Extinction Rebellion protests: Man climbs on to BA plane before take-off as climate activists occupy airport

The action marks the second time Mr Brown has been brought to the attention of police during the Extinction Rebellion protests

Vincent Wood
Thursday 10 October 2019 14:29
Extinction Rebellion protests: Man climbs on to British Airways plane before take-off as climate activists occupy airport

A climate change protester has climbed on to a British Airways plane preparing for take-off, as Extinction Rebellion activists seek to “shut down” London City airport.

Sources from the group have identified the activist as James Brown, an Irish paralympian in his early fifties who is registered as visually impaired and won bronze in the London 2012 paralympics for cycling.

Speaking into a live stream he said he was “scared of heights” but said it was “all about the climate and the ecological crisis – we’re protesting against government inaction on climate and ecological breakdown”

“They declare a climate emergency and then do nothing about it”.

During his time on top the vehicle he said he was “scared of heights”, occasionally pausing after becoming “dizzy”.

He closed the feed adding “I’m going to have to stop, I’m too scared”.

Mr Brown, who was banned from paralympic cycling for two years following a doping violation after not submitting a sample to the Irish official body, is believed to have climbed on top of the plane during boarding.

The fire brigade dispatched a cherry-picker crane to remove the man, draping an orange blanket over him as they lifted him from the top of the plane.

After being walked down the steps leading up to the jet, he was taken away by police.

A statement from the group’s official UK Twitter said: “James Brown, a blind Paralympic medal winner has bravely climbed upon a plane at London City Airport”.

“He wants the aviation industry to understand and act on the emissions they are causing and to halt further airport expansions. Well done, so brave.”

A second activist, who was filming Mr Brown, was arrested as she filmed the protest action on suspicion of aiding and abetting disruption of an aircraft.

An officer who apprehended the woman said she had helped the man to get on the plane and had “given him a ticket to do so”.

She has since been taken into custody.

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An airport spokesperson said: “We can confirm that a booked passenger that climbed on top of an aircraft at London City Airport has been removed.

“We are working with all partners to investigate, and ensure the safe and secure continuation of service.

“A number of protesters remain outside the front of the airport terminal and we are working hard with the Metropolitan Police to minimise disruption to passengers. As of 12.15PM, there were 55 arrivals and 58 departures.

“If you are flying to or from London City today, please check the status of your flight with your airline before travelling to the airport.”

The action marks the second time Mr Brown has been brought to the attention of police during the Extinction Rebellion protests.

Images from the group’s protest on Lambeth Bridge on Monday show the cyclist being apprehended by five officers working to lift him from his place of protest.

However Mr Brown is not the first to be arrested for directly disrupting flights as activists look to disrupt operations in the transport hub.

One man, who has not yet been named, halted a flight to Dublin after standing up on board – declaring “I don’t wish to travel with you but I don’t wish to get off”.

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