Protest picnic at Gatwick against 2nd runway, in solidarity with Reclaim the Power #staygrounded protests at Heathrow
In solidarity with the two protests organised by Reclaim the Power at Heathrow on the same day – the Critical Mass cycle ride and the flashmob “die-in” in Terminal 2, there was another colourful and creative protest at Gatwick. On cue from a tartan clad bagpipe player, people spread out a picnic in the arrivals area of the South terminal with leaflets and speech bubbles explaining why they were there. The 25 or so protestors were there for about an hour and a half, handing out leaflets explaining that there is no need for new runway either at Heathrow or at Gatwick, though Gatwick has been putting its (weak) case for a 2nd runway as hard as money and PR spin will permit. The protest picnic – in common with the Heathrow protest – stressed that the majority of flights at UK airports are taken by a small minority. In any one year, around 70% of the flights are taken by around 15% of the population. These frequent fliers, taking increasing numbers of low cost leisure flights are driving the demand for another runway. A declining number of flights, already less than a quarter, are for business purposes. At a time when we urgently need to curb our CO2 emissions to mitigate the effects of climate change, increasing these extra CO2 emissions by increasing the amount we British fly will only contribute to climate injustice, and lead to many thousands of deaths worldwide.
Photos (by Rob Basto) of the #staygrounded Gatwick protest
Elegant picnic, even with vase of flowers and proper crockery
The Gatwick picnic – and not forgetting the struggle at Nantes, in western France, where a new airport is planned (and fiercely opposed) at Notre-Dame-des-Landes. Aeroport – NON !
Reclaim the Power #staygrounded die-in flashmob at Heathrow against runway, and Critical Mass cycle ride
Two spectacular “Stay Grounded” protests took place at Heathrow, against a possible third runway. Both were organised by Reclaim the Power, which is a grassroots organisation taking action with local communities on environmental, economic and social justice issues. The protests at Heathrow were against aviation expansion, partly due to its carbon emissions and also local air pollution, and to highlight the social injustice of climate change impacts around the world. Hundreds of activists staged a “die-in” flashmob in Heathrow’s Terminal 2, and there was a Critical Mass bike ride of about 150 risers wearing red, which circled the area, visiting Harmondsworth Detention Centre and Longford village, and briefly obstructing traffic by circling the main roundabout on Bath Road. The “die-in” involved over 100 people, many of whom wore masks to symbolise the pollution from aviation. Testimonies from communities already affected by climate change were read out, including from Pacific islands that are suffering from sea level rise. Street theatre at the protest showed high income frequent fliers, checking in and drinking champagne (being critical of the “irresponsible” environmental protesters ….) There was also a flashmob action at Gatwick, and others as part of a global wave of actions opposing airport expansion (including Austria, France, Mexico, Turkey), timed to coincide with the major ICAO conference aiming to address the emissions impact of aviation.
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