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black lives matter protest
via @ukblm / Twitter

Black Lives Matter storm runway at London City Airport

‘Black people are the first to die, not the first to fly, in this racist climate crisis’

Nine Black Lives Matter demonstrators stormed London City Airport this morning, to protest the deadly effects of climate change across the UK and sub-Saharan Africa.

The occupation, which began at 5.40am today, saw the group chain themselves together and lie across the runway. According to reports, the demonstrators managed to bypass security by floating across the docks on rubber dinghies. All nine have now been arrested, following five hours of police negotiations. 

In a statement, the group revealed that they were protesting the “racist climate crisis”.

“The average salary of a London City airport user is €136,000 (£113,814),” read a statement from the group. “It is an airport designed for the wealthy. At the same time, 40 per cent of Newham’s population struggle to survive on £20,000 or less.”

“By 2020 there will be 200 million climate refugees globally. Whilst at London City airport a small elite is able to fly, in 2016 alone 3,176 migrants are known to have died or gone missing in the Mediterranean, fleeing conditions that they did not create because cheaper, easier and most importantly, safer avenues have been blocked by the UK and other European countries. Black people are the first to die, not the first to fly, in this racist climate crisis.”

The airport is now experiencing extreme delays as a result of the action.

A spokesperson for Black Lives Matter UK, known as Alex, told Dazed the group were “happy” with how the demonstration was going. “There is a risk of pigeonholing BLM as only (about) death in police custody – which obviously is a really big issue – but when we say ‘Black Lives Matter’ we mean All Black Lives,” she explains. “There are many different ways in which the same system oppresses black and brown people.”

“This particular strategy actually means that it’s impossible for the media, for the general public to look away,” she added. “It’s really great to be able to bring light to this.”