Tue, Aug 21, 2007 - Page 6 News List

Police, protesters clash at Heathrow

SKIRMISHES Activists fanned out to a handful of new locations around London yesterday to spread their message against global warming beyond the airport


Police try to release a climate change protester who glued and chained herself with a bicycle lock to railings at the entrance to BP headquarters in central London yesterday. Some 1,400 activists have been protesting since last week at Heathrow airport and other parts of London to raise awarness of the needs to address climate change.


Six people were injured and three arrested on Sunday night after clashes between police and climate change protesters near Heathrow airport. No disruption of the airport or major roads was reported, but skirmishes between more than 1,600 police and some 1,400 protesters continued into the night.

Protesters accused the police of using unwarranted force to contain them. Police with truncheons tackled about 100 protesters heading for the offices of the airport operator BAA.

Five people were treated by medical teams for head injuries."It was an unprovoked, unwarranted attack," one spokesman for the Camp for Climate action said.

The police said on Sunday night that no injuries to protesters had been reported but a policeman had been injured after being knocked from his horse. An activist was arrested in connection with the incident.

The activists fanned out to a handful of new locations yesterday, trying to spread their message beyond their camp at BAA's headquarters at Heathrow.

A small group of protesters set up a blockade outside a power station in Suffolk, Camp for Climate organizers said.

A spokesman for British Energy, which runs the Sizewell B plant, confirmed that a small number of protesters were there and said the protest was peaceful.

Police said protesters were demonstrating at the London headquarters of BP Plc. Authorities declined to offer a figure for the number of protesters.

Activists continued to protest outside the administrative offices of BAA at Heathrow yesterday.

BAA said 150 staff members at its administrative offices at Heathrow had been asked not to come to work while the protest continued.

The day of direct action began at noon on Sunday with a peaceful march to the center of Harmondsworth, a village which will be affected by the proposed third runway. It was led by people carrying a large sign saying: "We are armed only with peer reviewed science."

Speakers, including the Guardian columnist George Monbiot and Labout Member of Parliament John McDonnell addressed a crowd of about 300 locals and protesters from the camp. They used a microphone and amplifier powered by a stationary bicycle.

McDonnell criticized his government's policy.

"What we are here for today is first of all to say to this government there will be no third runway. We have been protesting about Heathrow for years. We have got our message across like never before," he said.

Trouble centered on the BAA offices 1km away in Bath road, where several hundred protesters tried to target aviation companies and lay siege to BAA's headquarters.

Using a mixture of carnival and theater, with people dressed as airline staff, clowns, monks, clergy and in business suits, they were mainly contained in the building's car park. Police brought in horses and reinforcements, but there was little disruption of traffic.

Protesters leaving the camp to try to get to the BAA building were met by riot police in a field of oilseed rape. Skirmishes continued for 40 minutes with the police chasing and eventually corralling more than 100 people into a circle. The protesters continued to sing and dance.

A combination of rain and the likelihood of being stopped on terrorism charges is thought to have limited numbers on the demonstrations to about 1,500 people. However, more than 300 local people marched to object to a third runway.

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