At least seven climate activists who glued themselves to the road outside the Natural History Museum in south-west London have been convicted of obstructing a highway.
According to reports, Ambulances, buses, delivery vans and a vehicle carrying a 90-year-old in need of medical assistance were caught up in the traffic in Cromwell Road, South Kensington, on 19 October last year.
Stephen Jarvis, 67, Lora Johnson, 38, Benjamin Larsen, 25, Rachel Payne, 71, Anna Retallack, 58, Benedict Sansam, 38, and Shelia Shatford, 67, were part of a group of 17 people who glued themselves to the road. The Just Stop Oil activists denied the charge but were convicted after a two-day trial at Westminster magistrates court.
Delivering his judgement on Wednesday, the district judge John Law said: “The truth is there was no prior investigation by the protesters into what the overall reaction would be. It is accepted the protest did not achieve its primary aim … and there was no change in government policy. Although [this protest] intended disruption, this was clearly a peaceful protest that involved nothing other than wilful obstruction.
Speaking further, he said “and it is not in dispute they did it in their honestly held beliefs … In this case I find the interference caused by each defendant to be proportionate and I therefore find each guilty of the charge.”
Earlier, PC Daniel Woodley told the court “I attended the scene after receiving reports of people sitting in the road,”.
“There was a lot of grievance from drivers, words to the effect of, ‘Can you just run them over?’ and ‘They had done this yesterday.’ “One vehicle with a 90-year-old in need of medical care was held up in traffic.”
Some drivers described the protesters as “numpties”, and two people asked why the protesters could not be run over, to which the officer, in an attempt to defuse the tension, joked: “I would rather you didn’t.”
Story was adapted from the Guardian.