launched an operation to identify and arrest climate change protesters suspected of planning “reckless and serious” motorway disruption.

Hackney Gazette: (photo: Just Stop Oil)(photo: Just Stop Oil) (Image: Just Stop Oil)

Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist said three people were arrested on Sunday evening who were suspected of planning public disruption.

Shortly before 8am on Monday, the Met said it had arrested a further four people for conspiracy to cause public nuisance at an address in south London.

Mr Twist said: “Our investigation has strong reason to suspect the Just Stop Oil group intend to disrupt major motorway road networks which would risk serious harm to the public, with reckless action to obstruct the public on a large scale.

“All those arrested are suspected of engaging in conspiracy to cause public nuisance contrary to Section 78 Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022.

“There remains a possibility outstanding suspects are still intent on causing unlawful disruption to the public. The Met has mobilised specialist teams and drawn police officers from across the capital to respond.”

Hackney Gazette: (photo: Surrey Police)(photo: Surrey Police) (Image: Surrey Police)

Just Stop Oil has vowed to continue its action, saying it will demonstrate “every day” until the group’s demand for no new oil and gas in the UK is met.

In an update on its website, the group said: “This is not a one-day event, expect us every day and anywhere. This is an act of resistance against a criminal government and their genocidal death project.

“Our supporters will be returning – today, tomorrow and the next day – and the next day after that – and every day until our demand is met: no new oil and gas in the UK.”

According to the Met, which is conducting the operation in conjunction with the National Police Coordination Centre (NPoCC), more than 10,000 officer shifts have been dedicated to policing Just Stop Oil protests since the start of October.

“These are officers who would otherwise be dealing with issues that matter to local communities, such as knife crime, safeguarding and responding to burglaries,” Mr Twist said.

Hackney Gazette: (photo: Surrey Police)(photo: Surrey Police) (Image: Surrey Police)

“We are determined to bring to justice all of those who conspire to cause significant and unreasonable disruption to London, or cause damage to buildings, property or valuables. It’s what the public expects, and we’ll work closely with the Crown Prosecution Service and Courts to make sure this happens.”

Police are calling on the public to assist with preventing public disruption from protesters by reporting it to 999.

Essex Police said it was “dealing robustly” with protesters and urged the public not to intervene.

Just Stop Oil staged 32 days of disruption from the end of September and throughout October, which the Met said resulted in 677 arrests with 111 people charged, and officers working a total of 9,438 additional shifts.

The climate change action group has been calling on the Government to abandon plans to licence more than 100 new oil and gas projects by 2025, and to do more to help people with their skyrocketing energy bills.

“Policy failures… will force millions into poverty and fac(e) a choice between heating, eating, or providing the basic essentials for themselves and their families,” Just Stop Oil said in a recent statement.

“After decades of climate misinformation and delay, we face an existential crisis. We are going to lose all we hold dear. We need to ditch new oil and gas now and we need to change our politics, so that in future everyone can have a say in the decisions that will determine the future of humanity.”

According to the group, since its campaign began on April 1, Just Stop Oil supporters have been arrested nearly 2,000 times, with five of their supporters currently in prison.

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