In a recent early morning demonstration, Stop the Oil activists protested along the M25 Dartford crossing, while demanding that the government eliminates and replace laws surrounding oil and gas licenses.
Many distributed themselves along roads, blocked fuel stations and suspended themselves off from the Queen Elizabeth II bridge.
Protestors claim that: “This is the only way we will be heard, we are simply making a direct statement that will encourage the general public to hear what we stand for and possibly take action themselves.”
A supporter and active attendee of the Stop the Oil meetings, who wished to remain anonymous, expressed his support for the Dartford incident and the significance of these protestors risking their own lives as a way of displaying their dedication to the cause.
He told Artefact that people choose to ignore them – which is a problem they face everyday: “The point is, these people are risking their lives and nobody is giving them credit. We are living in a dying world, this is all for the future of our world, future and children. We are pretending like this is not a problem, however this will be for our future generations,” he said.
Stop the Oil are seeking these changes in oil and fossil fuel licences in order to reduce the effects of climate change. Morgan Trowland, aged 39, is one of the protestors who tied himself to the QE II bridge: “Our government has enacted suicidal laws to accelerate oil production: killing human life and destroying our environment. I can’t challenge this madness from my desk job, designing bridges, so I’m taking direct action, occupying the QEII bridge until the government stops all new oil.”
Essex police have been working to find ways to resolve the chaos, and released a statement saying: “Officers are currently working to resolve a situation which has caused us to close the QElI bridge at the Dartford Crossing.
“We received a report shortly before 3:50pm today (Monday 17th) that two people had climbed onto the bridge and are currently at height, this is likely to cause delays throughout the morning and this incident may take some time to resolve due to the complexities of safely getting people down from the height. Please plan your journey. We appreciate your patience and understanding.”
However, this movement wasn’t welcomed by the general public, instead instilling frustration and anger for those who were on their way to work. Support worker Cassandra, who was on her way to visit a patient on his 86th birthday, experienced significant delays and was not able to physically make her way to see him.
She said: “There are so many better ways to protest that will not effect people who are sick or those who need urgent medical help. They are just completely irritating people and I don’t see the point in it, it is selfish and idiotic, my patient spent his birthday alone.”
This seemed to be the most pressing issue for the public as thousands went onto Twitter to express their anger towards the protestors, including Chloe who posted: “Good morning to everyone except the just stop oil protestors who don’t effect anyone expect working class individuals going about their life. [sic]”
However, many also tweeted their support for the protestors, including Ian Carter who posted: “Well done to the protestors. It was brave and it got good publicity. We’ve got a government tearing the country apart with incompetence, fracking, fossil fuel licences and sewage. Thanks for doing something.”
Feature Image by Rebecca Keen