Pro-Brexit campaigners warned by police over ‘go slow’ motorway protests
Police have warned pro-Brexit campaigners planning “go slow” protests on the UK’s roads that they could face prosecution.
According to organisers the demonstrations aim to ensure the UK leaves the EU on March 29 by causing gridlock on motorways and A roads using a convoy of slow-moving vehicles, targeting between 30 and 40 locations over the weekend.
Among the roads targeted are the M25, M6 and M1, which is partially policed by Derbyshire Police, which said it has “been made aware of the protest” and is “liaising with organisers”.
A Derbyshire Police spokesman said: “Those taking part in any protest – on a high-speed road – should be aware that if the manner of their driving endangers other road users then they may be liable to prosecution.”
The RAC advises that while most motorways in the UK do not have an official minimum speed limit “travelling too slowly can be considered dangerous” and might attract attention from police.
Organiser Ian Charlesworth said the protests could cause “serious gridlock” and believes MPs and the Home Office “will be looking at it”, but added he does not know how effective the protests will be.
“The ultimate aim is to make sure come hell or high water that Britain leaves on March 29,” the 55-year-old told the Press Association.
“(Theresa) May said last night that she was with the people, blaming the MPs, I expect her to be with me at the North Wales events to show solidarity with the general public against the MPs.”
In response to the protest plans a National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) spokesman said: “The police will support Highways England who are responsible for keeping our road network moving.
“We will also deal with any unlawful obstruction or other motoring offences as they become apparent.”
The protests have been organised through social media, with Mr Charleworth’s Facebook group containing over 21,000 members.
Mr Charlesworth, from Flintshire, Wales, said some of the most popular “go slow” events have between 200 and 250 attending online, which he believes will amount to around 150 vehicles in their convoy.
Mr Charlesworth said he has “no worries at all legally” because “you have a legal right in this country to peaceful protest”.
“Generally police will facilitate these things but they draw the line when someone starts getting violent,” he said.
“But we are peacefully protesting and trying to get our point across in a sensible and rational manner.”
Mr Charlesworth said he is “not a fan” of the Prime Minister or any other MPs as they “don’t care about the public”, and said he wants the Government to honour the UK’s “democratic decision” on Brexit.
The organiser said the majority of the events will take place on Friday at around 6.30pm or 7pm.
After this weekend’s protests he said a larger “national event” is planned in London on March 29 should their demands not be met, which will coincide with the pro-Brexit March To Leave demonstration in Parliament Square.
When asked about the protests, a Highways England spokesman said: “Our focus is on providing a safe, reliable network for the millions of drivers who use our motorways and major A roads every day.”