When Climate Defense Becomes an Offense

January 26, 2016   |   Michaela Whitton

Michaela Whitton
January 26, 2016

(ANTIMEDIA) United Kingdom — For evidence that the British legal system has gone truly insane, look no further than the group of activists facing the threat of jail for standing up to the greatest threat humanity has ever faced.

The thirteen anti-Heathrow expansion activists from the group Plane Stupid — have been told to “expect jail sentences” — after being found guilty of aggravated trespass and unauthorized entry to the runway areas of Heathrow.

Showing their opposition to the environmental impact of the proposed third runway at the airport, the activists cut through a fence and ‘locked-on’ to each other on the runway in the early hours of July 13, 2015. Claiming the new runway will breach climate change targets and “benefit the rich,” the group chained themselves to a number of structures and unfurled a banner mocking prime minister David Cameron.

The action forced the cancellation of 25 flights.

Heathrow is the only airport in the U.K. to be located in an area known to have air pollution levels consistently above legal limits.The £17bn expansion will see an extra 250,000 more flights a year — in addition to the current 1,300 that currently take off each day.

Judge Deborah Wright referred to all the defendants as people of integrity, concerned about climate change and Heathrow expansion, but described the cost of the disruption as “absolutely astronomical.” The activists admitted to being on the runway but said the action was necessary to stop people dying from the effects of pollution and climate change.

In a letter to the Guardian earlier this week, the father of one of the protesters applauded her action. He referenced a famous scene from the film The Railway Children when three children avert a railway disaster by warning an express train of a landslide on the line.

He wrote: “We are, all of us, on that express train. We are all hurtling towards climatic disaster. We have been warned by scientists. The authorities responsible for the railway are fully aware of the dangers. The passengers know, and the train driver knows. And still the train roars forward at full throttle, oblivious, yet knowing. The Heathrow Plane Stupid protesters have tried again to warn us. They have stepped on to the runway, and they have waved their red flags. They have trespassed, and we should be grateful to them.”


This article (When Climate Defense Becomes an Offense) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Michaela Whitton and theAntiMedia.org.Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific. If you spot a typo, email edits@theantimedia.org.

Author: Michaela Whitton

Michaela Whitton joined Anti-Media as its first journalist abroad in May of 2015. Her topics of interest include human rights, conflict, the Middle East, Palestine, and Israel. Born and residing in the United Kingdom, she is also a photographer.

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