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Thu, Apr 25, 2024

Arrests Made For Climate Protesters Breaching Security at BED

Climate Protesters Arrested for Invading Hanscom Field

On the morning of April 20, a protest by climate activists at Hanscom Field airport in Bedford, Massachusetts, led to the arrest of 20 individuals. The protesters, believed to be associated with the group Extinction Rebellion, were part of a larger gathering of approximately 25 people voicing opposition to the proposed expansion of the airport to include 17 new private jet hangars.

Massachusetts State Police spokesperson Dave Procopio reported that the demonstrators breached a security perimeter, prompting a response from state and local police forces. The Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) noted that the breach led to a temporary closure of the airport as a precautionary measure. Charges against the arrested individuals included trespassing and disorderly conduct.

Extinction Rebellion explained that their actions were a form of peaceful civil disobedience aimed at disrupting the operations of private jets, which they argue contribute significantly to carbon emissions. Activists reportedly entered the boarding areas of fixed-base operators and physically blocked aircraft, preventing them from moving onto the runway. Some protestors also positioned themselves around aircraft wheels and blocked facility entrances to impede jet traffic.

The protest highlights broader concerns about the environmental impact of increasing private jet services at Hanscom Field. Extinction Rebellion has criticized the expansion plan, suggesting it primarily benefits wealthy travelers and contributes to unnecessary carbon emissions. They cited an 18-month analysis indicating that the expanded services would mostly cater to short-hop flights to recreational and luxury destinations.

Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey, who has positioned herself as a climate ally, faces criticism from Extinction Rebellion for allegedly not maintaining her environmental commitments due to her administration's handling of the Hanscom expansion. Her office stated that the expansion project is undergoing environmental review and that they will closely examine the findings.

Following the arrests, all detained protesters either posted bail or were released on personal recognizance, with court arraignments scheduled for the upcoming week. Extinction Rebellion has vowed to continue their demonstrations at Hanscom Field, signaling ongoing tension over environmental issues and the development of airport infrastructure.

FMI: massport.com

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