Essex

Three men arrested at Coryton refinery protest in Essex

Coryton closure protest at Vopak
Image caption Protesters clashed with police at the Coryton protest

Three people have been arrested after violence flared during a protest over plans to shut an oil refinery in Essex.

About 70 people gathered outside the Vopak terminal, in West Thurrock, in an attempt to disrupt tankers.

It followed the announcement of hundreds of job cuts at the nearby Coryton refinery after its Swiss-based parent company Petroplus collapsed.

Essex Police said "tensions" flared at about 14:00 BST as protesters clashed with officers.

Two 20-year-old men were arrested on suspicion of assaulting an officer and a 26-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of a public order offence.

An Essex Police spokeswoman said: "This afternoon's tensions saw protesters seek to disrupt the business of the refinery and fail to comply with requests to move back to the area which had been agreed."

'Shame on you'

She said about 70 people were at the protest - a "significant" increase on the numbers who had attended previous demonstrations.

No arrests had been made at the previous protests.

People chanting "shame on you" became involved in clashes with police.

Russell Jackson, of the Unite union, said none of its members were involved in the trouble.

He said the Vopak terminal was targeted for the protest because it "appears to be the only way that we might have a chance of someone listening to us".

Similar protests took place at other refineries in Grangemouth, near Falkirk, and Lindsey in north Lincolnshire.

Administrators PwC said 180 jobs - out of a total of about 850 - would go this week at the Coryton plant.

The Department for Energy and Climate Change said it was not in the national interest to provide financial support for the plant in an industry with declining demand and overcapacity.

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