Solidarity with the ‪#‎Heathrow13‬: climate defence is not an offence

Thirteen activists who occupied the northern runway at Heathrow last summer in protest against airport expansion have been told by a judge to expect prison sentences. We send our solidarity to the brave protestors.

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The Plane Stupid activists who blocked Heathrow’s north runway for six hours on 13 July 2015 were convicted of aggravated trespass yesterday (25 January). Judge Wright told the #Heathrow13 that it is “almost inevitable that you will all receive custodial sentences”. Sentencing will be on 24 February.

In their words, the #Heathrow13 took action because “Climate change and air pollution from Heathrow are killing people now, and the government’s response is to spend millions making the problem bigger.”

During the trial, the judge refused to hear evidence from six of the ten defence witnesses, and refused to allow any of them to appear in court. This included evidence from local MP John McDonnell on the harm that Heathrow emissions were already causing to his constituents, and the damage to them and everyone else that would be caused by expansion. Evidence from Green Party mayoral candidate Sian Berry and environmental writer George Monbiot was also refused.

Demonstration outside Uxbridge Magistrates Court during the #Heathrow13 hearing

Judge Wright said she hoped “the court process has not been used as a political platform”. But she knows full well that the aviation industry and carbon capitalists more broadly see trials such as this as a platform to intimidate climate activists who oppose them. Heathrow gloated “Anyone who breaks the law and interferes with the safe and smooth operation of the airport can expect full prosecution under the law.”

Judge Wright picked her side. But the #Heathrow13 heroes have bravely shown that governments and corporations must expect resistance as they continue to fuel climate catastrophe. Airport expansion isn’t safe, and its progress will not be smooth. Solidarity to the #Heathrow13.

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