Heathrow airport 'shutdown' - eco warriors move in on UK's busiest airport


Protesters stand behind their banner blocking a road near Parliament Square in central London

After several "non-violent civil disobedience" protests in recent days, Extinction Rebellion group announced on Thursday that it planned to "raise the bar" at the UK's busiest airport, which is expected to be used by nearly 250,000 people today.

The Met said the protests are putting a strain on policing in the capital with officers diverted away from their "core local duties".

Extinction Rebellion has called for non-violent civil disobedience to push the British government to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2025 and to stop what it says is a global climate crisis.

Challenging critics who have said demonstrators are using the protests to have fun, she said: "If you can't have fun whilst saving the planet, what's the point?"

Heathrow Airport, for its part, said that they were working with police to avoid such disturbance.

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Home Secretary Sajid Javid, Britain's interior minister, condemned the demonstrations saying protesters "do not have the right to break the law and significantly disrupt the lives of others".

'Over recent days, commuters trying to earn a living have been unable to travel to work and businesses have been disrupted, ' he said.

Heathrow said it is "working with the authorities", while Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Nick Ephgrave said: 'Protesters can expect a robust police response.

"The protesters are using tactics of lying on the ground when approached", the police said in a statement.

He said in order to achieve action on this we need keep fossil fuels in the ground.

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Protesters have been tying up traffic and setting up impromptu encampments at Waterloo Bridge, Parliament Square and at Oxford Circus in London's busy West End entertainment and shopping district.

Some passengers shouted at the pair to get off whilst police headed for the scene.

Reporters on hand witnessed many younger protesters crying at the threat of being arrested.

Yet only a small number, estimated to be less than 20 - and all of which Extinction Rebellion claims were under the age of 17 years old - made it out to the airport Friday.

"Targeting public transport in this way would only damage the cause of all of us who want to tackle climate change, as well as risking Londoners' safety".

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