A man has claimed that his 74-year-old mother was paralysed due to late treatment for a stroke because he was stuck in traffic caused by an eco-extremist protest on Britain’s busiest motorway.
Insulate Britain has inherited the tactics of Extinction Rebellion, whose activists obstruct traffic in central London for hours at a time, to Britain’s busiest motorway, the M25, this time disrupting ordinary Britons travelling to the rest of the country.
“I was caught for about six hours in traffic. I was doing a mission of mercy to help my mother,” Chris told LBC host Andrew Pierce of a recent protest, explaining that he was forced to drive his mother, who was suspected of having had a stroke, himself because ambulance services were delayed.
“We got caught in this traffic [on the M25], and it should have been no longer than a half-an-hour, 40-minute [journey]. We were there for six hours,” he continued.
Struggling to contain the emotion in his voice, Chris continued: “I was in that car with my mother for six hours, watching her slip away in front of my very eyes, and I could do nothing. I couldn’t help her. At one point, she put her hand on my leg and looked at me and said, ‘Oh Chris, I don’t feel very well.’ And those were the last words she was able to speak to me.”
“When we got to the hospital, the doctors had said if we were to have got to them within 90 minutes, her recovery would have been minimised. Because she had been left to endure a full-on stroke for six hours, it is severe. She has got complete paralysis now down her left side. She can’t speak,” Chris said.
Remarking on the story, Brexit leader Nigel Farage said on Sunday: “Too many innocent people are suffering because of these idiots at Insulate Britain. The next time they block the M25, the police must remove them immediately.”
Confronted with the story of Chris and his mother, Insulate Britain spokesman Liam Norton told LBC’s Nick Ferrari on Monday that his “heart” went to out the pensioner, but he appeared to imply that her serious injury was collateral damage in his wider war on uninsulated homes, saying: “It’s terrible, Nick, isn’t it, that we’re in this position where we have to campaign this way?”
Refusing to give a real apology and alluding to “the suffering of millions of people”, Ferrari interrupted the activist, demanding: “That woman effectively dying in front of her son’s eyes is down to you and your colleagues. So when are you going to suddenly stop with these lame apologies and actually accept that this is not the way to protest?”
“It’s awful, Nick, isn’t it?” Norton began before the radio host cut the line, declaring: “I’ve had enough.”
Some motorists have claimed the disruptions have led to the delays of the delivery of medical supplies, while others rightly lost their patience, with one reportedly yelling at the activists, “go to work you lazy bastards”.
Police have been criticised for their soft-handed approach to breaking up the highly-disruptive protest, with footage reported last week showing one officer passively and politely asking the line of protesters to move, before explaining that “individual officers will come and speak to you and they will make their own decision as to whether you are arrested”.
The female officer continued: “If you’ve got any questions at all, just ask and if any of you are in any discomfort or need anything, just let me know and we’ll try and sort you out in a nice way.
“Couldn’t have phrased that any worse could I? But no, if you need any assistance at all, just let me know okay? Right, we’ll be as we are.”
Insulate Britain disrupted motorists on the M25 again on Monday and Tuesday, now provoking the ire of drivers who, tired of the frequent blockades, confronted the activists before police intervened — apparently to protect the protesters, leading the upset driver away.