Protesters charged after blocking coach bound for Bibby Stockholm

Bibby Stockholm protester arrested by police
Police arrested 45 people during the protest - HENRY NICHOLLS

Three people have been charged after protesters blocked a coach set to take asylum seekers to the Bibby Stockholm barge.

Police said they were called at around 8.40am on Thursday to reports of people obstructing a coach, which was parked outside a Best Western Hotel in Peckham, south-east London.

A total of 45 people were arrested after officers were assaulted while trying to stop the protesters from obstructing the coach, the Metropolitan Police said.

Bibby Stockholm protest
Protesters said police officers were heavy handed - HENRY NICHOLLS

Three people were charged with obstruction of the highway and ordered to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court at a later date. They are Callum Goode, 24, of Ashbourne, Derbyshire, Jony Cink, 24, of Southwark, and Indea Barbe-Wilson, 31, of Lewisham.

The arrests occurred after a large group of people, many with their faces covered, surrounded the coach and were seen linking arms and sitting in Peckham Road.

Pictures showed lines of police officers attending the scene, while footage captured some jostling with protesters at one point.

The demonstrators could be heard chanting “no borders, no nations, stop deportations”, “say it loud, say it clear, refugees are welcome here”, and “when refugees are under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back”.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Ade Adelekan said in a statement: “It saddens me greatly to say that a number of officers have been assaulted in the course of their duty following an incident in Peckham today where they sought to uphold the law.”

He said that officers spoke to the coach driver and also protesters “at length” and warned them that they could be arrested, and added: “After this, demonstrators blocked the road and continued to prevent the coach, and police vehicles, from leaving.

”More officers were sent to the scene to safely remove people from the road, allow the vehicles to leave and for the road to reopen.

”A number of officers have reported being assaulted. Thankfully, I’m glad that none of those are seriously hurt.”

But protesters claimed police had been “pushing and shoving” peaceful demonstrators.

Laurence Smith, founder of the charity Lewisham Donation Hub, said two of his organisation’s volunteers, who are asylum seekers, had been threatened with being sent to the barge.

He said: “I came down today to make sure our volunteers left that hotel and went to the private accommodation that we found.”

Bibby Stockholm protests
Protesters linked arms and blocked the coach - TOLGA AKMEN/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

He added that he had spoken to Superintendent Matt Cox, from the Metropolitan Police, at 10am to try to defuse the situation.

Jennie, 34, who did not want to give her surname, is a member of one of the groups that were involved in the protest.
She told PA: “We’re now trying to support the asylum seekers who weren’t removed.”

Jennie, who had visible cuts and bruises on her arms and hands, said police were “pushing and shoving” people and that she needed medical attention.

The Home Office has not confirmed whether there are plans to try again to move the asylum seekers to the barge on another day or if the move had been abandoned, but Home Secretary James Cleverly said protests would not deter the “firm but fair approach the British people expect”.