A Cambridge graduate who brought the M25 to a standstill has revealed she expected to be arrested but wasn’t ‘even interviewed by police’.
Cathy Eastburn, 54, was apprehended four times in nine days as protesters from campaign group Insulate Britain blocked the London Orbital Motorway last week.
And even the Cambridge University philosophy graduate was surprised by the lack of police action. While protesting she set her out-of-office email to: ‘If you’re reading this, it is because I have been arrested and possibly put in prison on remand.’
But Ms Eastburn was released without charge without being interviewed each time she was arrested.
She told the Sunday Times she thought her actions were ‘proportionate’ because forcing drivers to sit in traffic for hours was ‘incomparable to the kind of chaos that’s coming down the track – major flooding and major food shortages’.
Cathy Eastburn (pictured), 54, was apprehended four times in nine days as protesters from campaign group Insulate Britain blocked the London Orbital Motorway last week
The sound therapist and professional musician is a big wig within the climate protest movement. She was previously arrested for gluing herself to a Docklands Light Railway (DLR) train and once shouted at Sir David Attenborough for ‘not telling the truth’.
Ms Eastburn, who is married with two daughters aged 17 and 21, was briefly jailed twice. In 2019 she was given a 12-month conditional discharge for halting DLR services at Canary Wharf station in east London.
She also had to pay £1,800 in costs.
The activist, who lives in a £1million home near Clapham Common in south London, said she understands she is in a ‘privileged’ position.
She added: ‘Not everyone is in a position to risk arrest or risk prison,’ she said. ‘I think as a white middle-aged woman, it’s easier for me to go through the criminal justice system.’
Police remove activists from the motorway as protestors from Insulate Britain block the M25 motorway near Cobham in Surrey on September 21
The sound therapist and professional musician is a big wig within the climate protest movement. She was previously arrested for gluing herself to a Docklands Light Railway (DLR) train (pictured) and once shouted at Sir David Attenborough for ‘not telling the truth’
But Ms Eastburn thinks she is making a ‘sacrifice’ by staging protests and going through arrests instead of spending time with her family.
She compared herself to the suffragettes and the US civil rights movement and said a UN report on global warming in 2018 spurred her on to take action.
Her first arrest came in February 2019 after Extinction Rebellion (XR) protesters glued themselves to the doors of the InterContinental Hotel in London’s Park Line while an oil conference was taking place inside.
After the DLR incident Ms Eastburn was held on remand for more than a week at HMP Bronzefield near Ashford while awaiting trial.
And when she was found guilty alongside two others, jurors expressed ‘regret’.
British Transport Police officers are seen removing environmental activists who glued themselves on the roof of a Docklands Light Railway train at Canary Wharf station
Ms Eastburn was arrested again after fake blood was sprayed on the Treasury building in Whitehall.
And last September she took off her bra and locked herself to railings outside the Houses of Parliament alongside a group of women.
She was also arrested for blocking a nearby road and went on to break the law by illegally live streaming as she glued herself to the wall of the dock at Westminster Magistrates’ court.
This led to two weeks in jail for contempt of court.
Later she accosted Attenborough, then 94, at his home in southwest London because he warned people not to break the law while protesting.
Ms Eastburn accused the veteran broadcaster of ‘not telling the truth’ because she thinks change only comes through civil disobedience.
Ms Eastburn is pictured as she was arrested for the DLR stunt
Last week activists were filmed making a death-defying dash on to the M25 just before 8am near Cobham in Surrey. Drivers were forced to slam on their brakes.
Some of the hardliners were arrested five times over the past ten days, only to be released to return to block the motorway again.
Dr Bing Jones, who has been detained by police four times, told the BBC: ‘I accept that I put my life at risk. I don’t really accept that we have put other lives at risk.
‘The disruption weighs heavily on me but it is necessary. Insulating houses is by far the most cost-effective means of reducing carbon emissions within the UK and it could bring millions of people out of fuel poverty.’
Senior police officers said the risk to motorists was now ‘very high’ – yet the four forces dealing with the protests have charged only one activist.
Surrey Police said it first received a call at 7.57am on September 21 and arrived on the scene in three minutes. The protesters held up banners saying ‘Insulate Britain’ and poured blue paint on the road before they were dragged away.
By 8.17am both carriageways were cleared and open, with 38 arrests being made.