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Just Stop Oil interrupt police giving evidence on protests to MPs

Just Stop Oil activists interrupted senior officers as they were giving evidence in Parliament on policing protests.

The Home Affairs Committee had to be paused on Wednesday as the eco-campaigners were removed.

The protesters, wearing t-shirts emblazoned with the Just Stop Oil slogan, were sat directly behind the Met's Specialist Operations Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist and Chief Constable Chris Noble, the National Police Chiefs' Council lead for protests.

Officers were being grilled by MPs about the policing of the King's Coronation, where 64 people were arrested including 52 based on concerns they could cause disruption to the event.

Mr Twist was being questioned about suspected protesters being taken into custody for carrying “lock-on devices” when one activist stood up behind him.

 (ParliamentTV)
(ParliamentTV)

He said “we are here today” before being drowned out by MPs.

Rolling his eye, MP Tim Loughton said “Oh dear”.

“We're not having this,” he added as the activists were dragged out of the room.

“To be clear, they were Just Stop Oil protesters who tried to undermine the activities of this committee with our witnesses today.”

The Committee was examining the current policing approach for public protests after new powers were handed to police in the Government's Public Order Bill.

A Just Stop Oil spokesman said: “This is a continuation of the silencing of legitimate dissent we saw at the coronation.

“The Metropolitan Police baselessly arrested doctors, lecturers, students and electricians simply for possessing flags and T-shirts.

“This is clearly politically motivated and represents a massive overreach by the police.

“No evidence has been provided and now those wrongfully arrested are being prevented from giving evidence to the very committee that has been organised to assess the policing during the coronation.”

The protest group has been staging a series of demonstrations by walking slowly in the middle of roads in central London.

The Met Police said eight Just Stop Oil protesters were arrested in Parliament Square on Wednesday morning because they did not comply with conditions to move.

A spokesman for the protesters added that said 28 people had been marching to Parliament “demanding this Government stop licensing new oil and gas projects, which they know will contribute to the deaths of millions”.