All flights were canceled at the London City Airport after nine protesters from Black Lives Matter U.K. chained themselves to the tarmac.
Police were called early Tuesday morning to the airport after receiving reports that demonstrators were blocking the runway — and hence preventing airplanes from taking off or landing — by locking themselves to a tripod. They had reportedly evaded security by using a rubber dinghy and even swimming to cross the docks.
The black rights group posted a statement saying this latest stance was taken to emphasize the negative environmental impact of air pollution on the lives of African communities all over the world.
“As the largest per capita contributor to global temperature change and yet among the least vulnerable to its deadly effects, the U.K. leads in ensuring that our climate crisis is a racist crisis,” the group said in a statement.
The group also posted multiple tweets stating how pollution negatively impacts sub-Saharan countries.
The UK is the biggest per-capita contributor to temperature change & among the least vulnerable to its affects. pic.twitter.com/Bb5SmKWyt6— #BlackLivesMatterUK (@ukblm) September 6, 2016
At London City Airport a small elite is able to fly, in 2016 alone 3,176 migrants have died or gone missing in the Mediterranean #Shutdown.— #BlackLivesMatterUK (@ukblm) September 6, 2016
By 2050 there will be 200 million climate refugees. Black people are the first to die, not the first to fly, in this racist climate crisis.— #BlackLivesMatterUK (@ukblm) September 6, 2016
They further said the planned expansion of London City Airport will consign the huge number of black people in Newham to further “deterioration of their environment.”
The airport caters to many bankers and business professionals due to its proximity to Canary Wharf in London Docklands. The black rights group said the protest also aimed to highlight the economic disparity of the users of the airport and the poor people who lived in the vicinity where it is based.
Police said seven out of the nine protesters were detained on suspicion of aggravated trespass, being unlawfully air-side and violating airport bylaws.
The airport has issued a statement regarding the incident.
We're currently experiencing disruption to all flights due to protestors at the airport. Police are currently on the scene.— London City Airport (@LondonCityAir) September 6, 2016
Disruption continues due to protestors at LCY, police are on site. We apologise for inconvenience, check with airline for flight status.— London City Airport (@LondonCityAir) September 6, 2016
Hordes of people awaiting their plane in seemingly never-ending lines expressed their disapproval over the protest.
Last year a record 4.3 million people used the airport.