Insulate Britain eco-warrior goes on HUNGER STRIKE after she and eight others are jailed and face £91,000 fines

AN Insulate Britain activist has launched a hunger strike after nine of the group's eco-warriors were jailed today.

Emma Smart vowed she's on the "right side of history" as she announced an immediate hunger strike after being jailed for four months at the High Court.

The 'Highway Nine' protesters also faces fines of £91,000 after flouting a ban on blocking the M25.

Two campaigners were handed three-month sentences, while six were caged for four months after admitting blocking motorway traffic on October 8.

A ninth activist, Ben Taylor, was jailed for six months after he vowed to keep blocking the motorway if he wasn't locked up.

After being sentenced, Smart, 44,said: “Our government is betraying us; betraying our vulnerable people and betraying our children’s future.

"I believe that my intentions are morally right, even if my actions are deemed legally wrong.

“This court may see me as being on the wrong side of the law, but in my heart I know I am on the right side of history.

"I will not be a bystander.”

Ben Buse, 36, Ana Heyatawin, 58, Louis McKechnie, 20, Roman Paluch, 28, Oliver Roc, 41, Smart, Tim Speers, 36, James Thomas, 47, and Ben Taylor were seen glumly walking into London's High Court this morning.

Taylor told the High Court this week: "I will go and block the motorway at the earliest opportunity and will continue to do so until the Government makes a meaningful statement and acts on it."

Judge Dame Victoria Sharp blasted his comment as "inflammatory" and dubbed them a "call to arms".

She said his six-month sentence would "deter (him) from committing further breaches".

The activists were seen hugging and saying goodbye to loved ones outside court – as crowds turned out to support them.

All nine previously stood by their protest, which caused chaos for hard-working commuters last month.

Dame Victoria Sharp said there was no alternative to custodial sentences given that the group's actions were so serious and they had made it clear they intended to further flout court orders.

She said: "The defendants, or some of them, seem to want to be martyrs for their cause and the media campaign surrounding this hearing appears designed to suggest this.

This court may see me as being on the wrong side of the law, but in my heart I know I am on the right side of history

"We, however, have to act dispassionately and proportionately."

During their appearance today, family and friends shouted "I love you" as the group were carted away to their cells to begin their sentence.

Chants of "we are unstoppable, another world is possible" rang out through the court – until the judge put a stop to it.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps took to Twitter after the sentences were handed down.

He said: "Every motorway and major A road in the country is now covered by injunctions preventing people from blocking the road – anyone who causes misery to motorists may face prison.

"I'll continue to do all I can to protect road-users and prevent dangerous, disruptive behaviour."

Yesterday, protester Roc, 41, admitted he was "close to tears" and "cr**ping himself at the prospect of jail time.

But Taylor took on a more defiant stance, adding: "If you send each of us away, 100 people will step forward and take our places.

"If you send 100 of us away, 1,000 people will step forward to take our place. If you somehow manage to stop all non-violent protests, then things will only turn violent."

The High Court has so far issued five injunctions to prevent protesters from blocking roads.

They include four injunctions granted to National Highways, banning demonstrations on the M25, around the Port of Dover and on major roads around London, and one to Transport for London (TfL).

TfL was granted a civil banning order aimed at preventing protesters from obstructing traffic on some of the capital's busiest roads.

Those who breach the injunctions could be found in contempt of court and face a maximum penalty of two years in prison or an unlimited fine.

Myriam Stacey QC – representing the Government – told the court on Tuesday that the injunction banning protest activity on the M25 motorway was granted by a High Court judge on September 21.


She said it was accepted by National Highways that the protests fell into the category of "civil disobedience", and that a National Highways official had described the action as "unprecedented and sustained".

Ms Stacey said further committal proceedings will be issued against other Insulate Britain protesters by the end of the week, relating to protests on October 27.

She also said evidence is currently being gathered to bring proceedings in relation to protests on October 29 and November 2.

Ms Stacey had earlier told the court the legal costs of bringing proceedings against the nine activists had reached £91,000.

She argued the judges should make an order for the costs against the defendants and that – even if they are unable to pay them – such an order would be an "important symbol".

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