FRUSTRATED motorists blocked by a protest against high levels of air pollution on a Swindon street drove through protestors’ banners and narrowly avoided hitting pedestrians after mounting the kerb.

Shouts of foul-mouthed abuse and angry horn honks filled the air when Extinction Rebellion campaigners caused tailbacks all the way up Kingshill Road by standing on a traffic light crossing at the bottom of the hill with signs and placards.

People heading to work and visiting loved ones in hospital loudly protested against the protest, one vehicle knocked a banner out of the group’s hands by driving through it and another car mounted the kerb and drove towards scared onlookers and supporters.

VIDEO: One driver speeds off with a banner over the bonnet after rushing between two protestors.

Grace Everett, 22, said: “I’ve seen protests before but not like that one. I agree with their message, Kingshill is very polluted, but this was a bit extreme. They put letters through our door about it and I think that’s gone some way to raising awareness.
“People needed to go places and someone almost got hurt, it caused more stress than it was worth.”

Another resident, Jacqui, said: “This hill is so polluted that when my father with COPD comes to stay, his chest tightens up. Traffic is constant and people speed down the hill - it was lovely when we had the snow because it was quiet for a while. It’s great that they’re demonstrating but what’s the solution?”

Extinction Rebellion member Andy Day said: “I’m disappointed by the aggression, if I get held up for a few minutes I don’t start driving through people. We just used non-violent direct action to draw attention to the fact that this is Swindon’s most polluted road and CO2 levels are dangerously high, while making a broader point that there has been no sensible action to limit climate change.”

VIDEO: Queues tail back up Kingshill Road as Extinction Rebellion stage a protest.

Full story and more pictures in Monday's Advertiser.