Climate protesters lay siege to London City Airport

LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) – A climate protester glued himself to a plane and another held up a flight with a speech on global warming on Thursday as campaigners tried to “occupy” a London airport near the capital’s global financial hub.

London police reported making more than 1,000 arrests over four days of protests by the group Extinction Rebellion, which have been staging a global effort stretching from Sydney to New York.

Their biggest British action to date saw hundreds try to lay siege of London City Airport in protest at its management’s expansion project.

AFP reporters saw uniformed officers carry or escort around 100 demonstrators from outside its main entrance.

One man in a brown business suit climbed over coils of barbed wire and onto the roof of the east London airport’s entrance before coming back down and being led away by the police.

An image taken from a live video feed on the Facebook page of climate change activists Extinction Rebellion shows paralympian James Brown lying on top of a British Airways plane at City Airport, London. PHOTO: AP

Dozens more staged a sit-in at the nearby train station during the morning commute.

“I decided to come and join them because I think they have a just cause,” pensioner Steve Phillips told AFP as around 100 campaigners rallied in the presence of dozens of police. “People are flying in and out, and the cost for the planet is unimaginable.”

A morning flight to Dublin was delayed by nearly two hours after a passenger got up to make a speech about the climate as the plane prepared to take off, airport and Aer Lingus airline officials said.

A London City Airport spokesman said the captain exercised his right to arrest the passenger under international flight safety rules.

Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor said “some interesting attempts” had been made to disrupt flights.

“One man had glued himself to the top of an aircraft,” Taylor said in a video message. “He has of course now been removed and our policing operation continues there.”

United Kingdom (UK) media identified that person as 2012 London Paralympic Games cycling bronze medallist James Brown.

“I don’t know how I got up here,” the partially-blind Brown said in a selfie shot atop a British Airways plane that went viral on social media.

“I don’t know how I’m going to get down again,” he said before turning off his camera.

Extinction Rebellion is spearheading a two-week global action that kicked off on Monday with partial shutdowns of traffic in cities around the world.