At 07:55am on 24 September, 2006, a group of protesters 'breached security' at the East Midlands Airport and occupied one of the operational taxi-runways. The 21 activists from Plane Stupid said they "wanted to see airport expansion plans scrapped, a tax on aviation fuel and plane tickets, and an end to short haul flights."
The method of the occupation was chaining themselves to each other, having set up tents saying 'Climate Camp 2'. Baptist minister Malcolm Carroll, who lead a memorial service for the victims of the effects of climate change, also took part in the action. Spokesman of the group, Joss Garman, said: "an estimated 150.000 people die of the effects of climate change each year. That's the equivelant of a 9-11 every week."
At midday, armed police, dog units, firebrigade and helicopter arrived and cleared the runway. 24 people were arrested for 'suspected offences under the Aviation Security Act'. Contrary to what the BBC reported, some flights leaving the airport were delayed.
Various sources have reported that most of the protesters' houses were raided by armed police while in custody. Officers have confiscated clothes, computers, diaries and other personal items, in some cases without giving out receipts for them. Some of the protesters are due in court on Friday 6th October at Loughborough Magistrates Court.
Background Info: Press release of the activists | PLANE STUPID Newsletter #4 | Goverment's Aviation White Paper | 10 Reasons to Ground the Plane… | Airport Environment Federation | Airport Watch | Climate Concern UK | Earth First! (UK) | Rising Tide | Stop Climate Chaos!
Pictures are at:
The activists are now convicted to 40 hours of service-duty but are appealing their sentence. The verdict is rather new in the Netherlands because previous comparable actions at Schiphol have mostly resulted in fines or conditional fines only. The judge said that he was taking into account the ' changed situation in society' after the 11 september attack in 2001.
Two years ago, the same group ' adbusted' a mega-wrap advert of British Airways in the city of Amsterdam. The advert says ' London is closer than you think' and the adbust added to this: ' A climate disaster too. Tax on flying now!'.
The pictures are at:
9 females were held at Leicester Central, 16 males at Coalville (a disused overspill station normally for football hooligans and asylum seekers) and a sky reporter was held at Loughborough,
The police response was outrageous. Armed police raided a Baptist minister’s house, waking and interrogating his son. This was followed by another raid and more questioning a few hours later. For more see http://www.thisisstaffordshire.co.uk/displayNode.jsp?nodeId=158338&command=displayContent&sourceNode=158321&contentPK=15531397&moduleName=InternalSearch&formname=sidebarsearch
Many other homes were also raided and equipment and other possessions seized, many of which it seems have no relevance to the incident but have stopped people going about their personal lives. All activists were held for 36 hours with 5 minutes access to the outside ‘exercise’ yard and ‘vegan’ food which contained milk and egg. The police refused anyone their ‘right to one phone call’ throughout the 36 hours under anti-terrorist legislation.
All activists have been charged with aggravated trespass, causing a nuisance to the public and entering a restricted zone with some also charged with criminal damage. Bail conditions include not going within 500m of any uk airport and not to associate with co-defendants. As the females were released into the centre of Leicester, they were told by the releasing officers that their bail conditions applied immediately, they would be released 5 minutes apart and if they were seen communicating would immediately rearrested for breaking their bail conditions. Community safety policing – hmm?
Everyone is bailed to appear at Loughborough Magistrates Court on Friday 6th October 2006 at 9.45am. Please come in solidarity and show your support.
also, we were let out in the middle of the night having had money, phones and train tickets taken with bail conditions not to speak to each other, miles away from our homes!