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Police warn of 'anarchy' at Heathrow

ANARCHIST criminals have joined hundreds of law-abiding protestors at the Heathrow Airport climate change camp, police claimed yesterday, as activists revealed plans for a major day of action this weekend.

Organisers said they were going to stage protests at the headquarters of the British Airports Authority (BAA) and Heathrow's Terminal Five construction site on Sunday, and also target the Royal Bank of Scotland by demonstrating outside NatWest's main city of London office, which is owned by RBS.

Blockades may also be set up and the Heathrow freight terminal besieged.

The Camp for Climate Action is protesting against BAA's plans for a third runway at Heathrow and pollution from the aviation industry.

The demonstrations spread yesterday to two small airports, with the blockading of Biggin Hill in Kent and Farnborough in Hampshire, and a total of ten arrests were made.

The escalation of the campaign came amid police warnings that experienced troublemakers - veterans of clashes at G8 protests, "Reclaim the Streets" demonstrations and anti-capitalist May Day marches - are looking for opportunities to confront the police.

Commander Jo Kaye, of the Metropolitan Police, said there had been a change of atmosphere in the climate camp.

"This change was because of the arrival of people who go back a really long way. Some of these people have 'Reclaim the Streets' heritage," he said.

"Some of them will go back to the days of the Liverpool dockers' march - not necessarily involved, but linked to it. If we frustrate them, then they will go in for confrontation because their aim is anti-state. We are talking about anarchists."

Assistant Commissioner Tarique Ghaffur said there are now around 600 people at the illegally-occupied site, close to the north perimeter of the airport.

With 1,200 officers policing the protest every 24 hours, there have been 21 arrests.

Climate Camp spokesman John Johnson, a 42-year-old lecturer from Brockley, said a number of actions for Sunday were considered by the group.

"The most preferred at present are the Royal Bank of Scotland, BAA and Terminal Five," he said. "The reason why we are considering the Royal Bank of Scotland at NatWest's headquarters is because of the companies they finance, mainly in the aviation, oil and gas industry.

"With BAA headquarters we would move the camp around it. None of these plans will impact on holidaymakers."

At Biggin Hill, a 19-year-old protester from Scotland, who gave her name as Sophie,

said: "Aviation is one of the fastest contributors to climate change and nothing's being done."

• THE climate camp protest is persuading more business and first-class travellers to turn to private jets, according to reports yesterday.

One jet charter company said there had been a 15 per cent increase in first-time private bookings this week.

Twinjet managing director John Keeble said wealthy passengers were seeking to bypass any delays to their journeys.

"Fear of disruption from this climate camp protest has led to some Heathrow travellers turning to our services," he said.

"Heathrow's recent problems have already been good for our business, but this protest and the threat of disruption appears to be the final straw.

"Our bookings are up against the corresponding week last year, with our new customers citing the concerns over possible disruption as a key factor. These are passengers who would normally book in a scheduled airline's first-class cabin, for whom comfort, reliability and time are key factors."

Leo Murray, a spokesman for the campaign group Plane Stupid, said: "While the rest of us are changing our lightbulbs and trying to cut down on car journeys, the super rich are making choices which are emitting 60 to 80 times the greenhouse gases that would be if they made the journey by train. It is obscene."

 
 
 

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