Extinction Rebellion protest at London airport begins as activists dragged away

Climate activists have been dragged from London City Airport and have been spotted climbing onto its terminal's roof as Extinction Rebellion begins its 'shut down' bid.

A heavy police presence at the airport this morning greeted the first wave of Extinction Rebellion protesters who have headed east from the protest's core in Westminster.

Travellers have struggled to get their suitcases past the activists who are planning to arrive in their hundreds, as the airport warns anyone flying today to check with their airlines.

They have arrived bearing tents, sleeping bags, food and water, in an attempt to set up camp inside the airport terminal for three days to disrupt flights.

One man has even managed to climb onto the terminal building's roof, eluding its barbed wire to shout slogans down to his fellow protesters.

The eco 'rebels' planned to occupy the airport's DLR station and road outside the terminal to "hold" the site for three days if they can't get past authorities to blockade the gates from the inside.

A London City Airport spokesperson said: “We can confirm that a number of protesters have arrived at London City Airport. We continue to work closely with the Metropolitan Police to ensure the safe operation of the airport, which remains fully open and operational.

As of 0915 there have been over 60 flights which have either arrived or departed."

“If you are flying from London City today, please check the status of your flight with your airline before travelling to the airport.”

Arrests have already been made at the airport by mid-morning, as scores of activists packed out the DLR station, and sat down outside the main entrance to the terminal, blocking the way for passengers arriving for flights.

The group chanted "Fly today, gone tomorrow" in unison, as members of the public struggled to get past with their suitcases.

Footage from the east London airport this morning shows officers dragging two women from outside the terminal, who are shown not resisting then lying on the ground as police search their bags.

The eco 'rebels' have planned a three-day Hong Kong-style peaceful protest, claiming activists would 'glue' themselves into the terminal at the gates to disrupt flights.

It said the protesters are opposing the airport's planned major expansion for environmental reasons.

The airport's management said yesterday said it planned to ward off protesters by demanding anyone trying to access its terminal show boarding passes.

The Met Police says 800 protesters have been arrested so far in the first four days of protest, as the climate activist group stages major protests around the capital.

Extinction Rebellion activists have taken over major bridges and blocked key roads around Whitehall and Trafalgar Square for the past four days, as they demand political action on climate change in a planned two-week London 'shut down.'

This morning, they've turned their sights on the east London airport, with travellers being warned to brace for flight disruption.

It comes after the group dropped an earlier bid to shut down Heathrow Airport with drones.

Extinction Rebellion abandoned that protest in recent months amid widespread controversy and a warning from the Met that protesters would face heavy penalties if they interfered with the major airport's operations.

The group said its airport protesters had a non-violent disruption planned.

It said its protest was focused on opposition to the airport's planned £2 billion expansion, and on highlighting the impact of air travel on the global climate.

However the airport has countered that the privately-financed expansion project is costing £500m.

It also sought to challenge claims the group's claims that the city airport was "used disproportionately by private jets and by financiers, businesspeople and other members of the polluter elite."

According to the airport's figures, of the 5 million people who flew from City last year, their numbers were evenly split between business and leisure, and only one in 10 live or work near the airport.

It said six per cent of City Airport flights were private jet operations.

Its statement said: "Mass peaceful civil disobedience is vital to force our government to act on the Climate and Ecological Emergency.

We have reached a tipping point. We stand on the brink. If we continue with our death drive towards extinction, there will be no tomorrow.

"We are on course for 3-4°C of global heating, which scientists warn may lead to the collapse of civilisation as we know it.

"Millions of lives in the global south are already being ravaged by climate catastrophe, yet more than 82% of humans have never flown. And so knowing that City Airport is planning a £2bn expansion, it is our moral responsibility to step up and peacefully intervene."

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