A motorcycle policeman was injured in an accident involving two lorries on the M25 as Just Stop Oil protesters scaled gantries above the road for a third day.
Essex Police say an officer was beaten after dealing with a protester on the highway between Junctions 26 and 27 on Wednesday morning.
A rolling roadblock was set up and there was an accident between two trucks and a police motorbike. Two protesters were arrested.
“Our Traffic Constables are specialist and dedicated officers who come to work to serve the public and keep you safe on our roads,” said Chief Superintendent Simon Anslow.
“They do it tirelessly, day after day. Unfortunately, this morning one of these fantastic officers was injured while performing this job.
“My thoughts are with them and their family.”
A witness told MailOnline that a woman started climbing a concrete pole and a police officer on a motorbike tried to stop her, then collided with a lorry, which crashed into another lorry .
“They arrested the woman before she could get on the gate,” the witness said.
He added: “Someone is going to die soon.”
Several junctions were closed for hours as protesters were removed from gates, and there was disruption at Dartford Crossing.
The Metropolitan Police suspected that a person – who was arrested – had locked themselves on a gate between Junctions 24 and 25.
“The locks add more complexity for our moving teams and the overall process becomes longer. We had to call on specialized equipment for this move, including a JCB.
Several demonstrators were arrested for public nuisance.
Just Stop Oil said around 10 supporters climbed onto gantries, forcing police to halt traffic at 6.30am.
This is part of the group’s campaign calling on the government to end all new oil and gas licenses and authorisations.
Isabel Rock, 41, an artist from south London said: “The government is responsible for criminal inaction in the face of the climate crisis. They should be in jail, not me. It is my moral duty to cause disruption to force the government to act.
Sam Holland, 20, said: ‘I’m getting screwed. I’m twenty years old. What will my future look like at forty? Looks like there’s no food on the shelves. Looks like people are fighting in the streets.
On Tuesday, 16 protesters were arrested after they scaled gantries on the M25 and disrupted traffic at nine locations. Members of the media have also reported being arrested and taken into custody in Hertfordshire.
Since the start of October, the Met has used more than 11,000 officer teams for Just Stop Oil police protests.
“These are officers who would otherwise deal with issues important to local communities, such as knife crime, protection and burglary response,” Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist said.
“We are determined to bring to justice anyone who conspires to cause significant and unreasonable disruption to London and the motorway network and we will work closely with the Crown Prosecution Service and the courts to ensure this happens.”
Twenty-two people have already been charged in connection with the M25 protests.
Asked about the Just Stop Oil protests on the M25, the Prime Minister’s official spokesperson said: “We are introducing new powers so that the police can go further in tackling this constant disruption that we are seeing.
“It is causing massive misery for the public, as we have seen today, even putting lives at risk and preventing emergency services from doing their job.
“So the public rightly wants the police to have the power to act and that’s what we’re delivering.”