Extinction Rebellion postpone Heathrow drone protest

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Climate protesters held a demonstration outside Heathrow Airport on 19 April

A plan by climate protestors to shut down Heathrow Airport with drones on Tuesday has been postponed.

Extinction Rebellion had threatened to cause disruption by flying drones in June and July, in protest against a planned expansion of the airport.

On Friday, police warned those involved they could face a life sentence and urged campaigners to reconsider.

The group has confirmed its plans have been grounded adding the airport would “not have to pause any summer flights”.

Extinction Rebellion had been in talks with its members to stage a demonstration on 18 June and for up to 10 further days in July unless the government cancelled the expansion plans.

However, the group said the action had been called off.

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The sighting of drones brought Gatwick Airport to a halt just before Christmas last year

“The subsequent accusation that Extinction Rebellion was willing to endanger life is a depressing and predictable smear,” a statement said.

“Extinction Rebellion has not removed Heathrow Airport from its strategic planning,” it added.

Heathrow Airport called the potential action “reckless”, saying it “could endanger the lives of the travelling public and our colleagues”.

A spokeswoman added: “We agree with the need to act on climate change, but that requires us to work together constructively – not commit serious criminal offences.”

Media captionTens of thousands of passengers were disrupted in a drone attack at Gatwick Airport in December

Ten days of protests by Extinction Rebellion activists across London in April saw 1,130 people arrested for various offences.

  • Extinction Rebellion: What happened?

In December 2018, a “sustained” drone attack caused disruption for tens of thousands of passengers at Gatwick Airport.

Following the chaos, the government extended the no-fly zone for drones around airports.