Designer demo brings Stansted airport to a halt
There was the grandson of a peer who served in Wilson’s Cabinet, a film animator
and a hat designer, not to mention the undergraduates and postgraduate research
taking part were adamant that there was no time to lose in tackling the peril
of climate change. Tilly, 21, explained: "If we fail, it will be the people on
this runway, and our children, who’ll live with the consequences."
consequences of her actions. By the end of the five-hour Plane Stupid protest,
57 people had been arrested and 52 flights cancelled, leaving thousands grounded.
a verdict on a third Heathrow runway expected next month, campaigners gave warning
that the middle classes were angry, and direct action could become a recurrent
problem for airlines and passengers unless the sector’s growth was checked.
3am, while the runway was closed for maintenance. Lily Kember, 21, an anthropology
student, said that the group used boltcutters to get into a secure area about
50 yards from the runway. "Being arrested is a terrifying prospect, but not nearly
as terrifying as the threat of climate change," she said. Her mother said: "We
know what she does and we stand by her."
printed on them, chained themselves to security fencing, so that police had to
remove them physically.
were released on police bail without charge pending further inquiries, after being
arrested on suspicion of public disorder offences. More than 40 others remained
in custody, a police spokesman said.
the breach, but the GMB union said that it had been pressing for a security review.
and called for an investigation into why BAA had failed to keep the airport "secure
and open". Thousands of passengers were also frustrated. Anita Kelleher was due
to fly to Ireland for her father’s funeral, but her flight was cancelled: "His
funeral is tonight, the Rosary is tonight. I’ve missed being at my dad’s Rosary
tonight and I’m heartbroken."
sympathy for the protesters’ cause but not their methods: "Flying is the only
option for me. My sister has had a baby and this is my only trip home, instead
of Christmas. It’s not the way to get people on your side."
the Stansted protest might be the shape of things to come: "Hacan is not a direct
action group, but we are encouraged to see that the passion is there. I wouldn’t
be surprised if there were other direct actions before next month’s Heathrow announcement."
She added that "a couple of direct action training sessions" had been held near
Heathrow. "It is the middle-of-the-road, middle-aged lady who will be on the warpath,
reluctantly but in desperation."
yesterday’s protesters were "not the sort of people who usually go in for activist
stuff", adding that they were "educated, scientifically literate, passionate and
were drawn to Plane Stupid were "the Iraq generation who grew up trying to stop
the war" and had now turned to peaceful direct action after their lobbying of
politicians in that case fell on deaf ears.
there was never any possibility that the intruders could have reached the runway.
"At no time were any passengers or planes in danger," he said.