...By Joseph Benjamin for TDPel Media.
Just Stop Oil protesters have stated that new laws to crack down on marches will not stop them, as they moved their demonstrations to major London thoroughfares.
Supporters of the movement blocked traffic along Uxbridge Road in Ealing and Putney and Mile End Road in east London, in a fifth consecutive day of protests.
The Metropolitan Police issued Public Order Act (S12) notices to remove supporters from the roads in previous marches, prompting the group to deploy slow marching as a tactic.
The protests come a day after Suella Braverman introduced new laws giving officers the ability to intervene and stop the slow walking tactic.
Just Stop Oil has previously changed its approach to slow marching after several activists were arrested for blocking roads.
The new legislation will create a new criminal offence of interfering with key national infrastructure, such as roads, airports, and railways, with perpetrators facing up to 12 months in jail.
Protesters who lock themselves onto others, objects, or buildings will face up to six months in jail or an unlimited fine.
Police will also be allowed to stop and search protesters who they believe are setting out to cause “serious disruption”.
The Public Order Bill, which will pass into law after being approved by the House of Lords, aims to provide clarity to police on when they can use existing powers to break up the “selfish, guerrilla” slow-marching tactics used to halt traffic across the UK.
However, Just Stop Oil protesters have warned the Home Secretary that the new legislation will not deter them.
A spokesperson for the group said that they are doing what the Suffragettes did and what the Civil Rights movements did, and they will not be deterred by changes to protest laws or how strongly the police enforce those laws.
The protests have caused major disruptions to traffic across London, prompting the police to issue Public Order Act notices to remove protesters from the roads.
The slow-walking tactic has been widely used by Just Stop Oil, and the new legislation aims to provide police with the clarity they have asked for on when they can use existing powers to break up these tactics.
The article highlights the tension between the right to protest and the need to maintain public safety and order.
The new legislation aims to strike a balance between these two interests by providing the police with the necessary tools to maintain public safety while respecting the right to protest.