A tearful Extinction Rebellion activist has apologised to a man who was denied the chance to see his father one last time before he died because of a climate protest that left him stuck in traffic.
The grieving man revealed how he had rushed to his father’s bedside at Bristol Royal Infirmary after doctors told him he did not have long, but he could not get there in time because protesters were blocking the M32 into the city.
He rang his local radio station to tell his story yesterday afternoon, sparking fury among listeners who branded the demonstrations selfish.
After hearing the BBC Radio Bristol clip, Extinction protester Zoe Jones said she was ‘incredibly sorry’ but still believed she was ‘doing the right thing’.
Extinction Rebellion protestors are carried away after the group blocked the M32 into Bristol yesterday
A driver rushed to Bristol Royal Infirmary after doctors told him his father didn’t have long to live. But he was unable to get there because of traffic (pictured on M32) caused by the protests yesterday
Climate protester Zoe Jones (pictured) said it was ‘difficult to hear stories like that’ but said she still believed the demonstrators were ‘doing the right thing’
‘We’re incredibly sorry, we didn’t mean for our protest affect your life in this way,’ Ms Jones said as she held back tears after listening to the clip.
‘I still believe that we are doing the right thing. But it’s incredibly difficult to hear stories like that.
‘I guess the reason why we’re all here is for our families. And I shouldn’t be here.
‘I shouldn’t be standing in the road stopping people getting to hospital to see their aged father who is on death’s door.
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‘This shouldn’t be happening. But we are here and this is the reality we have to be here.
‘It hasn’t made me want to stop, because I know that this is the right thing to do. I hope that we don’t have to do this for much longer.
‘I really, sincerely hope that politicians listen to what we’re saying and allow us to get back to work.’
The group have been blocking key roads in Bristol and other cities since Monday as part of a week-long protest.
Causing traffic chaos nationwide, one of the group’s infamous boats was parked on The Strand in London, disrupting travel for thousands of Londoners, while sixteen members have been arrested in Bristol after blocking the M32.
Local Steve King posted on Facebook: ‘I’ve just been listening to BBC Radio Bristol and some poor chap had phoned in about the Extinction Revolution [sic] protests.
‘His father was seriously ill in Bristol Royal Infirmary. He had a phone call from them to say that his father hadn’t got long to live.
‘He couldn’t be with his father when he died because these protesting tw**s had blocked the M32 and he couldn’t get there in time.
‘The protesters have completely lost any support I may have had for their message!!’
The Extinction Rebellion activist was played the call in which the man revealed how protesters had frustrated his attempts to see his father one last time
The group have been blocking key roads in Bristol and other cities since Monday as part of a week-long protest
Sixteen people were arrested in Bristol after blocking the M32
Another commenter, Wendy Gilvear said of the man’s story: ‘Out of respect to the Gentleman who passed away, and his family they should pack up their protest and go back to their homes and families.
‘This might show people that they really do feel sympathy for depriving a son his precious irreplaceable last few minutes with his father.’
Sophie Iles posted: ‘That’s awful. Actually has made me cry. That poor man.’
Rachelle Miller wrote: ‘Poor guy. I was lucky to be with my dad right till his last breath. This will be with him for the rest of his life.
‘So not fair he had to go through this because of selfish people who couldn’t stay on the roads that had been blocked off.’
Activists are pictured with a banner as they block roads in Bristol saying: ‘This is a real emergency! 2050 is too late. Be alarmed! Act now!’
Jan Edwards wrote: ‘Sadly this was bound to happen. If you lose a loved one the time you give to them is more important than a demonstration.
‘You have all now gone too far. Remember you reap what you sow. My deepest condolences to the man and his family.’
Caroline Carey commented: ‘ I hope they can live with what they have done to this poor man.
‘How would they feel if it was one of their family members needing to get to the hospital. They have no conscience.
‘They’ve made their point, time to go home before more tragedy blights their cause. RIP to the father and heartfelt condolences to the son.’
In a statement on their Facebook page, the Bristol branch of the climate protest group said: ‘We’re very sorry for the immense disruption that we caused to Bristol residents.
‘Some have not only been inconvenienced but have also been deeply impacted on a personal and emotional level, and it really saddens us.
‘We’re sending great empathy and love from our community to them.
‘Despite this, we were there to cause disruption because our government isn’t acting on the climate and ecological crisis.
‘We’d prefer to not have to create any disruption at all. Unfortunately this is our last chance to save humanity from extinction.’