Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Flights were disrupted at London’s City Airport today by activists from the UK branch of the Black Lives Matter movement who occupied the runway at the airport. Inbound flights were diverted to either Gatwick or Southend while outbound flights from City experienced considerable delays.

The Metropolitan Police, who arrived at the airport at 05:40 local time (0440 UTC), gave a further description: “There are currently nine protesters on the runway at the airport. They have erected a tripod and have locked themselves together.”

Black Lives Matter activists claimed responsibility via their Twitter account, saying they intended to shut the airport down “to protest the UK’s environmental impact on black people”, claiming the “climate crisis is a racist crisis” and contrasting the “small elite” who fly from City Airport to the “migrants have died or gone missing in the Mediterranean”.

In a further statement from the activists, they contrasted the expansion plans at City Airport with the lives of poor people in the surrounding borough, Newham: “Recently London City Airport was given approval to expand its capacity, a move that consigns the local community in Newham to further deterioration of their environment. The average salary of a London City Airport user is €136,000 euros and 63% of them work in business, finance or other business services. It is an airport designed for the wealthy. At the same time 40% of Newham’s population struggle to survive on £20,000 or less. When black people in Britain are 28% more likely to be exposed to air pollution than their white counterparts, we know that environmental inequality is a racist crisis.”

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