Insulate Britain, a movement of environmental activists, has been making headlines in Britain for blocking the streets with their protests. Despite the small number of its members, its protests have caused great damage to the smooth functioning of the country. Blocking a street, requires only a few individuals after all.
According to what these activists see, the presence of cars in the streets increases pollution rates, and therefore they choose the most crowded streets and sit in them during rush hours, closing the roads.
With 115 protesters and more than 400 arrests (Guardian figures), some of whom have been imprisoned multiple times, environmental activists are still adamant moving forward. So far, there have been about 8 Insulate Britain attempts to block major roads such as the M25 in west London.
These activities have resulted in the prosecution and imprisonment of some members of the movement. And finally, their shenanigans have led the Minister of Interior to harshen their sentences for irresponsibly obstructing the course of vehicles in the country.
Art of Protest
However, Priti Patel’s plans to restrict civil liberties highlights how imperative it is that activists keep the public on their side, says the Guardian. Implementing six-month sentences on civil matters is shocking. But the Secretary of State is not shaken by charges of authoritarianism, especially with her party backing her up.
Activists aiming to influence policy through the power of protest must always be mindful of public opinion, according to the newspaper. And reaction to the blockage of M25 and other roads should be an indication.
Protest tactics that anger large sections of the public carry political risks. And while most of the public supports policies to cut emissions, says the Guardian, many also feel strongly that they have the right to drive uninterrupted.