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UK News

Insulate Britain protester on day 13 of prison hunger strike moved to hospital wing


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An Insulate Britain protester who has been on hunger strike in prison for 13 days is being given hospital treatment, the group has said.

Emma Smart, 44 from Weymouth in Dorset, is serving a four-month jail sentence for breaching a government injunction designed to prevent blockades along England’s road network.

Upon sentencing, Smart immediately vowed to stop eating until the government moves to insulate the UK’s homes.

The group are calling for better insulation of UK homes to help tackle the climate crisis and blocked motorways, the Port of Dover and roads outside Parliament as part of their campaign – with some demonstrators gluing themselves to the tarmac.

On Friday she was moved to the hospital wing at HMP Bronzefield in Ashford, Surrey.

In a statement released by Insulate Britain, Smart said: “The window of my cell in the hospital wing is blocked up and there is little natural light, in my previous cell I could see the birds and trees that line the prison fence.

“I have less time to go outside in the prison yard for exercise now.

More on Insulate Britain

“All of this is testing my resolve to continue, but I feel that not eating is the only thing I can do from prison to draw attention to those who will have to make the choice between heating and eating this winter.”

A police officer attempts to remove protesters from Insulate Britain as they block the road in Parliament Square, central London. Picture date: Thursday November 4, 2021.
Image: The group has blocked a number of the UK’s roads

Members of the environmental group – an offshoot of Extinction Rebellion – including Smart’s husband, Andy Smith, will stage a 24-hour fast outside Downing Street in solidarity with her.

Mr Smith, 45, told the PA news agency his wife was feeling “a bit weak but she’s still in good spirits”, adding she had been relocated to the hospital wing so that prison staff could more easily monitor her health.

He said: “I think a hunger strike is about 80% mental (strength) so as long as she’s doing OK mentally I think she’ll probably continue on her hunger strike until the government make a meaningful statement as to whether they’re going to insulate the homes of Britain or not.”

Nine members of Insulate Britain appeared at the High Court on 17 November after they admitted breaching an injunction by taking part in a blockade at junction 25 of the M25 during the morning rush hour on 8 October.

Each was given a sentence of between three and six months and ordered to pay £5,000 costs.

Subscribe to ClimateCast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or Spreaker.

The family of Oliver Rock, who was jailed for four months, have raised more than £8,500 to cover his rent while he is in prison, while a separate crowdfunder for the rest of the activists in prison has topped £10,000.

A further nine members of the group will appear at the High Court on 14 December to face charges of contempt of court.

 Sky News

© Sky News 2021

Written by: Rother Radio News

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