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Campaigners blockading oil refinery in Essex disperse

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media captionThe were scuffles as police tried to deal with the protesters

Hundreds of climate campaigners who gathered outside an oil refinery in Essex have left the site.

The protest began when 12 women locked themselves to immobilized vehicles on an access road to the Coryton site to hold back oil tankers.

Police were called to the scene in Stanford-le-Hope at 1130 BST as about 400 people claiming to be affiliated to the group Crude Awakening joined them.

Essex Police said no arrests had been made.

Murray Smith from Crude Awakening said the activists decided to leave as they felt they had achieved their objectives for the day.

A spokeswoman for Petroplus, which owns Coryton refinery, had said during the protest that operations were running normally and the protest had been "a police matter" as it was on a public highway.

However, protesters claimed to have stopped about 50 tankers travelling on The Manorway .

Terri Orchard, a spokeswoman for the protest said the action was designed to "stop the flow of oil to London" and "put a spanner in the works".

"We don't have a hope of tackling climate change if we don't find a way to start moving beyond oil.

"Big Oil is relentless. From the Gulf of Mexico to the Arctic to the Canadian tar sands, oil companies are devastating local environments, trampling the rights of local communities, and pushing us over the edge to catastrophic climate change," she said.

Crude Awakening said it was supported by a wide range of direct action groups including the Camp for Climate Action, Plane Stupid, Rising Tide, Space Hijackers, Liberate Tate, Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination, Earth First! and the UK Tar Sands Network.

However they could not say which of these groups were represented at the Coryton protest.

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