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Police drag Extinction Rebellion campaigners away from London City Airport

Scores of police officers descended on London City Airport today as flight passengers braced for chaos with Extinction Rebellion climate activists set to unleash a three-day Hong Kong-style protest.

Police arrested three people before the demonstration was even due to begin at 9am as video footage showed people involved in the ‘Fly Today, No Tomorrow’ protest being dragged away by officers.

Passengers arriving for flights were not allowed to enter the terminal without showing their boarding cards first, after XR protesters declared they would occupy and shut down the airport in East London.

Witnesses reported ‘an extraordinary number of police officers’ at the terminal as demonstrators try to emulate protesters who cancelled more than 1,000 flights as they condemned police brutality in Hong Kong.

Meanwhile Scotland Yard said they are unable to confirm how many demonstrators are being held in cells across the capital after the force said they had made more than 1,000 arrests in just three days.

The Prime Minister’s father Stanley Johnson has backed the tactics of the protesters. Mr Johnson Snr was asked if he supports the demonstrators occupying streets and their plans to chain themselves to parts of the airport.

Police arrest Extinction Rebellion protesters at London City Airport this morning ahead of the activists’ planned shutdown

Police await the arrival of Extinction Rebellion protesters at London City Airport outside the DLR station this morning

Police await the arrival of Extinction Rebellion protesters at London City Airport outside the DLR station this morning

Police officers look at Extinction Rebellion activists protesting about climate change at London City Airport this morning

Police officers look at Extinction Rebellion activists protesting about climate change at London City Airport this morning

Passengers walk into the London City Airport terminal building this morning ahead of the planned XR demonstration

Passengers walk into the London City Airport terminal building this morning ahead of the planned XR demonstration

A police van waits outside the London City Airport terminal today ahead of what could be a 'Hong Kong-style' shutdown

A police van waits outside the London City Airport terminal today ahead of what could be a ‘Hong Kong-style’ shutdown

‘I think we’ve got to take a fairly relaxed view on this,’ he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. ‘I don’t think many of them are breaking the law. I believe that they are wedded to non-violence, to peaceful protest.’

He insisted that the crisis is one thing that unites the family, whose views over Brexit range wildly. ‘If there’s an issue that does unite us, I would say it’s this environmental issue, climate change,’ Mr Johnson said.

Overnight, dance music duo Orbital played a DJ set to crowds of flag-waving environmentalists in Trafalgar Square amid claims that police were running out of cells in which to hold those they had detained since Monday. 

Guardian journalist Damien Gayle tweeted from the scene: ‘Bass and drum at Extinction Rebellion Trafalgar Square right now. I’m told that police have stopped arresting rebels ‘because they’ve run out of space in the cells’.’

The Met Police told MailOnline this morning that this is ‘not accurate’ but was unable to say how many of the 800 arrested were still detained. A spokesman for the force said: ‘The Met has not reached cell capacity.’

Flight passengers were not allowed to enter the City Airport terminal today without showing their boarding cards first

Flight passengers were not allowed to enter the City Airport terminal today without showing their boarding cards first

Security guards in place at City Airport after XR protesters declared they would occupy and shut down the airport

Security guards in place at City Airport after XR protesters declared they would occupy and shut down the airport

LBC journalist Rachael Venables said there were 'an extraordinary number of police officers' protecting City Airport today

LBC journalist Rachael Venables said there were ‘an extraordinary number of police officers’ protecting City Airport today

Teams of police officers descended on London City Airport this morning as flight passengers braced for chaos

Teams of police officers descended on London City Airport this morning as flight passengers braced for chaos

It comes a day after the Government took the extraordinary step of drafting in 500 officers from 43 other police forces in England and Wales as they try to round up the mob bringing chaos to the capital. 

Those arrested include 91-year-old veteran campaigner John Lynes. Illegal sites in Whitehall and Horseferry Road remain closed while police spend hours moving the activists to avoid injury and potential compensation claims. 

Circus performers joined in last night, draping themselves in red robes to resemble blood. Invisible Circus, a street performance group from Bristol, joined their ranks – adding their painted faces to the throngs on Downing Street.

With faces painted white, they wore clothing designed to remind everyone present of the blood that binds humanity together as police admitted they were being forced to neglect crime victims to patrol the protests. 

The protest group says its members intend to ‘peacefully occupy and shut down’ the airport’s terminal building from 9am this morning.

Extinction Rebellion protesters carry out an early morning protest at Trafalgar Square in London today

Extinction Rebellion protesters carry out an early morning protest at Trafalgar Square in London today

Extinction Rebellion climate change protesters carry out yoga today after the demonstration closed roads in Westminster

Extinction Rebellion climate change protesters carry out yoga today after the demonstration closed roads in Westminster

Activists say they will achieve this by lying, sitting or gluing themselves in front of the departure and arrival gates at the East London airport.

If they do not make it into the building, they plan to occupy the airport’s access road and DLR station. The latest protest is against the climate impact of flying and the Government’s ongoing support of airport expansion. 

Extinction Rebellion spokesperson Rupert Read said: ‘By non-violently shutting down this airport, in homage to the style of the Hong Kong democracy protesters, we are demonstrating the utter frailty of the transport systems that countries such as ours, unwisely, have come to depend upon.’

The group said hundreds of people have already signed up to take part in the protest, which will seem them ‘non-violently use their bodies’ to close the airport. It said those taking part are willing to risk being arrested to achieve their aim.

Dance music duo Orbital perform a DJ set at an Extinction Rebellion rave last night at Trafalgar Square in London

Dance music duo Orbital perform a DJ set at an Extinction Rebellion rave last night at Trafalgar Square in London

Orbital are pictured on stage in Trafalgar Square at an Extinction Rebellion rave last night as the protests continue in London

Orbital are pictured on stage in Trafalgar Square at an Extinction Rebellion rave last night as the protests continue in London

The Red Brigade group has hit the streets of London in the Extinction Rebellion protests at Trafalgar Square last night

The Red Brigade group has hit the streets of London in the Extinction Rebellion protests at Trafalgar Square last night

Benedict Cumberbatch is the latest famous face to have shown up at the Extinction Rebellion protests in London last night

Benedict Cumberbatch is the latest famous face to have shown up at the Extinction Rebellion protests in London last night

Cumberbatch is pictured speaking with protesters demonstrating for Extinction Rebellion in London yesterday evening

Cumberbatch is pictured speaking with protesters demonstrating for Extinction Rebellion in London yesterday evening

Sherlock star Cumberbatch poses for a photograph with the protesters last night who are camped at Trafalgar Square

Sherlock star Cumberbatch poses for a photograph with the protesters last night who are camped at Trafalgar Square

Hundreds of police officers are being drafted in from across England and Wales to help the Metropolitan Police with the protests, which are now in their fourth day.

Activists have been camped on rounds around Parliament Square and Whitehall since Monday calling for urgent action on climate change and wildlife.

The Metropolitan Police confirmed that 800 people had been arrested on Monday and Tuesday, with another 220 detained yesterday. 

Metropolitan Police deputy assistant commissioner Laurence Taylor said there are plans in place to intervene and ‘deal proactively’ with anyone who has the intention of shutting down the airport.

Police detain an Extinction Rebellion environmental activist outside the Treasury in London during the protests yesterday

Police detain an Extinction Rebellion environmental activist outside the Treasury in London during the protests yesterday

Tents at the Extinction Rebellion camp on Marsham Street in Westminster yesterday as the protests continue

Tents at the Extinction Rebellion camp on Marsham Street in Westminster yesterday as the protests continue

Nursing mothers with their children block Whitehall during the Extinction Rebellion mass 'nurse-in' road blockade yesterday

Nursing mothers with their children block Whitehall during the Extinction Rebellion mass ‘nurse-in’ road blockade yesterday

A London City Airport spokesman said they were working with the Met Police to prepare for the protests and all passengers would be required to show their boarding pass to access the terminal. 

Mr Taylor said yesterday that the scale of operation was having a big impact on policing in other areas of the capital. 

He said: ‘We haven’t stopped policing, we never will, but it does mean that some activities beyond the normal responses are affected.

‘We cannot spent the amount of time with victims we would normally because we have to make sure we are dealing with the protests. We are not at the level we would want to be… and police officers should be working in their communities.’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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