The Name Really DOES Say It All...
They say any publicity is good publicity... but if the
protesters who closed one of London's busiest airports Monday hoped
their actions would attract sympathy for their cause, they were
BBC News reports about 50 members of "Plane Stupid" -- a climate
action group that, if nothing else, consistently lives up to its
name -- breached security at London Stansted airport early Monday
morning, gained access to the ramp area and occupied a secure area
near the runway for about two hours.
The group's actions resulted in 56 cancelled Ryanair flights
before the runway reopened at 0810 Greenwich Mean Time. "[The
protesters] were unable to get to the runway, and a second wave of
protest was stopped at the fence," said Nick Barton, BAA's
commercial director at Stansted.
Ryanair called the incident "unacceptable," and told stranded
passengers they needed to go home and rebook their flights...
adding that may be hard to do over the next couple days, as the
airline struggles to handle the domino effect from the protesters'
Many of the protesters chained themselves together, forming a
human barricade. One of the participants in the protest said her
group used bolt cutters to gain access to the airfield while
Stansted's runway was closed overnight for maintenance.
Lily Kemper, 21, told BBC Radio she was "incredibly apologetic"
for the inconvenience her group caused, but added she believed the
ends justified the means. "The effects of climate change are going
to be monumental," she asserted.
"We're here because our parents'
generation has failed us and it's now down to young people to stop
climate change by whatever peaceful means we have left," said
another protester, whose name wasn't given. "We're afraid of what
the police might do to us, we're afraid of going to jail but
nothing scares us as much as the threat of runaway climate
Stansted has become a focal point for such protests since
October, when officials gave the green light to a controversial
expansion plan at the airport. Opponents claim the expansion will
only serve to increase levels of greenhouse gases and noise
pollution over London.
Given that such forms of protest are meant to call attention to
a group's cause -- and, by extension, to garner support for their
stance -- one may rightfully question Plane Stupid's tactics.
"It's disgusting. I mean, it's not only breaking all of the
safety rules, but it's disrupting everybody's lives," said
passenger Stuart Meacock, who had planned to fly out of Stansted
Monday to celebrate his first wedding anniversary. "I hope they
throw the book at them."
"I am all for fighting for our environment, but these kids have
failed already," added Jorg Tittel. "They are making thousands of