South-West Essex Fight the Flights Action Report, London, October 11th: As part of the Extinction Rebellion (XR) London Shutdown Autumn Rebellion fortnight, before 9am yesterday morning a dozen or so activists arrived to attempt to shut down LCA and stay for 3 days. They were soon joined by 100 re-inforcements but were met by a mass police presence of over 100 officers surrounding and trying to block the mall entrance and nearby in a well-planned operation which we bet they called “a ring of steel”.
As with the XR splinter group drone action at Heathrow recently, the action was pre-announced which gave the already high alert cops plenty of time to organise. Lesson to be learned there ;-p
Despite this and the cops’ mob-handedness they failed to prevent a group of activists from charging the doors and a few got inside, entering the lobby with the intention of locking-on and supergluing themselves to gates and the escalator but they were pursued and soon led/dragged out with some arrested. This led a good number of the protesters to move around the covered walkway and sit down in the entrance corridor from the City Airport Docklands Light Railway (DLR) Station, blocking any access to LCA.
Police were only admitting people with boarding passes and passports into the terminal and also upon the DLR Station being closed, onto buses from Canning Town Station. To much encouragement and chanting of “Fly Today, No Tomorrow”, two activists managed to climb up the covered walkway and over razor wire onto the terminal roof’s canopy, one cutting their hands in the process.
Two planes stopped by activists
LCA bosses claimed no disruption or delays had occurred. However, one plane was delayed by 2 hours by a “passenger” leafleting aboard whilst refusing to take their seat, delivering verbal safety information for travellers on their climate wrecking flight and the current extinction event caused by climate breakdown. It later emerged that UK Paralympic medallist James Brown, who is visually impaired, climbed on top of a British Airways jet which presumably caused some er…”delay”. He was removed and arrested for “causing a public nuisance”, joining around 50 others arrested on the day. Its alleged that an old school soul fan shouted “Get down offa that thing” but this was not confirmed. The site was cleared of protesters by police by late afternoon/early evening.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dick said his action was “reckless, stupid and dangerous” in an ironic piece of art prose compared to the Climate Emergency screaming at us. Police response to the XR protests have been fairly fluffy. Calling for support from other forces and new laws, whilst refusing to use until now (luckily) , some of the existing powers in the Public Order Act and Criminal Justice Act. Like her predecessor, she’s looked increasingly transparent using any failure to act (again luckily) to illustrate cuts in police numbers. Their current behaviour is in stark contrast to a decade ago when those under her command at the Camp for Climate Action/G20 Meltdown in Bishopsgate outside the European Climate Exchange carbon trading building; – where people were dragged along the road by their feet or hair, being beaten, with police dogs nipping and biting them, having deliberately waited untill dusk when CCTV is least effective, to clear the Camp’s tents with bulldozers and horses – with people still inside them!
£2 billion expansion plans to double number of flights
LCA are currently “consulting” on a “Master Plan” which has no basis in Planning Law but is a kite flying exercise for £2 billion expansion plans. Its going down very badly with the people of East London and some surrounding local Authorities who aren’t fooled. If and when a Planning Application is submitted, fully expect LCA bosses to plead: “We’ve listened to the people during our master Plan consultation and scaled back our plans to take account of their wishes,” or some such claptrap. LCA is used disproportionately by private jets, financiers and other members of the polluter elite. They want to:- Increase the cap from 111,000 to 151,000 flights per year – almost doubling flight numbers from around 80,000 p.a.; do away with the 24 hour weekend break; and have more early morning and late evening flights. LCA is in the heart of one of the most densely populated areas in Europe and not a suitable site even if it weren’t for our current climate predicament. 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.