Flights at London’s City airport were cancelled after nine protesters from Black Lives Matter UK got on to the runway and chained themselves together.
Police said nine protesters erected a tripod on the runway and locked themselves together just before dawn.
We’re currently experiencing disruption to all flights due to protestors at the airport. Police are currently on the scene.
— London City Airport (@LondonCityAir) September 6, 2016
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The BBC reports:
The Met Police said it was called to the site at about 05:40 BST after nine protesters erected a tripod and “locked themselves together” on the runway.
The Black Lives Matter UK movement confirmed it was responsible for the protest.
City Airport tweeted that the runway had reopened at lunchtime and flights were resuming.
It advised travellers via twitter to check with their airlines for the latest flight information.
All nine protesters were removed and arrested. The airport said inbound flights had been diverted.
Black Lives Matter UK said the action was taken in order to “highlight the UK’s environmental impact on the lives of black people locally and globally”.
Activists in support of BLMUK #Shutdown London City Airport to protest the UK’s environmental impact on black people pic.twitter.com/7LvFnB9Pv3
— #BlackLivesMatterUK (@ukblm) September 6, 2016
A statement said: “Whilst at London City Airport a small elite is able to fly, in 2016 alone 3,176 migrants are known to have died or gone missing in the Mediterranean.
“Black people are the first to die, not the first to fly, in this racist climate crisis.
“We note, however, that the UK is willing to charter special flights to remove black people from the country based on their immigration status.”
Speaking to BBC London, group member Joshua Virasami added: “The community where this airport is is a predominantly black community.
“In Britain, 28% of black people are more likely to be exposed to air pollution… being in closest proximity to the industries causing climate change.”
He added the disruption to flights was “a very small inconvenience when you think about the consequences for black communities daily” and the protesters would remain on site “as long as feasibly possible”.
Scotland Yard said it was investigating how the protesters got on the runway – including the suggestion that they swam across the River Thames or used a boat.