Extinction Rebellion activists plan to shut down London City Airport on Thursday. Picture: Isabel Infantes/AFP
Extinction Rebellion activists plan to shut down London City Airport on Thursday. Picture: Isabel Infantes/AFP

‘Idiots’: Fury at activists’ London plot

CLIMATE action group Extinction Rebellion has been panned online after announcing a plot to "occupy and shut down" a London airport to demand government action on the climate crisis.

The group plans to "close" London City Airport, in the city's east, inspired by protests at Hong Kong International Airport in August that led to hundreds of flights being cancelled and thousands of travellers interrupted.

"The Fly Today, No Tomorrow action will involve a 'Hong Kong style' occupation of the terminal building, lying, sitting or glueing-on in front of the departure and arrivals gates," Extinction Rebellion said in a statement.

 

 

"Hundreds of participants have already signed up to nonviolently use their bodies to close the airport, and are willing to sacrifice their liberty to achieve this aim."

It comes as dozens were arrested in Melbourne this morning as Extinction Rebellion protesters interrupted the city for a fourth day in a row.

 

Activists from Extinction Rebellion in a protest in Melbourne where some protesters glued themselves to the road. Picture: AAP/David Crosling
Activists from Extinction Rebellion in a protest in Melbourne where some protesters glued themselves to the road. Picture: AAP/David Crosling

 

The group said it was targeting London City Airport because the airport was planning a $3.64 billion expansion. The airport's website says it has started an $873 million project to quadruple the size of its only terminal, AFP reported.

But people have pointed out the "reckless" and "self-serving" nature of the airport protest after Extinction Rebellion tweeted its plans.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

London City is the fifth-biggest airport in London and is popular with business travellers, bankers and politicians on short-haul and regional flights. Some 18,000 passengers are due to fly on 286 scheduled flights on the day of the protest, according to Reuters.

London City Airport is working with police as it braces for the protests.

"Our shared priority is the safe operation of the airport and to minimise disruption for passengers using the airport over the coming days," an airport spokesman said.

Extinction Rebellion, a year-old group supported by climate poster child Greta Thunberg, wants governments to adopt policies to cut harmful emissions to a net level of zero by 2025.

 

An activist from Extinction Rebellion in a protest during the group’s ‘Spring Rebellion’ in Melbourne on Thursday. Picture: AAP/Erik Anderson
An activist from Extinction Rebellion in a protest during the group’s ‘Spring Rebellion’ in Melbourne on Thursday. Picture: AAP/Erik Anderson

"Air travel is an icon of our fragile 'just-in-time' economic system. That system will break, as climate chaos hits," group spokesman Rupert Read said in a statement.

"By nonviolently shutting down this airport … we are demonstrating the utter frailty of the transport systems that countries such as ours, unwisely, have come to depend upon."

 

Extinction Rebellion protesters in London have been inspired by the fiery protests held at Hong Kong’s international airport during pro-democracy demonstrations there. Picture: Anthony Kwan/Getty Images
Extinction Rebellion protesters in London have been inspired by the fiery protests held at Hong Kong’s international airport during pro-democracy demonstrations there. Picture: Anthony Kwan/Getty Images

 

The planned shutdown on Thursday at 8am (7pm AEDT) follows protests in London where more than 500 people were arrested in the first two days, London police said.

Extinction Rebellion has carried out multiple rallies as part of a two-week global campaign.

 

Extinction Rebellion activists near Downing Street in London on Wednesday. Picture: AP/Frank Augstein
Extinction Rebellion activists near Downing Street in London on Wednesday. Picture: AP/Frank Augstein