I’m sure you remember the Extinction Rebellion campaigns that were taking place in 2019 and early 2020. Those protests died down a bit during the pandemic. It’s hard to block up traffic when there isn’t any. But now that things are returning to normal, the group is back in action. They recently blocked access to a private airport. They also blocked access to an oil rig maintenance facility in Scotland. And yesterday they invaded the Louis Vuitton’s show in Paris.
But the main job of harassing commuters in the UK seems to have been handed over to an offshoot of Extinction Rebellion called Insulate Britain, which is blocking up traffic to demand more insulation for homes. The IB protesters have repeatedly blocked traffic on the M25, which is the beltway that runs around London. This report is from Sep. 15.
A court order was issued to prevent the group from blocking traffic but they continued to do it anyway. This is from Sep. 21
🚨 | NEW: Police have arrested 23 environmental protesters after they attempted to block the M25
— News For All (@NewsForAllUK) September 21, 2021
They’ve also been blocking other major roads for several days.
Insulate Britain halts traffic on M1 and M4 in tenth day of action https://t.co/BOQdjIVoTj
— Insulate Britain (@InsulateLove) October 1, 2021
In at least one case, there was video showing the police escorting the protesters onto the roadway:
One video that got some attention on social media a few days ago showed a woman who was desperately trying to get to see her mother who she said was in an ambulance on the way to the hospital when a group of these IB protesters sat down in the road. She begged them to let her through.
'I've got a bloody electric car!'
Desperate motorist trying to get to her unwell mother in hospital weeps as Insulate Britain eco-mob block four major London routes earlier today causing rush hour chaos.
— LBC (@LBC) October 4, 2021
When the co-founder of Extinction Rebellion was asked specifically about this case he suggested he wouldn’t have moved. In fact, he said he wouldn’t have moved even for an ambulance.
Veg farmer and co-founder of environmental activist group Extinction Rebellion Roger Hallam has been criticised for publicly supporting the actions of Insulate Britain protesters this week.
Mr Hallam, who says he is just a supporter of Insulate Britain and not the founder, defended protesters who were criticised for refusing to move to allow a woman to see her mother in hospital…
Podcast host Dr Mike Galsworthy referred directly to the controversial video. He asked: “What would you do in this situation?”
Hallam’s reply was: “I would stay there.”
When asked if he would also stop an ambulance going through, Mr Hallam replied simply “yes”.
Hallam added, “Civil resistance is not purist. People get hurt in political disruption.” Insulate Britain was quick to distance themselves from his comments, claiming they always allow ambulances to pass.
Insulate Britain has always ensured that Ambulances and Fire Engines are able to pass and will continue to do so pic.twitter.com/fPGDFiShXG
— Insulate Britain (@InsulateLove) October 5, 2021
There’s actually already one reported case where these protests led to serious consequences. A woman began having a stroke at home and because of the traffic issues her son attempted to drive her to the hospital himself. He wound up stuck in traffic on the M25 for hours. “I was there in my car with my mother for six hours watching her slip away,” he said. As a result of the delay she is now paralyzed on one side. Doctors told the son that if he’s made it to the hospital within 90 minutes her recovery would have been minimal.
Finally, Good Morning Britain hosted a spokesman for the group two weeks ago. One of the hosts asked him about this incident and he claimed he felt terrible about it but he then got angry and walked out.