Protesters glue theirs hands to the road near Trafalgar Square (Picture: Getty)
Police forces have been given new powers today in a fresh crackdown on environmental activists.
The British Transport Police and the Ministry of Defence Police will now be free to move static protests, while the tactic of tunnelling was made a criminal offence.
The Home Office said the move would free up officers, as Suella Braverman hit out at ‘mayhem’ on the streets.
Ministers have sought to use enhanced public order powers to target campaigning groups such as Just Stop Oil and Extinction Rebellion.
From today, being found guilty of tunnelling could see people jailed for up to three years.
Being found guilty of taking equipment to tunnel will carry a maximum penalty of six months in prison, while anyone guilty of obstructing major transport works could face the same punishment.
The Home Office said tunnelling at HS2 construction sites was costing the taxpayer money, and obstructing the building or maintenance of future transport networks was now illegal.
Critics have argued the toughening up of laws are a threat to the right to protest.
Just Stop Oill activists in central London (Picture: PA)
‘Hard-working people want to be able to go about their daily lives without disruption from a selfish minority,’ Ms Braverman said.
‘The Public Order Act is delivering on our commitment to allow people to get on with their daily business. We will keep our roads and those hard-working people moving.
‘The public have had enough of their lives being disrupted by selfish protesters. The mayhem we’ve seen on our streets has been a scandal.
‘That is why I’ve given our police officers the powers they need to act fast and clamp down on these protesters determined to disrupt people’s lives.’
She said the changes that come into force today would also ensure ‘the protection of journalists reporting on protests so they can carry out their important role without fear of arrest’.
Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at email@example.com.
For more stories like this, check our news page.