Fuel price protesters block motorways in parts of England and South Wales | UK cost of living crisis

Slow convoys of protesters campaigning against high fuel prices have forced highways and major roads to a standstill, with protesters pledging to continue direct action until the government tackles the crisis .

Hundreds of lorries, vans, cars and tractors across England, Wales and Scotland set up rolling roadblocks on Monday, causing delays for thousands of road users.

Twelve people suspected of public order offenses have been arrested after a protest closed the Prince of Wales Bridge, which carries the M4 over the River Severn. A kick took place on an empty M4 roadway.

A man was also arrested in Devon. In other places, police also said they would take action against protesters who had put other road users at risk or committed other offenses such as using mobile phones while driving.

Area motorways in Bristol, Devon, Cornwall, South Wales, Essex, Yorkshire and Lincolnshire were among those affected. Two tractors caused long traffic jams in Aberdeen as they drove slowly side by side along the A92 northbound.

West Yorkshire Police used a ‘stinger’ spiked mat at Ferrybridge Services on the M62 to stop drivers joining the protest and police were also called to demonstrate at a petrol station in Shepton Mallet, Somerset .

Protesters speak to police as the force blocks the exit from the Ferrybridge petrol station with a ‘stinger’. Photography: Cameron Smith/Getty Images

Protester Marcin Gonera, 42, a lorry driver and business owner from Bristol, said the plan was to keep protesting until change happened. “We are protesting because it concerns everyone. When fuel prices go up, the price of everything goes up.

Vicky Stamper, 41, from Cwmbran, South Wales, said she and her partner, Darren, were forced out of their jobs in Bristol because they couldn’t afford the commute.

She said: “It was costing us £380 a week just to get to and from work. I then lost my job two weeks ago because the company couldn’t afford to put fuel in so many trucks, so last in, first out.

Speaking about the disruption the protest would cause to drivers, Stamper added, “We are doing this for us and for them. When asked what she would ask Boris Johnson to do, she replied: “Resign. »

Sharon Downs, 46, a saddle fitter from Pontypridd, South Wales, said: ‘We need more protests and we need more people to join us so our voices are heard. heard, and the government knows that we will no longer tolerate it. »

The protest was organized via social media under the Fuel Price Stand Against Tax banner.

Police in Gwent, South Wales, had issued a legal notice under Section 12 of the Public Order Act 1986 prohibiting the blocking of the Prince of Wales Bridge and protesters driving unless of 30 mph. When this allegedly happened, they intervened and made 12 arrests.

Some protesters said they would consider other targets in future protests, such as blocking roads to London.

Mobile welder Richard Dite, 44, from Maesteg, South Wales, said: ‘It’s costing me £300 a week before I even get to work and earn anything. My only option soon will be to put the welding equipment in the shed and call it a day, maybe go out of work. Admit it, at this rate, I’ll be more this way.

A UK government spokesperson said: “While we respect the right to protest, people’s daily lives should not be disrupted, particularly on busy motorways where lives are at risk and traffic delays resulting will only add to fuel consumption. »

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