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Arrested 'Heathrow 13' climate activist speaks
The courts are making an example of climate protesters. 'Plane Stupid' activists face jail for demonstrating against third runway plans at London Heathrow airport last July. Melanie Strickland, one of the 'Heathrow 13', speaks in the Socialist.
On 25 January, myself and 12 others were convicted of aggravated trespass and being in a restricted area of an airport without permission.
We got onto Heathrow's runway by cutting the fence, set up a tripod and cage with temporary fencing, and locked onto it. We had taken extensive safety measures, and no-one was at risk because of the action. It took place less than a fortnight after the Airports Commission recommended a new runway at Heathrow.
We recognise that the destruction of nature is inevitable under capitalism. We took our action because climate change is already killing people and wildlife.
We are on the side of the living, and the side of future generations. We are neither heroes nor hooligans, as some have labelled us. We are just people that want justice for all.
Our action disrupted the UK's second biggest carbon emitter, and sent a clear message against airport expansion.
We need to dramatically reduce emissions from present levels. Obviously a project like Heathrow's third runway is incompatible with that. Aviation is already the fastest growing source of emissions in the UK.
We want to help build the sort of world that the celebrated socialist William Morris envisaged. People can live in harmony with nature, and have decent, meaningful jobs.
The judge told us to expect immediate custodial sentences following sentencing at Willesden Magistrates' Court, 9.30am on 24 February. Supporters are welcome to join us at court.
We do not want to go to prison. However, a few weeks inside seems a small matter in the context of our lives, when compared to the suffering of those directly affected by climate change.
We intend to come out of prison stronger and more determined than ever. The messages of support have been really encouraging, please keep sharing those.
In The Socialist 3 February 2016:
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