UK Eco-Terrorists Face Prison Time For Barricading Heathrow Airport Runway

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Chris White Tech Reporter
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Activists who tethered themselves to barriers at Heathrow Airport last July will likely become the first global warming protesters to be jailed by the U.K. government, despite having support from British politicians and green activists.

The activists dubbed the “Heathrow 13” in the media, sliced through a fence and blocked a runway at Britain’s airport last July. They locked arms across the runaway, prompting flight delays until police removed them — one of the protestors wore a polar bear outfit.

The demonstration caused 25 flights to be cancelled.

The Heathrow 13 were convicted in January of trespassing and entering a restricted area — a district judge consequently warned they would likely be issued prison sentences.

UK Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, a longstanding opponent of the Heathrow airport’s expansion, said the airport protesters were “motivated by best motives.”

He added: “We are fearful that the Heathrow 13 may receive a custodial sentence which frankly, I think, would be a disgrace … It is in the tradition of this country over centuries that people have taken direct action of this sort and it should not be one which receives a custodial sentence.”

Green Member of Parliament Caroline Lucas told The Guardian Wednesday that it would “be utterly unwarranted” to send the group to prison.

“They took a principled and non-violent stand against the colossal environmental cost of expanding an airport that already breaches air pollution laws – yet they’re being treated as if they are somehow a danger to society,” she said.

Lucas added: “The real dangers we face are the toxic fumes emitted by airports and the looming threat of catastrophic climate change. Sending these committed activists to jail would be deeply unjust.”

Heathrow’s CFO Michael Uzielli, told reporters the airport believes in free expression and the right to protest, but such things should not happen on a busy airport tarmac.

“They broke through the fence and entered the live runway, and if you do break the law there are going to be consequences,” he added.

The group of protesters, ranging in age from 22 to 67, argued during the trial that their actions were reasonable and necessary to avoid the air pollution and climate change created by airplanes.

“Climate change is the real injustice, with the majority of the world’s population, those in the global south, being the ones who continue to be most affected,” the statement reads.

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