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A ‘John Lennon lookalike’ and RE student asked for water as they were chained to oil terminal pipes for more than 38 hours – as Priti Patel was urged to crack down on hipster eco-activists and their ‘guerrilla tactics’.
Pictured: Louis McKechnie in a video saying the men were to be cut down
Louis McKechnie, 21, said in a video that the men were being cut down at the Grays oil depot in Essex and were the ‘last standing’.
In a previous video, McKechnie and Nathan McGovern, 22, said that they had chained themselves to pipes high up at the site on Sunday afternoon.
McGovern, who studies religion, has previously attempted to tie himself to a goalpost during a match between West Ham and Tottenham and also glued his hand to a microphone during a heated exchange on LBC last weekend.
Engineering student McKechnie has also disrupted a football game – between Everton and Newcastle last month.
McKechnie was one of the ‘Highway Nine’ Insulate Britain protesters jailed for blocking the M25 last year and served a three month prison sentence.
Also among their group are Cressida Gethin, the privately-educated daughter of an orchestral agent and a former cellist for the London Symphony Orchestra. The 20-year-old chorister is studying music at Cambridge University.
Other members include Miranda Whelehan, 21, a pharmaceuticals expert’s daughter who grew up in a £1million, five-bedroom house in Weybridge, Surrey. Figures compiled by the Business Department show that average fuel stock levels at forecourts in England dropped by 5.4 per cent to 36 per cent in the week the Just Stop Oil protests began on March 28.
Labour had called on the Home Secretary to seek nationwide injunctions to stop ‘guerrilla tactics’ being used to shut down oil terminals. Pictured: Two of the protesters
Priti Patel was under mounting pressure last night to take action against eco-activists disrupting fuel supplies.
Labour had called on the Home Secretary to seek nationwide injunctions to stop ‘guerrilla tactics’ being used to shut down oil terminals.
The measures would mirror those used last year to ban Insulate Britain fanatics from blocking roads, allowing police to make arrests more easily.
Just Stop Oil and Extinction Rebellion activists – many of them young, middle-class students – have targeted 11 fuel depots in as many days, blocking trucks from making petrol and diesel deliveries to forecourts.
Just Stop Oil and Extinction Rebellion activists – many of them young, middle-class students – have targeted 11 fuel depots in as many days, blocking trucks from making petrol and diesel deliveries to forecourts. Pictured: McKechnie
Activists from the Just Stop Oil group, (left to right) Louis McKechnie, Miranda Whelehan, Nathan McGovern, Claudia Penna Rojas and Cressida Gethin, during their press conference in central London yesterday
Pictured: Louis McKechnie and Nathan McGovern at Grays oil depot. They said in a video that they had been disrupting operations at Grays oil depot in Essex after chaining themselves to pipes high up at the site on Sunday afternoon
Three terminals were targeted over the weekend and trucks had been unable to access the Exolum storage facility in Grays, Essex, after protesters glued themselves to pipes above loading bays.
It came after Downing Street accused the eco-activists of using ‘guerilla tactics that obstruct people going about their day-to-day business’ and promised a crackdown.
In the strongest statement yet on the eco-mob ‘Just Stop Oil’, Number 10 yesterday pledged that it would ‘not tolerate’ those obstructing people ‘going about their day-to-day business’.
Responding to Just Stop Oil’s tactics, a No 10 spokeswoman said: ‘We recognise the strength of feeling and the right to protest is a cornerstone of our democracy, but we won’t tolerate guerrilla tactics that obstruct people going about their day-to-day business.’
The spokeswoman added: ‘We fully support the police who are putting significant resource into their response to the demonstrations.’
Three terminals were targeted over the weekend and trucks had been unable to access the Exolum storage facility in Grays, Essex, after protesters glued themselves to pipes above loading bays. Pictured: Protesters march from Hyde Park to the Science Museum on April 11
Pictured: Just Stop Oil activists during one of their blockades at Kingsbury early on Friday April 1
It came as a furious motorist yesterday revealed how they had to drive 46 miles to fill up because of the disruption to the UK’s petrol supplies, while others said they did not have enough fuel to go to work.
One driver, recounting their nightmare journey, told MailOnline: ‘Every petrol station we tried was shut – we drove 11 miles to Aylesbury first and then 17 miles to Bicester before giving up and driving the ten miles back home.
‘The next day we drove to Winslow which is another eight miles away before finding fuel there. It is total pot luck’.
Britain was left in the grips of another fuel crisis, with petrol stations forced to close due to the disruption caused at oil terminals.
Around 1,200 pumps south of the midlands were forced to turn away motorists, the Campaign for Fair Fuel claimed on Sunday, in the wake of the action by Just Stop Oil.
Activists from Extinction Rebellion demonstrate in central London on April 11 (pictured)
The eco protestors have been targeting oil terminals across the south of the country, including in Hertfordshire, Essex and Warwickshire by locking themselves to pipes.
The action has been blamed for shortages of both petrol and diesel at stations compounding misery for drivers already facing record prices at the pump, reported at over £2 a litre in some areas.
Priti Patel has called the protesters ‘selfish, fanatical and frankly dangerous’ while George Eustice, the Environment Secretary, criticised their ‘extreme’ tactics.
Campaign group Fair Fuel said up to a third of petrol stations were closed, while pictures showed some remained shut yesterday. Climate activists from the Extinction Rebellion (XR) group, dressed-up as rats demonstrate in front of the science museum in London yesterday (pictured)
Campaign group Fair Fuel said up to a third of petrol stations were closed, while pictures showed some remained shut yesterday.
Fair Fuel founder Howard Cox told MailOnline supplies remained ‘patchy’ – with diesel particularly affected – but overall the situation was better than on the weekend.
The AA said that shortages had been ‘isolated’ and none of its 2,700 patrols had experienced difficulties getting fuel.
Meanwhile, the Petrol Retailers Association, which represents around 65% of independently owned forecourts, said: ‘We are aware of protests at several fuel supply sites; however, the majority are unaffected.’
Supply issues tend to hit motorists in London and the South East worse than elsewhere.
The mayhem comes ahead of a record 21.5million motorists preparing to take to the roads this coming Easter weekend. Pictured: Activists from Extinction Rebellion demonstrate in central London on April 11
This is most likely due to the regions’ higher population densities, Gordon Balmer, executive director of the Petrol Retailers Association, has previously said.
Campaign group Just Stop Oil was on its eleventh day of disruptive protests.
A video posted at 3.30am yesterday morning showed one activist at Grays oil depot filming a selfie video from inside a pipe.
‘We’re still in the pipes, still stopping oil, still stopping whatever we non-violently can to resist the collapse of our liveable future,’ he said.
‘We really hope to make it to 24 hours and beyond because that’s the only way this government will listen.
Campaign group Just Stop Oil was on its eleventh day of disruptive protests. Pictured: Activists from Just Stop Oil take part in a blockade at the Kingsbury Oil Terminal, Warwickshire on Sunday April 3
‘This corrupt government that is pushing us towards not just a climate catastrophe but a social crisis.
‘We’re in the depths of a cost of living emergency… we’re in the depths of a legitimacy crisis and unless Boris Johnson gets on with the job and stops oil and legitimacy crisis will extend to the entire global system’.
Yesterday, Environment Secretary George Eustice said: ‘A right to protest is important but not if it’s causing havoc with other people’s lives. That’s wrong and not acceptable.
‘We all recognise that we need to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels… this is a mainstream agenda, people really don’t need to do these extreme protests to get their point heard.’
Essex Police made nine more arrests yesterday, following 26 on Sunday. Assistant Chief Constable Rachel Nolan blasted the ‘totally unacceptable’ activists who have trespassed into areas holding flammable chemicals. Pictured: Activists from Extinction Rebellion demonstrate at The Albert memorial in Kensington Gardens, central London on April 11
Mass protests have resulted in more than 800 arrests across the country and have put a ‘real strain’ on local police services.
The protests are exacerbating existing supply issues due to increased demand after Covid lockdowns and Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
The Insulate Britain injunctions, applied for at the High Court by roads agency National Highways, effectively banned protests on major roads.
Extinction Rebellion at the Esso West oil facility near Heathrow Airport in London (pictured)
It meant activists could be arrested for contempt of court for breaking the injunctions.
Labour said ministers should work with local authorities covering the country’s 60-odd oil terminals to bring in similar measures. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s official spokesman yesterday insisted the Government will not tolerate continued disruption.
The mayhem comes ahead of a record 21.5million motorists preparing to take to the roads this coming Easter weekend. Steve Reed, Labour’s justice spokesman, said: ‘The Conservatives need to stop standing idly by and put an end to this disruption that is causing misery for motorists.’
Pictured: A closed petrol station in Kent on April 11. Many petrol stations are facing some fuel shortages caused by climate protesters blocking the major fuel depots
He said: ‘We recognise the strength of feeling and that the right to protest is a cornerstone of our democracy, but we won’t tolerate guerrilla tactics that obstruct people going about their day-to-day business.’
Essex Police made nine more arrests yesterday, following 26 on Sunday.
Assistant Chief Constable Rachel Nolan blasted the ‘totally unacceptable’ activists who have trespassed into areas holding flammable chemicals.
She said: ‘Their risky behaviour cannot be allowed to take place in such critical locations which could be catastrophic if there were accidental or deliberate actions causing leakage or fire.’ Just Stop Oil is an off-shoot of Insulate Britain and Extinction Rebellion and contains many of the same members.
Ministers had planned to introduce new powers to help police tackle eco-protesters but the measures were blocked in the House of Lords in January.
At the time, Miss Patel accused Labour of siding with ‘vandals and thugs’.
Proposed measures had included an offence of ‘locking on’ in a bid to stop protesters resorting to the common tactic of chaining themselves to buildings and vehicles.
New stop and search powers were also proposed to allow police to detain protesters arriving carrying bike locks and other equipment designed to make themselves difficult to remove.
Ministers are expected to try to revive the measures in the next Queen’s Speech.
Police on the scene as Just Stop Oil protesters block a road leading to the Kingsbury oil terminal in Warwickshire (pictured)
Just Stop Oil and Extinction Rebellion fanatics claimed to have dug a tunnel under a tankerroute in a bid to block deliveries to forecourts.
The West Midlands and East of England were the worst affected regions, with average stocks finishing the week ending April 3 on 25 per cent.
A spokesman for the UK Petroleum Industry Association, whose members include Shell, BP and ExxonMobil, said disruptions are ‘localised and short-term only’.
A government spokesman said: ‘We are working closely with industry to ensure that supplies are maintained.’
A spokesman for the UK Petroleum Industry Association, whose members include Shell, BP and ExxonMobil, said disruptions are ‘localised and short-term only’. Pictured: A police officer talks to Just Stop Oil activists taking part in a protest outside the Esso Birmingham fuel terminal, in Birmingham on April 1