“The Climate Rush is a group of gallant women and intrepid men who will act now to save the world.” This is anarchism for the middle classes, or at least those that don’t want too much risk when out protesting. This group came to popular attention last year with a take-over of Parliament Square celebrating the centenary of the Suffragette Rush and campaigning in support of three demands: No new coal power stations, an immediate stop to all airport expansion, and 80% reductions in carbon by 2050. With number three ticked off, this group are about to tackle number two with a protest on Monday 12th January 2009, the day that MPs return to parliament.
When the Evening Standard reported this (18th Dec 2008) it was suggested that “the protest could emulate the sit-in at Bangkok airport that led to it being shut for several days.”
One source said today: "If there are only 50 of us I doubt it will stop the airport from running but if there are 500 of us that is a lot of protesters in the check-in area. If we are really successful, we could attract thousands down there and that would stop the airport functioning on the day."
So, what’s the plan?
Not quite the same as the boots and balaclavas of the anti-Stansted expansion special-forces. But the idea is similar. Go to an airport in some kinda costume, make a spectacle for the media and disrupt the normal operations of the airport.
Which will be fun! In the photos of the Parliament Square invasion, everyone looks like the are having a riot! Save the planet and have fun!
This is civil disobedience. “Civil disobedience on grounds of conscience is an honourable tradition in this country, and those who take part in it may well be vindicated by history” Lord Justice Hoffman
On the recent granting of bail to Climate Rush organiser Tamsin Omond, District Judge Michael Snow spoke of the need for ‘proportionality’ in civil disobedience cases, and his reluctance to refuse bail to someone who was “simply exercising her democratic right to protest”.
“The word ‘democratic’ is key here. The idea of democracy is perhaps the key to explaining why middle-class fathers and middle-aged ladies are donning sashes and chanting slogans all of a sudden.” – Hazel Cullen at Greenvoice
I’m looking forward to this. It’ll be interesting to see how The Climate Rush get on. It’ll also be a great test of the surveillance and policing of the public transport links to London and Manchester’s airports (climate change protesters wouldn’t drive, would they?) Can anti-terror police and airport security spot and intercept a potentially large number of people wearing concealed Edwardian dress and carrying hampers, heading to the airport? Or will 50? 100? 500? 1000? people be able to just walk right up and sit down to a picnic in the domestic departures area of two major airports? Imagine if all of the Campaign against Climate Change marchers, something like 7500, turned up at airports and just sat down…
“BAA is understood to have invited Ms Omond to talks to discuss the protest.” Perhaps BAA do feel threatened! Perhaps they think she’ll call it off if they ask nicely.