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‘We would walk 500 miles to stop oil’: Scots protesters arrested over Buckingham Palace roadblock demo

Environmental protesters from Scotland have been arrested after blocking The Mall in front of Buckingham Palace in a demonstration against new fossil fuel licences.

It is understood as many as 25 have been arrested after they glued themselves to each other in the Just Stop Oil protest.

Around 30 activists started were sitting on the road at 8.45am wearing orange high-visibility jackets and holding banners.

There were estimated to have been at least 40 police officers and 10 police vehicles at the scene.

By lunchtime the final activists had been taken away in police vans, with disruption lasting for more than two hours.

Police said that they have to clear the road for the Changing of Guard.

The protesters travelled from Scotland and said, they felt the need to act after the UK Government gave its backing in September to an expansion of oil and gas operations in the North Sea.

Several police officers and police liaison attended the scene and one asked: “How long are you going to be here?”

'We would walk 500 miles to stop oil': Scots protesters arrested over Buckingham Palace roadblock demoPA

A protester replied: “Until we get a new government.”

The North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) is expected to start a new round of oil and gas licensing this month.

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said that could lead to more than 100 new licences being granted, which he claimed could “safeguard” UK energy supplies and support more than 70,000 jobs in Scotland.

Officers searched the protesters, some of whom had glued their hands together.

Police told the demonstrators that they intended to clear the road for the changing of the guard on Monday morning.

While some protesters left of their own volition at around 10 am and were taken to a police van, others were physically lifted by officers to different vans.

Specialist officers used plastic syringes to debond the protesters The liquid was squirted into the activists’ hands, which allowed the police to separate the protesters from the road or each other.

One of the officers told one protester: “Just let go of it, just let go of it. Don’t have an argument over it. There’s no point arguing over it. You are still going to be arrested, aren’t you if you are sat in the road. I am just going to save you from hurting your hand, please.”

Another said: “Someone could drive over you. I’d hate for you to get injured.”

Enough of the activists had been removed for the Changing of the Guard procession to go past. Six of them by then had remained.

Emma Brown, 31, who lives in Glasgow, was attending her first such protest, made a reference to the well-known Proclaimers hit when she said that the activists “would walk 500 miles” to “just stop oil”.

Ms Brown who said that the protesters had come down from Scotland said: “We’ve come down because the Government is pressing ahead with over 100 new fossil fuel licences.

“And that is literally a death sentence for all of us here and for all of you.

“So we can’t allow this to continue. We have to have a cut-off somewhere. We’ve seen the effects already on our doorstep. We’re seeing the effects all over the globe. And this madness has to stop.”

Pupils from Park Mains High School, Erskine, in Renfrewshire, were at the scene watching the protesters.

One teacher said: “Let’s get a photo with the activists!”

Another teacher told a pupil off for filming in a demonstrator’s face.

The schoolboy said: “But they’re protesters, they want the attention.”

The teacher replied: “Don’t do that again. Wind your neck in.”

Ailith Stewart, 20, a student from Edinburgh said: “I’m taking action with Just Stop Oil because I’m tired of feeling ignored by the government at Westminster. Their decisions don’t represent the best interests of the people. There is so much that can be done to mitigate the climate crisis, but this government seems intent on ignoring it all and making ordinary people suffer in the name of profit. If there’s any chance we can show them that the people won’t stand for it, I want to take it. There’s more of us than there are of them, and we’re where their power comes from.

“I’m taking action for my future, the future of my loved ones, children I may one day have, and every person who has to suffer the consequences of the climate crisis now without ever having been involved in a single decision about it.” Just Stop Oil say since their campaign began on April, there have been over 1500 arrests of Just Stop Oil supporters.

'We would walk 500 miles to stop oil': Scots protesters arrested over Buckingham Palace roadblock demoPA

The group say First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has not yet made a comment and have called on her to “show her support if she cares about Scotland’s young people, and those in poverty who face more hardship from extreme weather and air pollution”.

A spokesman said: “This is not a one day event, 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.

“We will not be intimidated by changes to the law, we will not be stopped by private injunctions sought to silence peaceful people. Our supporters understand that these are irrelevant when set against mass starvation, slaughter, the loss of our rights, freedoms and communities.”

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