Paralympian glues himself to the top of British Airways jet as Extinction Rebellion invades London City airport
Not satisfied with stopping traffic on bridges and roads, Extinction Rebellion has taken the climate change protests to the next level.
An Extinction Rebellion protester glued himself to the top of a British Airways plane at London City Airport today.
The man, identified by Extinction Rebellion as former Paralympic cyclist James Brown, was seen clinging to the aircraft in a video streamed online by the protest group.
Mr Brown, who is visually impaired, was arrested at Heathrow last month after a protest which saw some Extinction Rebellion activists try to fly a drone near the airport.
The 54-year-old, who won a bronze medal at London 2012, glued himself to the top of a British Airways Embraer 190 jet.
“Here I am on top of a f****** aeroplane at City Airport. I hate heights, I’m s******* myself, I managed to get on the roof. I am so shaky,” he said in a Facebook video.
“This is all about the climate and ecological crisis, we’re protesting against government inaction on climate and ecological breakdown. They declare a climate emergency and then do nothing about it.
“In fact they go the opposite direction, they sanction the expansion of airports, Heathrow, Bristol and others. We can’t let this go on, we can’t have our cake and eat it.”
He later noticed security were approaching and said, “Oh good security are coming. I hope they don’t take too long because this is f****** scary.”
He was eventually removed. A spokeswoman for British Airways said, “We are investigating what happened as a matter of urgency.”
Meanwhile another protester managed to ground a flight from London City Airport to Dublin today — to the fury of the passengers on board.
The Aer Lingus flight this morning was on the runway and about to take off when a smartly dressed man stood up and gave a lecture on climate change.
Filming himself on his phone, the man said, “I don’t wish to travel with you, but I don’t wish to get off. I’m extremely sorry for the inconvenience.”
Furious passengers responded saying, “You’re not sorry at all.” As their flight was held up, travellers pleaded with crew to remove the bespectacled man from the plane.
Continuing to address those on board, the man said, “We have two generations of human civilisation left if we carry on doing what we are doing.”
Another passenger then asked him, “Why are you filming yourself?”
The man was later seen being led away from the aircraft by police officers. The flight, scheduled to depart at 9.40am, was delayed by 10 minutes.
Passenger Warren Swalbe tweeted, “Just about to take from London City airport. Our flight was infiltrated by a climate change protester.”
Nicholas Watt, the political editor of BBC Newsnight, wrote, “My flight from London City airport to Dublin has just been grounded by a climate change protester. On runway and about to take off when smartly dressed man in late middle age stood up with iPhone to deliver lecture on climate change up and down aisle.
“Cabin crew calmly and very politely asked protester to resume his seat. Politely but persistently he declined and proceeded to deliver his lecture on climate change in aisle. Plane was at the end of runway. So the pilot taxied back to gate where plane was met by throng of police. They came on board and escorted the protester off the plane.
“The final irony of the climate protest on our flight. We cannot take off until we have taken on extra fuel … to replace the fuel used up during the protest, our pilot notes with humour.”
Aer Lingus said the passenger was removed “due to disruptive behaviour on board” and a full security check of the aircraft was completed before the plane departed.
The climate change group started their three-day “Hong Kong-style” shut down of London City Airport this morning, gluing themselves to the terminal building and dancing on a roof — but ultimately failing to cancel flights.
The latest protest is against the climate impact of flying and the government’s ongoing support of airport expansion. Hundreds of environmentalists attempted to block the entrance to the airport from the DLR by sitting together on the ground and singing “Fly today, gone tomorrow”.
Activist Phil Kingston, 83, was among those arrested — the third time he has been arrested as part of Extinction Rebellion protests in the past week.
Protesters were seen being dragged out the airport by officers after failing to break through security into the terminal. One was heard saying, “Please stop you’re hurting me.”
One activist climbed onto part of the roof of the terminal building where he was cheered by fellow protesters. Standing on the roof, he bellowed down, “Shut the airport down! Rebellion!”
He then danced on the roof as a live band played clarinet music below.
Those arriving for flights were redirected to a second terminal entrance by security workers and were not allowed to enter the building without showing their boarding cards first.
Taxi driver Jason Lempiere said that the protests had disrupted his work in and around the city. “It’s disturbing everyone’s everyday life — working, travel in and out of the airport. Yeah, have a voice, but not disrupt people’s lives like this,” he said.
Today’s protest at City Airport is the fourth day of demonstrations by the climate change group. Protesters have been camped on roads around Parliament Square and Whitehall since Monday calling for urgent action on climate change and wildlife.
The Metropolitan Police said 800 people have been arrested since the start of the Extinction Rebellion protests on Monday, including 91-year-old John Lynes yesterday.
They have confiscated eight 10-ton lorries worth of kit, including generators, power sources, toilets, tents and sleeping equipment.
A total of 500 cops from other forces from England and Wales have been brought in to help cope with the protests.
Disruption continued in the capital yesterday with stunts that included a mass breastfeeding near Parliament Square to “plead for the lives” of their children and a group yoga session outside Downing Street.
Police were also seen marching a giant octopus back to Trafalgar Square.
On Wednesday night, activists continued their protests in Trafalgar Square. They were joined by Benedict Cumberbatch and Simon Amstell, while electronic music duo Disclosure and Orbital played a set.
WHAT IS EXTINCTION REBELLION?
Extinction Rebellion is a socio-political movement with the stated aim of using civil disobedience and nonviolent resistance to protest against climate breakdown, biodiversity loss, and the risk of social and ecological collapse.
Begun by a group of British academics in 2018 in response to the IPCC report that found we have just 12 years to stop catastrophic climate change, the movement has held hundreds of street blockades and occupations around the world.
The group has become increasingly active in Australia, staging numerous street demonstrations in capital cities. While the numbers of activists being arrested has grown, so too has the number of people taking part in the protests.
The organisation uses arrest as a tactic. Co-founder Roger Hallam has said "letters, emailing, marches don’t work. You need about 400 people to go to prison. About two to three thousand people to be arrested."
In the wake of Prime Minister Boris Johnson calling the protesters “uncooperative crusties”, his father Stanley Johnson said the comments were made in humour and he would consider it a compliment to be called a crusty by his son.
Defending the protest group’s tactics today Mr Johnson Snr said, “I don’t think many of them are breaking the law. I believe that they are wedded to nonviolence, to peaceful protest.”
A London City Airport spokesman 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 9.15am 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.”
The airport is the capital’s fifth-biggest, popular with business travellers, bankers and politicians for short-haul and regional routes.
This article originally appeared on The Sun.