Climate protesters glue themselves to dual carriageway near Dover

By Michael Drummond, PA South East Correspondent

Holidaymakers were caught in huge tailbacks at the Port of Dover on Saturday after Extinction Rebellion protesters imposed a “blockade” amid a heavy police presence.

Activists occupied one side of a dual carriageway and made attempts to block the other side, with lines of HGV lorries at a standstill for about 30 minutes earlier.

Outside of the town protesters are reported to have “superglued” themselves to another section of the A20 and held up cars there.

Traffic slows on as it nears the port (Michael Drummond/PA)

Protesters also hung giant banners showing the Extinction Rebellion “XR” emblem from Dover Castle and the iconic white cliffs.

Dozens of police officers were drafted in for the event, arresting 10 people.

At the Port of Dover, protesters were told they could demonstrate in the area cordoned off for their use, but some have reportedly breached the other lanes eastbound, where they risk arrest.

One activist on a megaphone announced that a protester in a “mobility scooter” had already been arrested.

Extinction Rebellion protesters occupy one side of a dual carriageway at the Port of Dover (Michael Drummond/PA)

Jade Evans, posting on Twitter, said: “Carnage in Dover!

“(They) have superglued themselves to the A20. The amount of police cars they have here to remove them is causing more pollution than you know #ExtinctionRebellion.

“(They) think they can stop pollution at Dover Ferry port. They’ve glued their hands and feet to the A20.”

Activists also hung giant banners from Dover’s 11th century castle as they protested against what they say is inaction on climate change.

A banner also briefly appeared at the top of the cliffs overlooking the port, but was taken down.

Event organiser Kay Marsh hailed the “symbolic” blockade of the A20 and said she was thrilled that so many people – she estimated a few hundred – attended.

“We could always cause more disruption.

“I’m happy with it, it was a symbolic block. We did manage to shut down the dual carriageway.”

Police confirmed that a “brief closure” was enforced on the A2 Jubilee Way shortly after 11am due to a “small group of people obstructing the carriageway” who were safely removed within around 15 minutes.

Ten people have been arrested on suspicion of public order offences and they remain in custody as inquiries continue.

Chief Superintendent Andy Pritchard, from Kent Police, said: “Disruption from the protest has been kept to a minimum due to the work of our officers and partners.

“The force is grateful to everyone who co-operated with efforts to ensure the rights of the protesters, and the wider public, were respected, and it is pleasing we haven’t seen levels of disruption greater than what could be reasonably expected.”

Activists began assembling near the ferry port on Saturday morning, ahead of the planned “blockade” at 11am.

Songs like The Clash’s I Fought The Law could be heard blaring out of a speaker set, with live music expected later as part of the demonstration.

Flags and signs adorn the seafront railings, with slogans like “Rebel for life” and “Climate breakdown kills”.

Chris Atkins from Extinction Rebellion Dover said: “As climate change develops, millions of ordinary Britons will face the real and growing threat of food shortages, hunger and starvation.

“Extreme storms and floods are already causing major crop failures across the world, with high temperatures also hitting livestock agriculture.

“This crisis may seem far away now but given the dependency of the UK on food imports we are extremely vulnerable.

“The Government must tell the truth and act now.”

Protesters dressed in red dance along the carriageway (Michael Drummond/PA)

An Extinction Rebellion spokesman said the group has assessed that the four-hour blockade between 11am and 3pm “will not cause any disruption to vital supplies” such as medicine.

He added: “Extinction Rebellion appreciates the blockade will directly affect ordinary people and businesses, but we feel the action is necessary in order to call the Government to action.”

A spokesman for the Port of Dover said: “We are aware of the protest plans and as a result, Port of Dover Police are working closely with Kent Police to ensure as minimal disruption as possible.