Climate protesters shut down London airport (briefly)

If you’re familiar with Extinction Rebellion you probably already know that they are a radical climate change protest group. This week they’ve been holding demonstrations in a number of cities around the world. Well… “demonstrations” probably isn’t the correct word. They’re engaged in acts of illegal disruption, shutting down highways, airports and other infrastructure.

They’ve been especially active in London. This report from the BBC details how they attempted to shut down London City Airport and managed to do it for a brief period. The number of arrests is already nearing one thousand.

BBC Newsnight’s Nicholas Watt said his flight was about to take off when a protester refused to resume his seat.

Police arrested several people blocking the airport entrance as others glued themselves to the floor and one man climbed on top of a plane.

In Westminster, tents and protesters have been cleared from the roads leading to Parliament Square.

However, streets around Parliament and Whitehall remain closed to traffic, apart from cyclists, with a heavy police presence in the area.

It is the fourth day of the Extinction Rebellion climate change protests, which are taking place across central London and other major cities worldwide.

A BBC reporter managed to capture the disturbance on his flight on video and upload it to The Sun’s YouTube channel.

Intentionally delaying a flight by refusing to take your seat and holding everyone up until you’re removed the plane is one thing. Climbing on top of a plane is quite another. It would have been interesting to see what would happen if the pilots hadn’t noticed and just taken off anyway.

The bottom line here is the same as I’ve pointed out when American protesters engage in these same types of antics. The whole idea of holding a protest is to win support from other people who might not be aware of the cause you’re pushing. People at the airport are generally already stressed out enough and in a poor mood as it is. When you close down the roads required to reach the terminal or prevent their flight from taking off on time, you’re only going to enrage them further. The same goes for shutting down major highways or subway lines.

You can see the sort of response that this group is receiving just by reading some of the comments left on the video. One viewer wroteSelfish man putting everyone else out can’t stand ppl like this…would rather take a chance to make others miss this flight and maybe even a connecting flight because he wants to protest…glad he was arrested.”

Even people who might have been somewhat sympathetic to the goals of Extinction Rebellion are just going to hate them now. And when the subject of climate change comes up in the ongoing debate, they won’t remember your pamphlets about polar bears being stranded on ice floes. They will remember the white-hot anger they felt when they realized that they were going to miss their connecting flight to New York and lost an entire day of travel time.

Well done, lads. You’re really winning over the hearts and minds here, aren’t you?