BLACK LIVES MATTOR PROTESTERS STORM THE RUNWAY AT LONDON CITY AIRPORT

London City Airport has been brought to a standstill by Black Lives Matter demonstrators who stormed the runway in protest against the UK’s ‘racist climate crisis’.
Flights in and out of the airport have been disrupted since 5.40am when nine protesters chained themselves to a tripod in the middle of the tarmac to ‘highlight the UK’s environmental impact on the lives of black people’.
In a series of claims about the protest, the group said black people are ’28 per cent more likely to suffer air pollution’ and that the airport was allowing a ‘wealthy elite’ to fly around the world while migrants are drowning in the Mediterranean. 
Despite the serious security breach, police spent five hours ‘negotiating’ with those responsible as they waited for ‘specialist resources’ to unlock them, causing chaos for passengers. 
Officers have now arrested seven people, although only two protesters have been successfully unlocked and removed from the site.
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Flights in and out of London City Airport were disrupted this morning after a group of Black Lives Matter demonstrators marched onto the runway and lay down on the tarmac (they are pictured above)
Flights in and out of London City Airport were disrupted this morning after a group of Black Lives Matter demonstrators marched onto the runway and lay down on the tarmac (they are pictured above)
Dozens of police officers were at the airport this morning in an attempt to move the protesters from the runway. Scotland Yard said it did not know how many officers were involved in the operation 
Dozens of police officers were at the airport this morning in an attempt to move the protesters from the runway. Scotland Yard said it did not know how many officers were involved in the operation 
It is understood the group of demonstrators managed to get onto the tarmac at the airport after using a 'dinghy' to sail across the Royal Docks. Police officers are pictured arriving on the scene early this morning 
It is understood the group of demonstrators managed to get onto the tarmac at the airport after using a ‘dinghy’ to sail across the Royal Docks. Police officers are pictured arriving on the scene early this morning 
Dozens of police officers are at the scene of the chaos at the airport. Although seven protesters have been arrested, only two have been removed from the runway 
Dozens of police officers are at the scene of the chaos at the airport. Although seven protesters have been arrested, only two have been removed from the runway 
It is believed the protesters breached the waters around the airport (pictured) by boarding a dinghy to reach the tarmac 
It is believed the protesters breached the waters around the airport (pictured) by boarding a dinghy to reach the tarmac 
Scotland Yard said the operation is continuing and that seven people are still locked together on the tarmac.
It is understood the group of demonstrators – who witnesses described as being ‘white and middle class’ – managed to get onto the site after using a blow-up dinghy to sail across the Royal Docks. 
The demonstrators are part of the British wing of a campaign set up in the US to protest about black Americans being shot by police – although the original branch of the group has never campaigned about climate change. 
Michael Twomey, who was due to fly to Malaga from the airport this morning, told MailOnline that passengers were baffled as to how the situation was taking so long to resolve.
‘I am sitting at City airport delayed with hundreds of other people. We are all asking the same questions, how can it take this long to remove a few people?’ he said. 
‘Why are we giving these ridiculous group of individuals the exposure they clearly desire? ‘
Mr Twomey, who works in maintenance in the building industry, added that the reasons for the protest are ‘ridiculous’. 
‘I am a normal working class person on an average wage so should I be penalised for booking a flight from city where, according to them everyone earns in excess of £100,000.’ 
 According to the protest group, the demonstration is to highlight the 'environmental impact on the lives of black people locally and globally'. One of the protesters is pictured on the tripod
 According to the protest group, the demonstration is to highlight the ‘environmental impact on the lives of black people locally and globally’. One of the protesters is pictured on the tripod
Flights are now being diverted to Southend in Essex and London Gatwick as police on the scene continue to 'negotiate' with the protesters. Although seven have been arrested, there are still two on the runway 
Flights are now being diverted to Southend in Essex and London Gatwick as police on the scene continue to ‘negotiate’ with the protesters. Although seven have been arrested, there are still two on the runway 
Scotland Yard have been on site since the protest began, but a spokesman insisted the demonstrators could not be moved until specialist teams arrived 
Scotland Yard have been on site since the protest began, but a spokesman insisted the demonstrators could not be moved until specialist teams arrived 
A police dingy is pictured sailing past aircraft at the airport as the protest closed the runway and caused flights to be delayed
A police dingy is pictured sailing past aircraft at the airport as the protest closed the runway and caused flights to be delayed
According to the protest group, the demonstration is focusing on the airport’s expansion plans, which they claim will favour the ‘wealthy’ passengers and ignore the local population of Newham.  
It said: ‘Recently London City Airport was given approval to expand its capacity, a move that consigns the local community in Newham to further deterioration of their environment. 
‘The average salary of a London City Airport user is Euro 136,000 and 63 per cent of them work in business, finance or other business services. It is an airport designed for the wealthy.
‘At the same time 40 per cent of Newham’s population struggle to survive on £20k or less.’
It added : ‘Our climate crisis is a racist crisis.’  
A series of tweets sent from the Black Lives Matter official UK account said London City Airport was an airport 'for the wealthy', despite 40 per cent of residents in Newham - where the airport is based - living on £20,000 or less
A series of tweets sent from the Black Lives Matter official UK account said London City Airport was an airport ‘for the wealthy’, despite 40 per cent of residents in Newham – where the airport is based – living on £20,000 or less

‘OUR CLIMATE CRISIS IS RACIST CRISIS’ : FULL STATEMENT FROM BLACK LIVES MATTER 

This morning activists in support of Black Lives Matter UK shutdown London City Airport in the London Borough of Newham. This action was taken in order to highlight the UK’s environmental impact on the lives of black people locally and globally.
As the largest per capita contributor to global temperature change and yet among the least vulnerable to its deadly effects, the UK leads in ensuring that our climate crisis is a racist crisis.
Recently London City Airport was given approval to expand its capacity, a move that consigns the local community in Newham to further deterioration of their environment.
The average salary of a London City Airport user is €136,000 and 63% of them work in business, finance or other business services. It is an airport designed for the wealthy. At the same time 40% of Newham’s population struggle to survive on £20k or less.
When black people in Britain are 28% more likely to be exposed to air pollution than their white counterparts, we know that environmental inequality is a racist crisis.
The UK’s impact on the environment is global. 7 out of 10 of the countries most affected by climate change are in sub-Saharan Africa.
By 2020 there will be 200 million climate refugees globally. Whilst at London City Airport a small elite is able to fly, in 2016 alone 3,176 migrants are known to have died or gone missing in the Mediterranean, fleeing conditions that they did not create because cheaper, easier and most importantly safer avenues have been blocked by the UK and other European countries.
Black people are the first to die, not the first to fly, in this racist climate crisis.  
The Metropolitan Police are investigating how the protesters managed to get air-side. 
Witnesses at the airport described how the protesters got onto the runway using a rubber dingy and swimming across the water. 
One told the Evening Standard: ‘They got onto the runway using a rubber dinghy from the dock.
‘They are on the runway surrounded by police. I’m not sure if they are chained together but they are huddled together.’ 
Pictures show them huddled together on the runway or lying down on the tarmac.  
A Scotland Yard spokesman said officers were called to the scene at around 5.40am to reports of a number of protesters who erected and tied themselves to a tripod.
Those at the airport said that most of the protesters appeared to be 'white and middle class'
Those at the airport said that most of the protesters appeared to be ‘white and middle class’
They have now arrested seven people on suspicion of trespass, being unlawfully airside and breaching London City Airport bylaws. 
They added: ‘Officers negotiated with the protestors and specialist officers arrived to “unlock” the protestors.
‘At approximately 09:30hrs officers started to arrest the protestors. So far seven people have been arrested on suspicion of aggravated trespass, being unlawfully airside and breaching London City Airport bylaws.
‘Of those seven, two have been removed from the runway. All those arrested will be taken to east London police stations. Work continues to remove the remaining protesters from the runway.’ 
Asked whether an investigation would be conducted into how the demonstrators were able to get onto the tarmac, the force said it would ‘deal with the protesters first and foremost’.  
Black Lives Matter, whose international movement was set up following the murder of black teenager Trayvon Martin in Florida four years ago, has carried out several demonstrations over the past few months.
The group brought the M4 – and other roads around the country – to a standstill in August in a co-ordinated day of action aimed to target those going on holiday and getting to work. 
During that day of action – which coincided with the fifth anniversary of Mark Duggan being shot dead by police in Tottenham, North London – protesters lay down in the middle of the road near Heathrow and brought trams to a halt in Manchester.
Activist chained themselves together to block the route to  Birmingham airports, while in the centre of Nottingham, four protesters lay across tram tracks.
Today, passengers vented their frustration at the disruption caused by the protest.
Passengers vented their frustration as they awaited for news over the protest, with flights in and out of the airport affected 
Passengers vented their frustration as they awaited for news over the protest, with flights in and out of the airport affected 
Passengers are pictured queuing at London City this morning after the Black Lives Matter protest caused delays and cancellations to flights in and out of the airport
Passengers are pictured queuing at London City this morning after the Black Lives Matter protest caused delays and cancellations to flights in and out of the airport
Passenger Casey Collins said customers were unaware of the protest until after 8am, and assumed the delays were related to IT glitches at Heathrow and Gatwick.
The freelance management consultant from Devizes in Wiltshire was supposed to be on a 7.35am flight to Luxembourg.
He said: ‘The board was saying all BA flights were on hold, and that there would be updates at 8am, so we thought it was a continuation of the problems at Heathrow and Gatwick with BA.
‘We then realised that things were more serious because all flights were being affected.’ 
He said passengers were offered refunds for cancelled flights, while delayed passengers were also given refreshment vouchers.
Fellow passenger Chanel de Kock said she was stuck for three-and-a-half hours upon arrival in London.
She said: ‘I wish the airport would tighten their security as it’s a bit worrying that people can access the runway so easily in the current state of our times, and also that the airport will be better at giving information to people at the airport.
‘It was absolute chaos and really badly handled by what I thought was my favourite airport.’ 
Luca Guala tweeted: ‘What a way to start holidays: Stuck at #Milan #Linate airport unable to reach @LondonCityAir due to closure.’ 
Simon Cartlidge said: ‘Stuck at City Airport due to protesters on the runway. Flights delayed – nightmare.’ 
Flights are being diverted to Southend in Essex and London Gatwick and disruption is expected to continue until at least 10am.
A spokesman for London City said on Twitter: ‘We’re currently experiencing disruption to all flights due to protesters at the airport. Police are currently on the scene.’ 
Following last month’s Black Lives Matter protest – which saw co-ordinated protests around the country – four people are due in court today court charged with wilful obstruction of the highway in Nottingham.
Today’s incident comes as British Airways passengers around the world face lengthy delays today after an IT glitch caused its check-in systems to malfunction.
  • Do you know the people involved in the protest or have you been affected by the demonstration? Email steph.cockroft@mailonline.co.uk 

HOW BLACK LIVES MATTER HAS GATHERED MOMENTUM IN BRITAIN AFTER SPREADING ACROSS THE ATLANTIC FROM US

Black Lives Matter dates back three years but has only gained momentum in Britain in the past few months after several high-profile protests on the streets of London.
The motto was founded in the US in 2013, but ignited when Michael Brown, 18, was fatally shot by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri.
That incident on August 9, 2014 was followed by other high-profile killings of black men and boys by police in other American cities including Baltimore and Cleveland.
The various shootings sparked racial tensions and weeks of protests in the US and beyond that evolved into a global debate about alleged disparities in policing.
The motto is believed to have been coined in 2013 when California-based activist Alicia Garza said on Facebook: ‘Black people. I love you. I love us. Our lives matter.’
She was angry that neighbourhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman had been cleared of murdering black teenager Trayvon Martin in Florida in February 2012.
Since then the Black Lives Matter protests have spread to Britain in solidarity with US police shootings and to highlight stop and searches in the UK and custody deaths.
Earlier this year, the protesters caused London’s Oxford Street to come to a standstill as they demanded justice for the killing of two black men by white US police officers.
Demonstrators holding banners saying ‘black lives matter’ and ‘no justice no peace’ marched on July 10 and stopped outside the American Embassy in Mayfair.
There, they chanted ‘hands up don’t shoot’ in reference to the killings of Philando Castile in Minnesota on July 6 and Alton Sterling in Louisiana a day before that.
That London rally came after two similar marches in previous days that halted traffic for four hours in Brixton and outside the Houses of Parliament in Westminster.
And on July 19 a water fight in London’s Hyde Park spiralled out of control and led to three people being stabbed as members of a crowd chanted ‘Black Lives Matter’.
But police said at the time that the violence was not related to the Black Lives Matter protests and was instead about people ‘committing violent acts of disorder’.
The British side of the movement, known as UK Black Lives Matter (UKBLM), describes itself as a network of anti-racist activists from across the country.
Maryam Ali, a founder of the Black Lives Matter chapter in London, is an 18-year-old sixth form student from West London who has never experienced police violence.
But speaking about her involvement to BBC News last month, she said: ‘Part of it is solidarity with the US. I have family in America, and I fear for their lives.
‘They could just been walking down the street and their lives could be taken away. But the UK isn’t innocent. There have been police killings here.’
And referring to the movement’s marches, she told The Voice last month, she said: ‘I think people forget that racism is a worldwide thing. It’s still very prevalent.
‘This is ultimately a cry for help… Sometimes people just focus on the now. It creates a buzz now, but in time you’ll forget it. We’re going to keep showing our support.’

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