Extinction Rebellion Courts 5 Year Jail Sentences By Closing Heathrow For 10 Days

Internal planning documents at Extinction Rebellion show that they’re thinking of trying to close Heathrow for 10 days this summer with the use of drones. The penalty for this sort of thing is, upon conviction, 5 years prison time. If they do it they should indeed be accorded that maximum sentence. And, given the way that “conspiracy to” laws work, so should all who aid them.

Because civil disorder is indeed an important thing.

Yes, it’s possible to argue that we shouldn’t be jailing those who would save us from civilisation and the climate change it causes. But that is to miss the very point of that civil disobedience – to show that the cause is so important that people will risk jail in order to protest.

Extinction Rebellion activists are planning to “shut down” Heathrow Airport for 10 days this summer by flying drones near the airfield. The climate change activists vowed to stage demonstrations on June 18 and again for 10 days beginning on July 1, disrupting flights at a peak time for holidaymakers.

The argument is that a third runway will cause future climate change problems, therefore the demonstration is justified in an attempt to prevent that third runway:

‘On June 18, we plan to carry out nonviolent direct action to ensure Heathrow Authorities close the airport for the day, to create a ‘pause’ in recognition of the genocidal impact of high carbon activities, such as flying, upon the natural world. ‘If the Government does not cancel all Heathrow expansion, Extinction Rebellion will act to shut the airport down for up to 10 days from July 1.

Or as they tweeted:

The thing being, this carries a high potential sentence:

It was announced in January that police would be given new powers to tackle the illegal use of drones, after hundreds of flights at Gatwick Airport were disrupted by drone sightings in December. Last year the government made it illegal to fly a drone above 400ft (120m) or within 1km (0.62 miles) of an airport. The exclusion zone will now be extended to the current Air Traffic Zone around airports, which is approximately a 5km (3.1 miles) radius, with additional extensions from runway ends.

Endangering the safety of an aircraft is a criminal offence which can carry a prison sentence of up to five years.

The next question being, well, should they be prosecuted if they carry out the action?

Quite Obviously The Extinction Rebellion Protestors Should Be Prosecuted – All Of Them

We around here certainly think so, yes.

The other point being that this is also rather the point. It’s that very willingness to be prosecuted, punished for having protested, which lends weight to the protest. Without that illegality it’s just a stroll around London, isn’t it? Not a sign of your commitment to saving the planet. Not to prosecute devalues the very complaint itself.

Make Extinction Rebellion important, prosecute them all.

If they start the Heathrow drone thing, as they threaten, then catch them all – all of them, the conspirators as well – and jug them for those 5 years. The law is indeed the law, in all its majesty. And who doesn’t want to make housing in Stroud cheaper as the population is significantly reduced?

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Mr Womby
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Mr Womby

Could be useful practice for the start of the grouse shooting season later in the year.

Quentin Vole
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Quentin Vole

The main effect of a third runway will be to reduce the number of 747s and A380s circling over Bovingdon* and burning fuel while waiting for a landing slot. But consistency or logical thought aren’t something to be expected from ecoloons (or else they’d all be out campaigning for more nuclear power stations).

* alternative stacks are available

Shadeburst
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Shadeburst

The plural of Airbus is Airbi. Does anyone still operate 747s?

Quentin Vole
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Quentin Vole

BA have 34 (about half their peak number, cf. 12 A380s). Lufthansa have just bought some 748s (though they don’t operate into LHR, of course). 747s are on their way out, but it will be decades before the last one ceases flying.

Speaking of which, a Dakota just flew over my house. Practising for D-Day, I expect 🙂

thammond
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thammond

Do these people actually believe the “genocide” stuff or is this just their excuse for their demands that the world does as they want?

Leo Savantt
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Leo Savantt

If a drone brought down an aeroplane they could be looking at much more than 5 years (out in 2); indeed were than to happen a life sentence would not be unlikely nor undeserved.

Dodgy Geezer
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Dodgy Geezer

If I were plotting to close Heathrow with a drone attack, I would do this in secret, and certainly not announce it beforehand.

If, however, I just wanted to wrong-foot the establishment, get lots of free publicity, and cause a lot of airport disturbance due to knee-jerk reactions, all in perfect safety, then I would TALK about such attacks as often as possible, but not actually DO one…

Jonathan Harston
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Jonathan Harston

Hold on, isn’t disrupting transportation systems in a manner to shut it down a terrorist act? What the difference between this and partisans blowing up railway tracks in France and Arabia?