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Seven arrested for defiant Tower Bridge sit-down 'traffic gridlock' protest

PUBLISHED: 16:47 30 October 2017 | UPDATED: 17:38 30 October 2017

Demonstrators cause gridlock at both ends of Tower Bridge in protest at air pollution, with City Hall close by. Picture: Stop Killing Londoners

Demonstrators cause gridlock at both ends of Tower Bridge in protest at air pollution, with City Hall close by. Picture: Stop Killing Londoners

Stop Killing Londoners

The seven protesters who brought traffic chaos when they blocked the iconic Tower Bridge today have all been arrested.

The sit-down demo by seven campaigners on the iconic Tower Bridge later arrested. Picture: Stop Killing LondonersThe sit-down demo by seven campaigners on the iconic Tower Bridge later arrested. Picture: Stop Killing Londoners

Police waited an hour before making arrests, then cleared the carriageway to allow traffic to resume.

The seven were still in custody this-evening, City of London police have confirmed.

But members of the ‘Stop Killing Londoners’ protest group vowed tonight to return again tomorrow and to escalate their disruption through the week—even facing prison.

“We had no choice but to escalate our action today,” protester Stu Basden said. “We haven’t had an appropriate response for action on air pollution after eight consecutive roadblocks, while children are suffering from stunted lungs and people face early deaths from asthma, bronchitis, emphysema and cancer.”

Their protest caused gridlock at the Tower Hill one-way system affecting traffic as far as Aldgate, Whitechapel and Wapping on the north side of the river as well as Bermondsey on the south side.

They insist the Mayor of London’s proposed expansion of an ‘Ultra Low Emissions’ zone out to the North Circular and South Circular major roads “doesn’t go far enough” to tackle London’s air pollution. They want all heavy goods lorries and diesel vehicles banned altogether from London.

The seven arrested were understood to be charged with causing obstruction to the highway.

Another defiant protester arrested at Tower Bridge, Ian Bray, who is a Quaker, said: “History shows that change won’t happen unless people take peaceful, disruptive action.”

The civil disobedience protest was to highlight toxic NOx emissions the campaigners say causes around 9,500 deaths in London a year. The most polluted roads in London have had protests since July, with the first demonstrator arrested last Wednesday at Marble Arch, and now another seven today at Tower Bridge.

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