Ministers are pressing ahead with a dual crackdown on climate protests and strike action, a controversial move that followed a day of direct action in London including clashes with the public and milk poured on the floor of Harrods.
Home secretary Suella Braverman will unveil plans on Sunday to grant police new powers to take a more “proactive” approach to counter tactics favoured by climate activists such as Just Stop Oil and Extinction Rebellion.
Confirmation also arrived that the government is pursuing legal moves to introduce minimum service levels during strikes by transport workers after months of industrial action by railway workers in disputes over pay, jobs and conditions.
Braverman has vowed to use the government’s public order bill to allow secretaries of state to apply for injunctions in the “public interest” where protests are causing or threatening “serious disruption or a serious adverse impact on public safety.”
Attempts to minimise the impact of rail strikes attracted instant criticism from unions, many believing it would be unworkable, although the government pointed out that similar legislation exists in France and Spain.
The developments came against a backdrop of protests in east London. Nearly 30 demonstrators from Just Stop Oil gathered on Shoreditch High Street shortly after noon on Saturday where they set up a road block to disrupt traffic. The group, who are calling for the government to halt all new oil and gas extraction licences, glued themselves to the tarmac, prompting angry responses from motorists.
A statement from the Metropolitan police said 26 people were arrested with officers having to “debond” those stuck to the road. Home Office figures show that over 350 Just Stop Oil protesters have been arrested in London since the start of October.
Elsewhere, Animal Rebellion protesters poured milk onto shop floors, displays and products across the country. The action was co-ordinated in stores such as Waitrose, Whole Foods and Marks & Spencer in London, Manchester, Norwich and Edinburgh on Saturday.
Footage shows several protesters pouring milk, taken from the shelves, onto display cabinets in the food hall at Harrods in Knightsbridge.
Another group was filmed emptying milk bottles on to the floor and across a cheese-laden table in Fortnum & Mason in Piccadilly, central London.
Animal Rebellion is calling for a “plant-based future” and aims to highlight the need to support farmers who are transitioning to a sustainable food system.
Government to unveil crackdown on climate activism and strike action