UK court sends 9 road-blocking climate protesters to prison

International

FILE – an Insulate Britain protestor stands upon a police van during a demonstration in front of Parliament in Westminster in London, Nov. 4, 2021. A British court has on Wednesday, Nov. 17 sentenced nine members from the climate action group Insulate Britain to up to six months in prison for breaching an injunction designed to prevent road blockades. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, file)

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December 25 2021 12:00 am

LONDON (AP) — A British court on Wednesday sentenced nine members of the climate action group Insulate Britain to up to six months in prison for breaching an injunction designed to prevent road blockades.

Sentencing the protesters, judge Victoria Sharp said that there was no alternative to the prison sentences because of the seriousness of the group’s actions and their clear intention to further flout court orders.

Insulate Britain has made headlines after staging multiple demonstrations that have obstructed many of Britain’s main highways and roads in recent weeks. The group demands that the government better insulate homes in the country to cut carbon emissions.

The nine admitted breaching an injunction by taking part in a blockade at a busy motorway during the morning rush hour on Oct.8. Some of the group glued themselves to each other and two glued themselves to the road.

Ben Taylor, 37, was given a six-month sentence, the longest of the group. The judge said Taylor’s statement to the court, in which he vowed to continue protesting, was “inflammatory” and a “call to arms.”

Two protesters from the group were sentenced to three months, while another six were sentenced to four months in prison.

“Anyone who causes misery to motorists may face prison,” Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said in a tweet Wednesday. “I’ll continue to do all I can to protect road-users and prevent dangerous, disruptive behavior.”

Insulate Britain said it will not stop protesting, and called on the public to join their cause. Emma Smart, one of the nine, said she planned to go on a hunger strike.

In a statement read out by supporters outside the court, the jailed protesters said they were merely demanding the government protect people and the economy.

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