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19 Climate Change Activists Arrested for Drone Protest Against Heathrow Airport Expansion

A protest signal within the city of Harmondsworth, which might be partially destroyed by an enlargement of Heathrow Airport.
Photograph: Matt Dunham (AP)

UK police have now arrested no less than 19 environmental activists who threatened to fly drones and disrupt air journey at Heathrow Airport in protest of the deliberate development of a 3rd runway on the UK’s fundamental air hub, the Guardian reported on Saturday.

The protesters are an offshoot of the Extinction Rise up motion, which has been on the heart of high-profile local weather protests throughout the UK together with shutting down elements of London and operating bare within the Home of Commons earlier this yr; after these prior protests, the Home of Commons declared a local weather change emergency. The group at Heathrow on Saturday, known as Heathrow Pause, stated they wished as an instance the “dangerous folly” of increasing the airport—already the only largest supply of carbon emissions within the UK. Constructing a 3rd runway would allow 700 extra flights out of Heathrow a day, contributing additional to double-digit surges (26 p.c) within the quantity of carbon air pollution European nations generate by way of air journey up to now 5 years.

In a manifesto, Heathrow Pause stated that “It is a crime against humanity—and all life on earth—to support carbon intensive infrastructure projects.”

In a press launch, Heathrow Pause stated that it had flown three drones on Friday morning close to the airport’s exclusion zone, the place unsanctioned flight is banned (and violations could cause severe delays). The group wrote that “Some were interrupted by signal jamming, but at least one toy drone was flown at head height near the airport.” The group’s efforts continued on Saturday, the BBC reported. In response to the Guardian, no flight disruptions really resulted from the protests.

Police close to Heathrow on Sept. 13, 2019.
Photograph: Matt Dunham (AP)

Video uploaded to Twitter by Heathrow Pause confirmed no less than one of many drones flashing its lights however refusing to take off, with members of the group speculating that sign jammers had been concerned. Richard Gill of the Drone Defence jamming producer informed the Instances of London stated he didn’t know the way the Metropolitan Police prevented the drones from taking off however that their strategy might have modified since Christmas, when stories drones repeatedly disrupted journey at Gatwick Airport.

“We must reiterate that interrupting the Airport and disturbing scores of travellers was never the ultimate goal of this action,” Heathrow Pause wrote within the Friday launch. “The real objective was always to trigger a sensible, honest conversation, throughout society, on the dangerous folly of Heathrow expansion, with the ultimate objective of cancelling the third runway. That conversation is now happening. It is incumbent on all of us to keep it going.”

In response to the Guardian, all nineteen folks had been detained on “suspicion of conspiring to commit a public nuisance or attempting to commit a public nuisance,” with one man (Extinction Rise up co-founder Roger Hallam) arrested twice, as soon as on Thursday and once more on Saturday. 16 of these arrested are actually free on bail. Heathrow Pause stated that one activist was bitten on each legs a police canine whereas “meditating in a garden” in a crackdown on Thursday night time, although Metropolitan police characterised the suspect to the paper as having “made off from them on foot.”

One other member of the group, former Paralympian James Brown, was arrested on Friday after participating within the protest at Heathrow’s Terminal 2. Brown, who’s partially sighted, informed the Guardian that he didn’t really fly one of many drones and solely held one over his head.

Heathrow informed the Guardian in an announcement that runways had been open and that “We agree with the need for climate change action but illegal protest activity, designed with the intention of disrupting thousands of people, is not the answer. The answer to climate change is in constructive engagement and working together to address the issue, something that Heathrow remains strongly committed to do.”

“We are really clear that [flying drones] is unlawful, it is a criminal offence, and anybody who turns up expecting to fly drones in that exclusion zone will be arrested,” Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor informed the BBC.

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