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Climate activists threaten to 'shut down' Heathrow Airport on Good Friday

PUBLISHED: 16:50 18 April 2019 | UPDATED: 16:50 18 April 2019

Climate activists surround a pink boat parked during an Extinction Rebellion demonstration at Oxford Circus  Picture: YUI MOK/PA WIRE

Climate activists surround a pink boat parked during an Extinction Rebellion demonstration at Oxford Circus Picture: YUI MOK/PA WIRE

Climate activists have threatened to "shut down" Heathrow Airport this Easter bank holiday weekend.

Airport officials are “working with the authorities” to deal with the threat of Extinction Rebellion protests, which could disrupt flights over the weekend.

The Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, said more than 1,000 police had been deployed to deal with each day of demonstrations in the capital, as he urged officers to use the “full force of the law”.

Scotland Yard has arrested at least 428 protesters amid ongoing demonstrations across central London – at Waterloo Bridge, Marble Arch, Oxford Circus and Parliament Square.

Cathy Eastburn, 51, Mark Ovland, 35, and Luke Watson, 29, were remanded in custody after they were charged over their alleged involvement in obstructing trains at Canary Wharf station on Wednesday morning.

All three indicated a not guilty plea when they appeared at Highbury Corner Magistrates' Court.

There was speculation Heathrow Airport would become the target for protests on Friday, with around 500,000 people expected to fly out for Easter breaks.

A Heathrow spokesman said: “We are working with the authorities to address any threat of protests which could disrupt the airport.”

Speaking after a briefing with Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick on Thursday, Mr Javid said: “Over recent days, commuters trying to earn a living have been unable to travel to work and businesses have been disrupted.

“Emergency vehicles have faced difficulties navigating the road networks and the demonstrations have put added pressure on police officers whose job it is to solve crimes and protect the public.

“Let me be clear I totally condemn any protesters who are stepping outside the boundaries of the law.

“They have no right to cause misery for the millions of people who are trying to lead their daily lives. Unlawful behaviour will not be tolerated.

“I expect the police to take a firm stance and use the full force of the law.”

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has written a letter to the Home Secretary about the increasing cost of policing a growing number of protests in London and is working with the Met to consider making a special grant claim over the current demonstrations.

Speaking from Waterloo Bridge, Dr Gail Bradbrook, a cofounder of the XR group, said demonstrators would continue to act despite the first people being charged over the disruption.

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