Just Stop Oil launch slow march across London Bridge after spraying paint over Canary Wharf office
Dozens of activists have launched a slow march across Bridge after 27 eco-zealots from the group were arrested this morning for throwing paint over an office building in Canary Wharf. Just Stop Oil said 34 of its members unfurled banners and joined the action, which is the latest in weeks of disruption the group have caused across central London. In video footage posted on social media, police officers immediately entered the road and began warning protesters to leave the area, warning their action could be in breach of a section 12 regulation which bans seriously disruptive protest. A total of 27 eco-protesters were earlier detained after staging a sit-in at the headquarters of Total Energies and using repurposed fire extinguishers to spray-paint its exterior fluorescent orange. Footage shared by the group also showed them entering the reception area and blasting the floor with black paint just as employees were arriving. Police were called to the march at London Bridge at 11.15pm, a spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police said. A section 12 order was issued at just before 11.30am. The force said the road was then 'cleared immediately.' Workers took to Twitter to brand them 'morons' as they shared photos of the activists holding up signs reading 'Stop EACOP [East African Crude Oil Pipeline], stop genocide'. Just Stop Oil have vowed to continue its slow marches in the face of increasingly restrictive protest rules in a bid to force the UK government to put an end to new fossil fuels licences amid the climate crisis. Among the arrested this morning was repeat-activist Phoebe Plummer and Edred Whittingham, 25, who after leaping on a table and throwing orange powder all over it. The Metropolitan Police said: 'Following this morning's incident, 27 people were arrested for a combination of suspicion of criminal damage and aggravated trespass. 'They have been taken to a police station.' Tuesday's action was the latest in a series of protests that have cost the British taxpayer 5.5million in policing costs alone, according to figures released this week. Thousands of police officer shifts have been dedicated to monitoring their disruptive demonstrations over the past year. In 2022, there were 750 arrests made and at least 116 have been cuffed for taking part in slow-walks on busy roads in recent months. The Metropolitan Police's Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist told LBC yesterday that a staggering 16,500 officer shifts had been used to tackle the protesters. He said: 'If you want to put a monetary value on it, it's about 5.5million - that's about 150 officers a day. 'What I could do with 150 officers preventing robberies or investigating crime or supporting victims, is really significant.' The Metropolitan Police said officers were called to Canary Wharf just before 8am today and that they remain at the scene. The force said: 'Police were called just before 08:00hrs to reports of Just Stop Oil protesters in Upper Bank Street, Canary Wharf...Officers were on scene by 08:03hrs. 'Four people have been arrested on suspicion of criminal damage after a building was spray painted. 'There are no reports of any road obstructions at this time, traffic is flowing. Officers remain on scene.' Just Stop Oil said its action today was 'in solidarity with @StopEACOPug, a group of Ugandan student climate activists fighting to stop this devastating project.' The group branded the East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline a 'carbon bomb' and claimed there had been 'continued human rights violations' in its construction. It wrote on Twitter that it targeted Total Energies because it is the majority shareholder in the project. A spokesman for Students Against EACOP, said: 'Total Energies are involved in grave human rights violations. Thousands of people have lost their property and many have been evicted from their land with little or zero compensation. 'Those who have raised their voices to speak-out against the dangers of EACOP have been silenced. Journalists have been arrested, there have been incidents of forced disappearances and kidnappings. 'This pipeline is destroying national parks, lakes and rivers, causing massive ecological damage and displacing wildlife. We are calling on everyone in the UK to come out and resist Total Energies for its direct participation in these criminal acts. 'Many financial institutions have refused to underwrite this project and if Total Energies backs off, the government of Uganda would have a hard time funding this project, so we can win.' Ringleader Phoebe Plummer was once again front and centre for Tuesday morning's action. The protester hit headlines around the world when she threw Heinz tomato soup at Van Gogh's Sunflowers painting in the National Gallery last October. Police said the 76million piece of art was 'unharmed' but some minor damage was caused to the frame during the climate demonstration, which also saw the pair gluing themselves to a wall inside the Gallery. Plummer was later arrested on June 5 this year for taking part in a slow-march in London before being cuffed two days later for breaking her bail conditions to join another one. Footage of her arrest in an upmarket cafe in Islington, London, was widely shared on social media as Met Police officers politely told the University of Manchester graduate she would have to leave her coffee and could not wait for her hash browns. Edred Whittingham, 25, who forced a World Championship snooker match to be cancelled in April after leaping on a table and throwing orange powder all over it, was also present for Tuesday's demonstration. The student was jailed last year, glued himself to a Turner painting and has bragged about his multiple arrests to raise money from supporters, MailOnline previously revealed. One of those taking action at Canary Wharf this morning, Solveig, 27, a Doctor of Philosophy student at the University of Oxford, said: 'I believe that it is my duty to support the brave protesters of Students against EACOP, who are standing up to Total Energies as it destroys the lives of people for profit. 'The extractive colonialism executed by Total is not only making 100,000 people homeless, but it will exacerbate climate breakdown globally. I wish we could stop these atrocities through peaceful and quiet protest, but we can't. This is why I have to stand up to Total and push for the de-funding of EACOP.' A spokesman for Total Energies told MailOnline today: 'TotalEnergies fully respects the right to demonstrate and freedom of expression, but deplores all forms of violence, whether verbal, physical or material. 'TotalEnergies promotes transparent and constructive dialogue with all its stakeholders.' It comes after Just Stop Oil yesterday began its tenth week of slow-marches and proudly announced that it had caused blockages on key roads across north, south and west London during the rush hour. However, in what is becoming an increasingly common occurrence, there were ugly interactions between the group and fed-up commuters. In Camberwell shortly after 8am on Monday, a motorcyclist refused to be held up by the rush-hour slow march, ploughing through their banner and tossing it on the ground as he rode away. And Just Stop Oil were slammed as 'performative' by one of their original funders. American entrepreneur Trevor Neilson co-founded the Climate Emergency Fund (CEF), a group that bankrolled Extinction Rebellion and JSO, Mr Neilson has since resigned his position and described their methods as 'unproductive'. The 50-year-old Californian businessman stepped down in 2021 but has since decided to speak out to criticise the groups' protest tactics, which include 'slow-marches' and blocking roads. Major events have also been disrupted by JSO, including the Rugby Cup final at Twickenham and the Epsom Derby, with Wimbledon suspected to be the next sporting event under threat. 'It's become disruption for the sake of disruption,' Neilson . 'Working people that are trying to get to their job, get their kid dropped off at school, survive a brutal cost-of-living crisis in the UK, you know, there's a certain hierarchy of needs that they have.' Mr Neilson was once an enthusiastic supporter of the controversial tactics employed by the climate groups, but said their activities have caused him increasing unease. 'If at the same time they have a pink-haired, tattooed and pierced protester standing in front of their car, so that their kid is late for their test that day, that does not encourage them to join the movement,' he added. 'It's just performative. It's not accomplishing anything. I absolutely believe that it has now become counterproductive, and I just feel like that has to be said by somebody that was involved in the beginnings of what it has become.'