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Braverman Says ‘Fire Truck Blocked’ Just Stop Oil Demo ‘Unsustainable’

Home Secretary Suella Braverman has said she expects police to use the “full powers” they were given by the government after fossil fuel protesters reportedly obstructed a fire truck and an ambulance.

Ms Braverman branded the actions of Just Stop Oil protesters in west London as “self-destructive” and “utterly untenable”.

Videos shared online on Tuesday show a fire engine and ambulance with lights flashing, unable to get through traffic after 32 protesters – some glued themselves to the road – blocked three routes in Knightsbridge and Brompton Road in London.

The home secretary said police have now made more than 300 arrests over 11 straight days of protests in the capital by the group, which is calling on the government to halt all new oil and gas licenses and permits.

“Blocking ambulances and fire engines and putting lives at risk is totally untenable,” Ms. Braverman tweeted.

“I expect the police to use all the powers we have given them to stop those who are out to disrupt everyone’s life.

“Our public order bill will further strengthen those powers and increase penalties for guerrilla tactics.”

One video showed a stationary fire engine in the middle of a junction near Knightsbridge tube station, with protesters blocking the road both behind and in front of the vehicle.

Just Stop Oil later tweeted a video showing protesters avoiding the fire truck with the caption: “Just Stop Oil supporters hold roadblock to let fire truck through.”

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “These types of protests, which can disrupt people’s daily lives or actually prevent our emergency services from potentially saving lives, are unacceptable.”

Asked whether members of the public should intervene to remove protesters, the spokesman said while the government understands the public’s “frustration, it is up to the police to respond to these types of protests in the first place”.

A spokesman for the protest group said: “Just Stop Oil’s policy is and always has been to let emergency services through.

“This morning it was reported that emergency services in Knightsbridge were blocked. In reality, one of our supporters directed an ambulance away from the roadblock and our supporters left the road to let the fire engine pass.

“The public is rightly upset, frustrated, irritated and angry – their lives have been disrupted. The Government can stop this today by making a meaningful statement to end new oil and gas in the UK,” the group added.

A London Fire Brigade spokesman said: “Crews were on their way to an automatic fire alarm which was sounding on Foley Street in Fitzrovia.

“Five fire engines were dispatched to the scene, with a unit from the Soho Fire Station arriving first. Firefighters investigated and found no fire.

“A device from the Kensington Fire Station was temporarily halted by a roadblock and arrived within 14 minutes of the call.

“We are working closely with our local authorities and emergency service partners when there are road closure proposals to minimize the impact on our service. However, given the nature of the event, crews had no prior warning of the roadblock.”

The Metropolitan Police confirmed on Tuesday afternoon that 28 protesters have been arrested over the Knightsbridge incident at Scotch Corner at Knightsbridge Tube station.

They were all arrested for allegedly willfully obstructing the motorway and taken to several detention centers in central London, where they remain, the force said.

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