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Police bring raised platform to Dartford Crossing in bid to remove protesters

Essex Police said that the Just Stop Oil activists will be arrested once ‘a safe conclusion is reached’.

18 October 2022

Police have brought a raised platform to the Dartford Crossing to remove the two protesters who climbed the QEII Bridge on Monday morning.

The bridge has been shut since Monday after two activists scaled it early in the morning.

Essex Police said that the Just Stop Oil activists will be arrested once “a safe conclusion is reached”.

They also said that the platform will allow specialists to work at height and continue to engage with the activists.

When the platform arrived on the bridge, one of the climbers appeared to get out of his hammock and hang from one of the suspension wires.

Chief Superintendent Simon Anslow said: “The two people who remain at height on the bridge have put themselves in danger.

“As a result, we and our emergency services face a considerable challenge.

“Our priority is to keep our county moving but we also have a duty of care to the two people, as well as those who may be involved in any resolution at height.

“I know this situation is incredibly frustrating, but we are doing everything possible to resolve this situation as quickly and as safely as possible.

“We are not in any way anti-protest. However, it is unacceptable for people to think they can put lives in danger and selfishly stop others going about their lives and the public rightly expect us to take action against anyone who believes they can do this – and we will.”

Just Stop Oil protest
Traffic stopped after two activists scaled the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge at the Dartford Crossing (Just Stop Oil)

Police also said that they are investigating a video which seemed to show fireworks let off in the direction of the protesters on the Dartford Crossing.

Debris from fireworks was found at the scene.

A spokesperson for Kent Police said: “Kent Police is aware of a video circulating online which appears to show fireworks being set off in Greenhithe near to the QEII bridge, Dartford.

“Officers are making inquiries to ascertain the circumstances surrounding the video and to identify any offences which may have been committed.”

This comes after the Government announced that new offences and stronger police powers would help tackle the “guerrilla tactics” of Just Stop Oil.

While the Prime Minister’s official spokesman would not comment on the police response to the protest, he said that the police will be given more powers to deal with demonstrators.

The spokesman said: “I wouldn’t get into comment on individual operational policing decisions.

“I think we have seen in the past, too often, these protesters able to disrupt lives, cause mass misery and stop emergency services going about their work.

“We are ensuring the police have even more powers so they can stop these sorts of guerrilla tactics.”

The A282 Dartford Crossing is the only way to cross the Thames east of London by road.

The 1.7-mile QEII Bridge southbound and two 0.8-mile tunnels northbound link Essex and Kent. The A282 also connects directly at both ends with the M25 London Orbital Motorway, one of the busiest in Europe.

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