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Heathrow protest: Belfast-bound flights cancelled as climate change activists chain themselves together on runway

By Staff Reporter

Published 14/07/2015

Police surround protesters occupying part of the runway at Heathrow Airport yesterday
Police surround protesters occupying part of the runway at Heathrow Airport yesterday

Flights from Heathrow to Belfast City Airport were hit yesterday when 13 climate change activists cut through a perimeter security fence and ran onto the north runway at Heathrow Airport.

The members of activist group Plane Stupid cut a hole in a fence at around 3.30am and lay down on the tarmac.

The demonstration caused delays for passengers around the world and 22 flights out of the airport were cancelled.

Louise Rogers (35) and Ciara Lalor (34) had their flight home to Dublin cancelled.

Ms Rogers said: "It's affecting an awful lot of people's lives.

"I'm not one bit impressed.

"They should be shot with rubber bullets."

Ms Lalor said: "They've disrupted so many people.

"They shouldn't be allowed.

"Get the fire engine out and hose them down."

A video posted online showed several activists - who were protesting against airport expansion - chained together and being spoken to by an officer.

Both British Airways and Aer Lingus fly from Belfast City to Heathrow.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: "At approximately 3.45am officers were alerted to a number of protesters who had made their way airside at Heathrow Airport.

"A small number of these protesters are believed to have chained themselves to a 'tripod'.

"There were 13 protesters in total on the north runway.

"All 13 protesters have been arrested on suspicion of Aviation Act offences and remain in custody.

"The Metropolitan Police and Heathrow will jointly review today's protest incident at the airport and make necessary changes to the security plan."

Ella Gilbert, one of the activists on the runway, said: "Building more runways goes against everything we're being told by scientists and experts on climate change.

"We want to say sorry to anyone whose day we've ruined, and we're not saying that everybody who wants to fly is a bad person.

"No ifs, no buts, no third runway." She added that the protest showed that "we mean it".

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