Watch: Protesters block M25 for third time this week
Climate change protesters disrupting the M25 for the third time in a week claim many of their demonstrators had just been released by police.
Insulate Britain brought more traffic chaos to the motorway on Friday, the third time this week its protesters have left motorists in long queues.
The group, which is demanding government action on home insulation, said on Friday that 79 of its activists had tried to block the London orbital road.
Read more: Who are Insulate Britain and why are they causing M25 chaos?
In a statement, it said: “Early this morning, 79 people from Insulate Britain attempted to block the M25 for a third time in a week, hours after being released by police.
“They are demanding that Boris [Johnson] gets on with the job of insulating Britain’s homes, starting with the homes of the poorest people in the country.”
Protesters ran across busy stretches of the motorway, while blue paint was poured on to the road.
The group added that “89 people were released from several different custody centres across south-east England on Thursday morning and they have returned to the M25 today”.
Junction 3, at Swanley in Kent, junction 9, at Leatherhead in Surrey, and junction 28, near Brentwood in Essex, were targeted. Surrey Police said officers had arrested 14 people at junction nine.
The force said: “We were made aware of protesters at junction 9 of the M25 earlier this morning. Fourteen people have been arrested.
“We were also made aware shortly after 9am of protesters at junction 1 of the M3. We are on the scene and arrests are being made.”
Surrey Police said later than 10 people had been arrested at junction 1 of the M3.
Transport secretary demanded “swift action” by police to clear the road.
He said: “This is dangerous and counterproductive. We all agree that climate change must be tackled, but this sort of behaviour achieves nothing, puts drivers at risk and increases pollution. I expect the police to take swift action to clear the roads.”
Traffic on the M25 was halted on Monday and Wednesday following previous protests. Four police forces have been involved in the operation and more than 70 protesters have been arrested each day.
Home secretary Priti Patel is said to have called on police to crack down on the protests.
On Thursday, she called the climate change protesters “selfish”.
She said: “Peaceful protest is a cornerstone of our democracy and there will always be space for legitimate groups to make their voices heard.
Read more: Cars collide as Insulate Britain block part of motorway again
“But this government will not stand by and allow a small minority of selfish protesters to cause significant disruption to the lives and livelihoods of the hard-working majority.
“The guerrilla tactics used by Insulate Britain detract from their cause and I know the public will agree that the scenes on the M25 this week were completely unacceptable.”
Insulate Britain said on Friday: “The campaigners aimed to block a number of roundabouts and junctions on the M25 network.
“At Junction 28 in Essex, the police were ready and waiting for the campaigners. They managed to prevent 12 out of 20 from making it onto the carriageway, leading them off in handcuffs.
“The remainder managed to get onto the road and partially blocked the carriageway.”
The group vowed to continue its action “until the government makes a meaningful commitment to insulate all of Britain’s 29 million leaky homes by 2030”.
Watch: Climate protesters cause mass delays on motorwayInternet Explorer Channel Network