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GP apologises for 'disruption' in Newham as Extinction Rebellion targets London City Airport

PUBLISHED: 14:32 10 October 2019 | UPDATED: 15:37 10 October 2019

The airport is being targeted to highlight the incompatibility of its planned £2bn expansion plan with addressing the climate and ecological emergency. Picture: Jon King

The airport is being targeted to highlight the incompatibility of its planned £2bn expansion plan with addressing the climate and ecological emergency. Picture: Jon King

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A GP who took part in Extinction Rebellion's attempt to shut down London City Airport has apologised to people in Newham.

Angela Wilson from Oxfordshire was one of about 100 activists who sat down in front of the entrance to the Royal Docks based hub in a bid to block travellers and prevent "business as usual".

Dr Wilson said: "This airport is symbolic. A lot of businessmen and wealthy people use it. We do not want to disrupt the general population.

Angela Wilson, a GP from Oxfordshire, is a member of Doctors for Extinction Rebellion. Picture: Jon KingAngela Wilson, a GP from Oxfordshire, is a member of Doctors for Extinction Rebellion. Picture: Jon King

"We're sorry if we've caused disruption to people in Newham. We don't want to cause upset to people in their daily lives. But we feel compelled. We have to do this. The science compels us."

The 49-year old added that the protesters' actions are not extreme and were targeted at the government, airport authorities and frequent fliers.

Paralympian James Brown lying on top of a British Airways plane at City Airport. Picture: Extinction Rebellion/PA WireParalympian James Brown lying on top of a British Airways plane at City Airport. Picture: Extinction Rebellion/PA Wire

One man managed to get on top of a British Airways plane at the airport. The man, identified by Extinction Rebellion as former Paralympic cyclist James Brown, was seen clinging to the fuselage in a video streamed online by the protest group.

Mr Brown, who is visually impaired, was arrested at Heathrow last month after a protest which saw some XR members attempt to fly a drone near the airport.

On actions taken to tackle the climate emergency, Dr Chris Newman, from Hackney, said: ""When future generations look back at ours, they will ask, 'Why didn't they do more?'"

Protesters chanted "Fly today, gone tomorrow" with some cable tying themelves together as they sat surrounded by officers from the Met and British Transport Police at the terminal entrance.

Some of the activists cable tied themselves together. Picture: Jon KingSome of the activists cable tied themselves together. Picture: Jon King

And they sang "Another world is not only possible, she's on her way" before officers started dragging them out through the DLR station to chants of "Police, we love you, we do this for your children".

A London City Airport spokesman said it was working with the Met to ensure the venue's safe operation, and that it remained open with 60 flights either arriving or departing by 9.15am.

There was a heavy police presence inside the DLR station and outside the terminal. Picture: Jon KingThere was a heavy police presence inside the DLR station and outside the terminal. Picture: Jon King

Travellers had been warned to check their flights before heading to the Hartmann Road hub.

Footage posted on Twitter shows an Extinction Rebellion protester aboard a plane to Dublin.

About 100 protesters blocked the way into the airport. Picture: Jon KingAbout 100 protesters blocked the way into the airport. Picture: Jon King

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It was grounded by a man on board who stood up to deliver a lecture on climate change just as the jet was due to take off.

Police carry protesters out of the airport. Picture: Jon KingPolice carry protesters out of the airport. Picture: Jon King

Andy Millward, who filmed the video, said: "We were disembarked but are now being loaded back on."

Two protesters climbed onto the roof at the entrance with one appearing to cut his hands on the razor wire stretched around it.

Since protests began in central London on Monday 800 people have been arrested. Picture: Jon KingSince protests began in central London on Monday 800 people have been arrested. Picture: Jon King

They attached a pink banner to the wire that reads "our fragile planet is dying".

The action, planned by Extinction Rebellion as a "Hong Kong-style" occupation of the terminal building, is due to go on for three days.

Sally Jenkins 38, from Pensford said she was protesting for her children's futures. Picture: Jon KingSally Jenkins 38, from Pensford said she was protesting for her children's futures. Picture: Jon King

City Airport is being targeted in a bid to highlight the incompatibility of its planned £2billion expansion with addressing the climate and ecological emergency declared by Parliament.

Activists claim the airport's growth plans and the proposed third runway at Heathrow will make it impossible to meet the government's commitment to not release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere by 2050, resulting in dire consequences for the planet.

Marguerite Paffard from Taunton and Tim Gunhouse from Wiveliscombe were escorted out of the transport hub. Picture: Jon KingMarguerite Paffard from Taunton and Tim Gunhouse from Wiveliscombe were escorted out of the transport hub. Picture: Jon King

City Airport says it is committed to playing its part in achieving "realistic plans to rapidly decarbonise".

The spokesman said: "London City Airport has already reduced emissions by 30 per cent over five years and we are committed to net zero carbon emissions by 2050, as well as working with partners on initiatives that will significantly reduce overall emissions related to aviation."

GP Angela Wilson and Dr Chris Newman from Doctors for Extinction Rebellion were among about 100 people who launched the protest by sitting in front of the airport entrance. Picture: Jon KingGP Angela Wilson and Dr Chris Newman from Doctors for Extinction Rebellion were among about 100 people who launched the protest by sitting in front of the airport entrance. Picture: Jon King

A total of 800 people have so far been arrested since protests began in central London on Monday.

Nurse, Ben Homfray, 53, travelled from Nottingham to take part. Nurse, Ben Homfray, 53, travelled from Nottingham to take part. "If we don't address climate change, the effect on people's lives will be far, far greater than someone missing a business meeting," he said. Picture: Jon King

Additional reporting by the Press Association.

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