Police 'may as well have made the protesters a cup of tea'
Police ‘may as well have made the protesters a cup of tea’: Scaffolder held for shoving Just Stop Oil activists out the way in London slams police for their inaction over road-block tactics
- Louis Grieves, 21, was made late for work by the slow-walking eco-protesters
- Read more: Just Stop Oil throw powder over award-winning sustainable garden
A scaffolder who was tackled in the street by police after he attempted to clear eco-protesters out of the road has said officers might as well have been making demonstrators ‘a cup of tea’.
Louis Grieves, 21, was already an hour late for work when he came across the protesters on Blackfriars Bridge in London on Tuesday.
Frustrated that they were holding up his van, the self-employed construction worker jumped out of his vehicle to intervene.
Video shows him ripping banners from the hands of Just Stop Oil supporters and pulling protesters out of the road before he is aggressively tackled by police officers.
Mr Grieves, from Bromley, said the officers had not apologised to him for the ‘heavy-handed’ treatment. He was held on suspicion of breach of the peace but was later told that he faced no further action.
Louis Grieves, 21, was already an hour late for work when he came across the protesters on Blackfriars Bridge in London on Tuesday
Louis Grieves, 21, was seen ripping banners from the hands of Just Stop Oil protesters on Blackfriars Bridge on Tuesday morning
Just Stop Oil said ‘tensions have been high’ as Louis Grieves, 21, tried to throw a supporter on to the ground and was later handcuffed
He told The Sun that the police officers might as well have been making the protesters a cup of tea.
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‘I was trying to bring peace, if anything, by getting them out of the way. People were at the end of their tether and I had to step in.
‘They didn’t even say sorry. I think they should apologise to the whole of London for not doing their jobs.
‘I don’t see how we can trust the police to protect us when they can’t stop 20 angry sign-holding vegans from stopping traffic.’
Footage of the protest shows workers from a waste management firm blowing their van’s horn in frustration with the 45 protesters, who are walking very slowly across the bridge.
Mr Grieves can then be seen clambering out of his van to confront the demonstrators.
He hauls one out of the road onto the pavement, where the protester falls to the floor, before he tackles another taller man.
But before he can push the second demonstrator out of the street, two police officers swoop in and grapple him into traffic on the other side of the road.
During the struggle, the officer says: ‘You are f*****g assaulting people’.
He is then handcuffed as workers in the waste management van shout at police to, ‘Get off my van!’
A taxi driver across the road says it’s ‘absolutely disgusting’.
The refuse truck then continues to inch closer and closer to the demonstrators as the workers try to get to work.
The police have urged people not to get involved in the demonstrations and to wait for officers to act.
Met Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist said: ‘We absolutely understand why those who are caught up in traffic delays will be frustrated.
Police grapple with the commuter who was seen trying to remove Just Stop Oil activists from the road
The man was then handcuffed by police with the Met saying this was done to stop ‘further Breach of the Peace’
The protest descended into chaos when angry commuter Mr Grieves took matters into his own hands – and police swooped in and detained him
‘I would urge the public not to intervene or take matters into their own hands but to call the police, let us know where the incident is and we will get there quickly.’
The Met previously insisted that the reaction of their officers at the scene was proportionate.
In a statement released on May 23, a senior officer from the Met defended the actions of the cops involved.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor said: ‘I completely understand the frustration and anger of London’s communities when protesters walk slowly in the roads and must wonder why we do not just arrest them.
‘Police have legal obligations connected with our response to protest and we must police peaceful protest in a proportionate manner. Any interventions must be necessary and in discharge of a policing power and balance the rights of the protesters against the rights of the wider public.
‘We have the power to impose conditions to prevent serious disruption to the public, which we have done on several occasions. Where conditions are not complied with we will move to arrest within a legal framework. In most cases the conditions have been complied with but where they haven’t we have made over 30 arrests.
‘Therefore, I urge people not to intervene and to let police deal with the situation.
‘The incident on Blackfriars Bridge, in which a member of the public assaulted two protesters, was unacceptable and we will deal with anyone who behaves in this way.
‘Officers on scene responded proportionately. They detained the man in handcuffs to prevent further Breach of the Peace. They took his details, will review evidence and interview the male – who was not arrested – with a view to further police action as necessary.’
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