By Mashable/Evelyne Wareh
All flights out of London City Airport were disrupted when nine protestors who said they were with the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement locked themselves together on one of the airport’s runways Tuesday morning.
The Met Police were called to the scene at approximately 5:40 a.m. BST, and at present all of the activists have been removed from the airway and placed under arrest. According to the #BlackLivesMatterUK Twitter account, the demonstration aims to highlight the racial implications of climate change on both a global and local level.
The Guardian reports that a spokeswoman for BLMUK has confirmed that all nine of the protestors locked together are white, inviting criticism from some that these protestors are “appropriating someone else’s struggle.”
The UK strand of the BLM movement cites figures from the UNHCR that claim there will be 200 million climate refugees by 2050. Although the UK is the biggest per capita contributor to rising global temperatures according to these figures, seven out of ten of the countries most impacted by the environmental changes are in sub-Saharan Africa, leading to the group’s claim that “climate crisis is a racist crisis.”
The group also stresses the disproportionate impact that the pollution released by power plants, busy roads and airports in the developed world tend to have on low income communities such as Newham, where London City Airport is located and a large proportion of black and other ethnic minorities live. In a video, the UKBLM claim that black Britons are 28 per cent more likely to be exposed to air pollution than their white counterparts.
This BLM demonstration closely resembles the actions of a group called Plane Stupid, which in July 2015 saw 13 of its activists arrested after chaining themselves to a runway at Heathrow to protest the environmental risks associated with air travel.