11 arrested in airport protests

Eleven people were arrested Thursday after environmental activists staged protests at two airports in south-east England to highlight what they say is a rise in the use of private air travel.

11 arrested in airport protests
Eleven people were arrested Thursday after environmental activists staged protests at two airports in south-east England to highlight what they say is a rise in the use of private air travel.

About 30 people in two separate groups chained themselves to the entrance of Biggin Hill and Farnborough airports and lay down in the road to protest against the "super-rich" who were shunning attempts to cut carbon emissions.

Police said the arrests were made at Biggin Hill after the protesters, some of whom had chained themselves to the main gate, refused to leave. Those attached to the gates were cut free using specialist equipment.

A spokesman said the protest was peaceful but nevertheless illegal.

At Farnborough, police warned the protesters they were trespassing and the demonstration was called off without any arrests being made.

Richard George, a spokesman for the protesters, said the rise in non-scheduled flights by business executives flew in the face of wider efforts to combat climate change.

"The growth in private aviation scandalously mocks the efforts of people who try to reduce their carbon footprint," he said.

But he said the demonstrations were not a dry-run for larger-scale protests planned at London's main Heathrow airport this weekend.

A Camp for Climate Action has been set up near Heathrow with campaigners saying the world's busiest airport fuels climate change. Their presence has sparked fears of widespread disruption at the airport site west of London.

Biggin Hill played a key role in World War II as a busy Royal Air Force base during the Battle of Britain in 1940.

The local municipal council acquired the site in the 1970s and it was used as a civil airport for light aircraft flights. It is now predominantly used by business aviation operators to jet executives in and out of London.

Farnborough hosts a major international air show every two years and has about 100 flights a day involving private jets.

AFP
Last Mod: 16 Ağustos 2007, 19:22
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