Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Occupy protester 'banned' from flight home for Christmas

  • @kevinJrawlinson

A member of the Occupy London protests was stopped from boarding his flight home for Christmas after he was found carrying anarchist literature, it has been claimed.

The demonstrator, who is part of the group occupying the empty UBS building dubbed the "Bank of Ideas", said he was told he would not be allowed on the Ryanair flight to Malaga because the pilot feared he might distribute leaflets and "upset other passengers".

John Charles Culatto, 34, claimed he was approached by police at Bristol International Airport who told him they had seen him "acting suspiciously" on the airport's CCTV system when he stopped to talk to fellow travellers.

He said he went to airport security an hour before his flight was due to depart, where staff found posters in his bag linked to the anarchist group Crimethinc and refused to allow him through until they had contacted the airline. He claimed he overheard security staff who were examining his luggage using the word "terrorism".

When he finally got to the boarding gate, he claimed he was prevented from boarding by staff. Mr Culatto said: "[I was told] that because of the very remote possibility I could distribute leaflets on the plane and upset people, the captain had decided not to take me aboard."

A spokesman for Servisair, which manages the departure gates, said Mr Culatto was stopped because he arrived at the gate after it closed because of the time it took to clear security. He said the decision not to allow him to fly was taken by the airline.

Ryanair called the allegations "complete and utter rubbish".

A spokesman for Avon and Somerset Police confirmed that "a 34-year-old man was delayed by airport security". He said: "We sent some officers at the airport's request but they were not required."