Image credit: Plane Stupid
Runway Protesters Surrender to Avert Emergency
Ryanair's legal action against previous runway protesters doesn't seem to have discouraged the anti-aviation pressure group Plane Stupid, which yesterday occupied the runway at Aberdeen Airport. The protesters (who have previously occupied parliament) locked themselves to fencing and set up a mini-golf course - a reference to Donald Trump's nearby golf course development, which is believed to be a major reason for Aberdeen's runway expansion. According to the Guardian, the protesters surrendered after police informed them that a flight was about to take off to get a sick baby to hospital, though there was later some confusion whether this was the case:
Members of the Scottish branch of Plane Stupid had broken through the fence at the airport in the small hours and set up a mini golf course and a camp, using Harris fences and locks to build the small construction on one of the runways. They phoned and announced their presence to police and airport authorities at 3.30am this morning.
The police arrived and began negotiations, reportedly telling the protesters that the runway was needed for emergency medical treatment, including that of a small baby. The protesters, not wanting to put lives at risk, voluntarily unlocked themselves and went into police custody.
However, when someone from Plane Stupid made a call to the emergency unit of Aberdeen hospital, they were told by the press officer that the hospital did not know about any transfers this morning, and that they had their own helipad that they used for emergencies. Grampian police later confirmed that a flight had taken off to attend an ill baby.
Whatever one thinks of the rights and wrongs of such direct action, the spate of recent occupations has certainly highlighted how easy it is for determined groups of individuals, be they protesters or terrorists, to gain access to our airports. Not a comforting thought for those of us who do fly. Take a look at the video below to see just how easy it was for Plane Stupid to gain access: