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Climate Activists Found Guilty of Trespassing at LHR, Custodial Sentences “Almost Inevitable”

Protesters demonstrating against climate change on London Heathrow Airport runways could face up to three months in prison.

A group of 13 protesters could face prison time after disrupting flights at London Heathrow Airport (LHR) during a 2015 climate change demonstration. The Guardian reports the group, members of an organization known as “Plane Stupid” were found guilty of trespassing at the conclusion of their trial.

The protesters were accused of cutting through a perimeter fence at LHR early in the morning of July 13, 2015, before chaining themselves together across a runway. The group demonstrated against the proposed addition of a third runway to London’s busiest airport, claiming the additional traffic would create environmental havoc for those living nearby. As a result of their actions, 25 flights were canceled, creating a ripple effect of delays around the world.

In handing down the verdict, presiding judge Deborah Wright called the cost of the protest “absolutely astronomical” due to the problems their demonstration ultimately caused. Additionally, Wright noted to the group that their actions were so serious, it would be “almost inevitable that [the demonstrators] will all receive custodial sentences.”

Reaction to the verdict was mixed on both sides. While the police and executives at LHR praised the decision, groups like Greenpeace UK decried the guilty verdict and near promise of prison sentencing.

“We welcome today’s verdict,” a spokesperson for the airport told The Guardian. “Anyone who breaks the law and interferes with the safe and smooth operation of the airport can expect full prosecution under the law.”

In a statement on their website, Plane Stupid called the sentencing an “extraordinary day” for their cause. “Today’s judgement demonstrates that the legal system does not yet recognize that climate defense is not an offence,” the group of 13 protesters said in a press release. “We took action because we saw that it was sorely needed.”

The group will return to court on February 24 for sentencing. According to Plane Stupid, each protester faces up to three months in prison.

[Photo: Plane Stupid]

Comments are Closed.
AAJetMan January 28, 2016

These people help me understand what the president and others mean when they say that climate change is an iminent threat. These people are dangerous.

SarcasticMisanthrope January 27, 2016

Yes, they are "plane stupid". Oy vey.