Three people have been arrested after a protest at Stansted Airport, Essex, Central London, temporarily halted take-offs and landings on Tuesday, March 28. According to a report on BBC, police were called as a group entered a non-commercial runway and locked themselves in an aircraft.
The group calling themselves Stop Charter Flights – End Deportations were filmed holding up a banner and chanting on a pyramid structure placed under the wing of a plane. It was gathered that the protesters were trying to stop a charter flight which they claim was due to deport people to Nigeria and Ghana.
Speaking to newsmen, a spokesman for the airport said the runway was closed as a "precaution" but reopened hours later.
The spokesman said the protest involved about 10 people and took place in a remote part of the airport used by private operators, away from the passenger terminal or runway. This according to him, caused 23 incoming flights to be diverted to other airports, including scheduled arrivals from Naples, Cologne, Glasgow, Riga, Belfast and Bilbao.
On its part, Essex Police said that officers were at the scene and in the process of removing protesters from the aircraft, which was destined for Nigeria. Acting Assistant Chief Constable Sean O'Callaghan said police "quickly contained" the protesters in one area of the airport. "We continue to work closely with our partners and the airport authority as we are working to apprehend the protesters quickly and effectively," he said. He said three arrests had been made so far, but no more details were given.
The Stop Charter Flights – End Deportations group posted images of the protest on social media, including a photograph of people lying on the ground as they were surrounded by security staff and police. In a Facebook post they said the flight was due to "forcibly deport dozens of people to Nigeria and Ghana" but this has not been confirmed.
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