An Extinction Rebellion protester was hauled off a flight at London City Airport after refusing to take his seat as it was due to take off.
The Aer Lingus flight was delayed for more than an hour, as climate change activists vowed to ‘shut down’ the inner city airport for three days.
In footage captured of the incident aboard the flight, the protester apologises repeatedly to irritated fellow passengers and refuses a cabin crew member’s attempts to ask him to take his seat as he begins a lecture on climate change.
It comes on day four of the massive protests that have seen key roads and bridges blocked around London by eco protesters who are pledging to camp out for two weeks.
In footage of the incident posted on Twitter, one passenger can be heard asking: “How long are you gonna be mate.”
“I don’t wish to travel with you but I don’t wish to get off,” the protester tells air crew and passengers.
He adds: “I’m very sorry. I’m extremely sorry for the inconvenience.”
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“Well you’ll be thrown off by me,” another passenger can be heard telling him.
Passengers urge the activist, a middle-aged man clad in a long coat and spectacles holding a phone aloft, to stop his protest.
An air stewardess asks him to sit down.
He tells the plane: “I wish I could. Today there’s a protest at this airport…”
The passenger who appears to be filming cuts in: “Sorry, can you do us all a favour and remove him from the plane.”
Another passenger shouts: “Sit down and do it we need to move.”
He manages to deliver a short protest statement on the flight: “I’m extremely sorry to disturb everybody here. We have two generations of human civilisation left if we carry on doing what we’re doing.”
Andy Millward, who was among those who filmed footage of the incident, told Press Association: “We were disembarked but now being loaded back on.”
Passengers claimed their flight from London City airport to Dublin was grounded after a climate change protester abroad the plane.
Pictures show police boarding the plane and escorting the man off.
The flight was due to depart at 9.40am, but instead departed at 11.16am following the incident and will land just over an hour later than it was originally scheduled, the airline confirmed.
Aer Lingus said: “Aer Lingus can confirm that a passenger scheduled to travel on EI283 flight from London City to Dublin airport was removed from the flight due to disruptive behaviour on board.
“The safety and security of our guests and crew is our number one priority and as a result, a full security check of the aircraft was completed prior to the flight departing.
“The flight departed at 11.16am and is scheduled to arrive in Dublin at 12.37pm. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.”
The airport referred a request for comment to the Met Police.
- Newsnight political editor Nicholas Watt tweeted: “On runway and about to take off when smartly dressed man in late middle age stood up with iPhone to deliver lecture on climate change up and down aisle.”
“Cabin crew calmly and very politely asked protestor to resume his seat. Politely but persistently he declined and proceeded to deliver his lecture on climate change in aisle. Some passengers annoyed, others listened to lecture with humour as cabin crew alerted pilot.
“Plane was at the end of runway. So the pilot taxied back to gate where plane was met by throng of police. They came on board and escorted the protestor off the plane. No skirmish and protestor left the plane.”
Extinction Rebellion climate activists have packed out the area outside the terminal and City’s DLR station this morning in a peaceful protest bid to ‘shut down’ the airport for three days.
Passengers have been seen struggling to get their suitcases through the blockade, as a heavy police presence tries to keep the activists at bay.
Earlier protesters managed to elude the airport terminal roof’s barbed wire defences and clambered up.
In footage of the protesters one activist in a brown suit he can be heard shouting “shut this airport down” from the roof as protesters and police look on.
Police earlier said 800 people have been arrested so far this week.
The Met has had to call in 43 other police forces from England and Wales to deal with the scale of the climate demonstrations.
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The activists have so far ignored police requests to restrain their demonstrations to Trafalgar Square only, staging often elaborate demonstrations around the capital.
Earlier in the week they blocked Westminster and Lambeth Bridges, performing yoga, attempting to build a house, and even holding a wedding as they occupied the major central London throughfares.
The Met have yet to update today’s arrest figures.
However reports say arrests have been made at the airport this morning amid the day’s protests.