The government has won an interim injunction to prevent protesters from occupying the A20 and strategic roads linked to the Port of Dover after climate protesters blocked access this week.
Kent Police arrested 39 people on Friday when activists connected to Insulate Britain – an offshoot of the climate action group Extinction Rebellion – blocked roads in and out of the cross-Channel ferry port at about 8.20am.
The demonstration created long queues of vehicles, with several drivers expressing anger with the activists.
Those who breach the injunction will be in contempt of court, putting them at risk of imprisonment and an unlimited fine, according to the government.
“We are absolutely committed to protecting the right to peaceful protest, but it is unacceptable that people cannot go about their day-to-day businesses and that businesses or critical supplies should be put on a knife’s edge because of the reckless actions of a few protesters,” transport secretary Grant Shapps said.
“I commend the work of Kent Police and the Port of Dover authorities today to quickly resolve the issue and keep our critical supplies moving, and I will do everything to prevent these sort of guerrilla tactics from putting people’s lives at risk and keeping our emergency services away from the communities that need them.”
The injunction request came after members of Insulate Britain blocked parts of the M25 five times in the past fortnight, causing disruption for motorists and passengers who were caught up in miles of traffic.
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