A partially-blind Olympic Paralympian turned Extinction Rebellion zealot caused a major security breach today by gluing himself to the roof of a British Airways jet as environmentalists stormed London City Airport.
Activists have also blocked the roads into the site in East London, shut down its Docklands Light Railway station and also stopped a flight to Dublin taking off as they unleashed a three-day Hong Kong-style protest.
The climate change activists say the man on top of the BA plane scheduled to fly to Amsterdam is James Brown, a partially-sighted former Irish Paralympian cyclist who was banned from athletics in 2016 for a doping violation.
Witnesses claimed he was boarding when he suddenly used the steps to shin up the side of the fuselage and onto the roof. A BA spokesman told MailOnline: ‘We are investigating what’s happened as a matter of urgency’.
Brown was arrested just last month over a foiled plot to fly drones over London Heathrow Airport to shut it down. The cyclist, who won bronze in London in 2012, was banned for two and a half years for a doping violation in 2016.
It comes only hours after a man forced an Aer Lingus flight to Dublin to turn around on the runway as he stood up and roamed the cabin while giving a lecture on climate change just before take-off. Angry passengers urged cabin crew to ‘do us all a favour and remove him from the plane’, with others telling him: ‘You need to sit down.’
Extinction Rebellion activist James Brown sits on top of the roof of a British Airways plane at London City Airport today’I’m scared:’ Man livestreams from on top of a plane at City Airport.
James Brown is seen clinging to the fuselage of the plane at City Airport today in a video streamed online by the protest group.
Mr Brown manages to get on top of the British Airways plane at the airport during the Extinction Rebellion protest today.
The Paralympian took part in the stunt today, one month after being arrested for allegedly flying a drone over Heathrow.
The man on top of the British Airways plane at City Airport today was identified by Extinction Rebellion as cyclist James Brown.
The man on top of the British Airways plane scheduled to fly to Amsterdam is James Brown, a partially-sighted cyclist.
Fire crews cover the man in a sheet before removing him from the British Airways plane at London City Airport today.
Emergency services use a cherry picker to try to remove an Extinction Rebellion protester on top of the BA plane today.
Brown is a partially-sighted former Irish Paralympian cyclist who was banned from athletics in 2016 for a doping violation.
Fire crews put a sheet over Brown as they try to get him down from the British Airways plane at City Airport today.
The man on the BA plane at City Airport has been identified by Extinction Rebellion as former Paralympic cyclist James Brown.
The major security breach comes as passengers arriving for flights had to show their boarding cards before entering the terminal, after XR protesters declared they would occupy and shut down the airport in East London.
Witnesses reported ‘an extraordinary number of police officers’ at the terminal as demonstrators try to emulate protesters who cancelled more than 1,000 flights as they condemned police brutality in Hong Kong.
Viewers of a video of the incident said it could have been far worse, with one tweeting: ‘This is a major breach of airport security. Lucky he was only an eco-preacher not a terrorist. Things would have been very different.’
Police had arrested 12 people with the demonstration just 30 minutes old this morning after it began at 9am as video footage showed people involved in the ‘Fly Today, No Tomorrow’ protest being dragged away by officers.
Around 150 protesters were sitting in the road outside the terminal by lunchtime – chanting and blocking all traffic in and out of the airport, as police moved in to arrest them one by one for alleged public order fences.
An activist, dressed in a suit, gestures after scaling the roof above the entrance to London City Airport this morning.
Extinction Rebellion protesters with bicycles block a roundabout near London City Airport during the demonstration today.
Police officers arrest an activist at London City Airport during the fourth day of demonstrations by the group today Extinction Rebellion block road and sing ‘climate justice now’.
Police officers stand guard as Extinction Rebellion demonstrators block an entrance at City Airport in London today.
Extinction Rebellion protesters with bikes block a roundabout during a demonstration near London City Airport today.
A protester is removed by police as climate change action group Extinction Rebellion stage a protest at City Airport today.
: A protester is removed by police during the Extinction Rebellion demonstration at London City Airport this afternoon.
Police officers cut the locks of Extinction Rebellion protesters during a demonstration near London City Airport today.
A man is removed by police officers after activists staged a ‘Hong Kong style’ blockage at City Airport today.
A police officer checks on an Extinction Rebellion protester with bikes as they block a roundabout at City Airport today.
A protester is removed by police as climate change action group Extinction Rebellion stage a protest at City Airport today
Conservative MP David Davies told MailOnline he was ‘deeply concerned’ by Extinction Rebellion, adding: ‘We are allowing a few thousand people to dictate terms to us. They are holding a major capital city to ransom.’
The pilot on the Aer Lingus flight was told about the on-board protest at the end of the runway, and the plane then had to turn around and taxi back along to the terminal before the man was arrested by police who came on board.
The pilot then told passengers that the plane ironically had to take on board more fuel to replace what was used up during the protest. Passengers applauded the crew after the pilot praised how they handled the situation.
The man holding up the Aer Lingus flight, which later took off with a delay, calmly told fellow passengers: ‘I don’t wish to travel but I don’t wish to get off. I’m sorry, I’m very sorry, I’m extremely sorry for the inconvenience.’
As others said ‘how long are you going to be’ and ‘sit down’, he added: ‘Today there’s a protest at this airport. We have two generations of human civilisation left if we carry on doing what you’re doing.’
An Extinction Rebellion protester got on board a plane a London City Airport today as the demonstrations continued.
Passengers on board the Aer Lingus flight to Dublin urged cabin crew to ‘do us all a favour and remove him from the plane’Extinction Rebellion protestor boards plane to stop it taking off.
The man is spoken to by cabin crew on board the Aer Lingus flight before passengers were taken off then allowed back onExtinction Rebellion protestor climbs onto London City Airport’s roof.
A demonstrator wearing an Extinction Rebellion tie is removed by police officers at London City Airport this morning.
An Extinction Rebellion protesters smiles as he is arrested and led away by police at London City Airport this morning.
Police officers detain Extinction Rebellion protester during the demonstration at London City Airport this morning’Doing it for my daughter:’ Former policeman arrested at XR protest.
Police officers carry away an Extinction Rebellion protester during the demonstration at London City Airport todayPolice arrest 83-year-old Extinction Rebellion protestor.
Viewers of a video of the Aer Lingus incident said it could have been far more serious, with one tweeting: ‘This is a major breach of airport security. Lucky he was only an eco-preacher not a terrorist. Things would have been very different’
Protesters were arrested while trying to enter the terminal, which was heavily surrounded by police. Many of the arrested were elderly who smiled as they were led away and sat on the pavement before being removed in vans.
BBC Newsnight political editor Nicholas Watt said he was on board the Aer Lingus flight involved, tweeting: ‘My flight from London City airport to Dublin has just been grounded by a climate change protester.
‘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. Cabin crew calmy and very politely asked protester 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.’
An Aer Lingus spokesman 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.
A man is removed by police officers after activists staged a ‘Hong Kong style’ blockage at City Airport this morningLondon City Airport rooftop protestor hangs banner from barbed wire.
An Extinction Rebellion protester stands on the top of the roof during a demonstration at London City Airport today.
A man is removed by police officers after activists stage an Extinction Rebellion climate change protest at City Airport today.
Passengers make their way past Extinction Rebellion demonstrators and police officers at City Airport in London todayExtinction Rebellion protester climbs onto London City Airport roof.
Police officers watch as an activist scales the roof above the entrance to London City Airport this morning71-year-old Extinction Rebellion protester Victoria Bamford arrested.
A man dressed in a suit is led away by police after they arrested him at London City Airport this morning Extinction Rebellion dance and play music at London City Airport.
A man is escorted by police officers from the Docklands Light Railway station at London City Airport this morning.
Police officers detain an Extinction Rebellion protester during a demonstration at London City Airport this morningProtestor comforts another in arrest at London City Airport.
‘The flight departed at 11.16am and arrived in Dublin at 12.33pm. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.’
At the terminal, Victoria Bamford, 71, of Wales, chatted happily and smiled with officers as she waited to be put into a van. She said: ‘I have been arrested before. It’s nothing new to me. It’s for all the children of the world.’
Another arrested woman was Ruth Collins, 80, of South Wales, who said: ‘Airports are a major contribution to Co2 omissions and they need to be shut down. I am OK with being arrested. I am a bit shaken. But it is worth it.’
Around 30 protesters sang songs supported by a trumpeter in front of the terminal and raised an XR flag. One managed to climb onto the terminal roof, sang songs and was cheered by his fellow demonstrators.
The activists are highlighting what they claim is the ‘incompatibility’ of the East London airport’s planned expansion with meeting the Government’s legally binding commitment to go net carbon neutral by 2050.
Police made several arrests as the group sat and chanted ‘Fly today, gone tomorrow’ in unison during the action, which included some people gluing themselves to the floor.
Grandfather-of-four, 83, arrested for THIRD time in a week in XR protest
Police arrested a veteran 83-year-old environmental campaigner today for the third time in just a week.
Retired probation officer Phil Kingston, from Bristol, said before his arrest that he was joining the Extinction Rebellion climate change protest at London City Airport for his four grandchildren and ‘all of their generation’.
Phil Kingston said today he is taking part in the protest at City Airport for his four grandchildren and ‘all of their generation’
Mr Kingston said it was the ninth time he had been arrested with XR within the past year, and joked with LBC radio that he had been ‘just going to get a plane’ before he was dragged outside. He added: ‘I’m very happy to be here.’
It comes after Mr Kingston was arrested on Monday for spraying the words ‘Life not death for my grandchildren’ on the walls of the Treasury in Westminster, and last Thursday for spraying fake blood on the same building.
Mr Kingston is dragged away from London City Airport this morning as the demonstrations continue.
Asked why he was at the protest today, Mr Kingston said: ‘My grandchildren and all of their generation. I’m mostly here for the poorest peoples, who have done the least to cause climate breakdown and are suffering the most.
‘(They) are predicted to suffer dreadfully in the coming years, as eventually we all will, unless we do the most enormous turnaround which I don’t even know if that’s possible now.
Police also arrested campaigner Mr Kingston on Monday for a spray paint protest at the Treasury building in Westminster
‘But if it isn’t possible, then I am here to help us tell the truth and prepare for what we need to prepare together. Lastly, I’m a Christian. This lovely creation is God’s creation, and for us to be destroying it, it’s is an affront.
Mr Kingston, a retired Bristol University social work lecturer who is now a regular at major XR protests, added: ‘The God of love has given us all this, and we are just misusing it hopelessly. So that’s why I’m here.’
Those arriving for flights were redirected to a second terminal entrance by security workers and were not allowed to enter the building without showing their boarding cards first.
One of XR’s ringleaders Dr Vishal Chauhan, who gave up his job at a South London hospital to join XR, was arrested for allegedly obstructing the public highway.
He apologised to the arresting officer for ‘inconveniencing’ him as he was led away, and told MailOnline: ‘Being arrested is a little price to pay against the enormous challenge of saving the planet.’
Olympic gold medalist Etienne Stott was also arrested near City Airport. The canoeist, who won gold at London 2012, had hinted before XR launched their fortnight of campaigning that he was willing to be detained by police.
He had said being arrested for civil disobedience was ‘one of the most powerful things you can do.’ In an ITV interview he said: ‘I have not quite decided and the police will probably find out at some point.
‘But I actually believe it is one of the most powerful things an individual can do to show people, ‘I’m just a normal person, I’m a good person, I am prepared to do this because I believe it is so important. And this is perhaps the only way we can actually get people to listen. It is absolutely the sensible and responsible thing to be doing.’
Today’s arrest was the second time he had been arrested while campaigning with ER. He was detained at a protest in April.
An activist who gave her name as Claire, 51, said: ‘I don’t know what’s going to happen over the next few hours, but I do know that a number of people have come here, City Airport, today to make the statement that there are many areas of our lives that are going to have to change because of the climate crisis we’ve created, and one of them is flying. ‘We can’t carry on with life, with business as usual,’ she said.
Claire said she had not made up her mind about whether she would allow herself to be arrested, but was later led away by police officers.
In Westminster, tents and protesters had been cleared away from the roads leading into Parliament Square.
But the streets around Parliament and Whitehall remained closed to traffic, apart from cyclists, amid a heavy police presence in the area.
At Trafalgar Square, tents, banners with messages such as ‘This is change’ and a hearse still blocked the roads, and a protest camp occupied the pedestrian area of the square.
Mr Davies told MailOnline: ‘I am deeply concerned by this organisation, that appears to be in favour of banning all flying, driving, meat-eating and industrial production within the next five years – something that would have a devastating impact on jobs and the economy and reduce us to a pre-industrial standard of living.
‘It seems to be spearheaded by affluent well-to-do people who have enjoyed the benefits of western civilisation and are now trying to impose their misguided views on everyone else through blackmail and mass inconvenience to hard-working people. I think there needs to be much tougher action taken against them.’
Mr Davies said he wanted new rules on protesters using vehicles as part of stunts, and more targeted arrests.
‘We need to get a bit cleverer about this. We are allowing a few thousand people to dictate terms to us. What they are asking for is ludicrous. They are holding a major capital city to ransom at the moment,’ he added.
Meanwhile Scotland Yard said they are unable to confirm how many demonstrators are being held in cells across the capital after the force said they had made more than 800 arrests in just three days.
The Prime Minister’s father Stanley Johnson has backed the tactics of the protesters. Mr Johnson Snr was asked if he supports the demonstrators occupying streets and their plans to chain themselves to parts of the airport.
‘I think we’ve got to take a fairly relaxed view on this,’ he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. ‘I don’t think many of them are breaking the law. I believe that they are wedded to non-violence, to peaceful protest.’
He insisted that the crisis is one thing that unites the family, whose views over Brexit range wildly. ‘If there’s an issue that does unite us, I would say it’s this environmental issue, climate change,’ Mr Johnson said. London City Airport CEO warns climate change protestors to ‘go back’.
Police officers react as an activist, dressed in a suit, scales the roof above the entrance to London City Airport this morning.
Extinction Rebellion protesters with bicycles block a roundabout during a demonstration near London City Airport today.
Two people stand on roof above the entrance to London City Airport this morning during the fourth day of demonstrations.
A man is removed by police officers after activists staged a ‘Hong Kong style’ blockage at City Airport today.
A man is removed by police officers after activists staged a ‘Hong Kong style’ blockage at City Airport today.
Police carry away an Extinction Rebellion protester involved in the demonstration at London City Airport this morning.
Police officers try to free a man who has glued himself to the pavement outside City Airport in London this morning.
Activists, dressed in a suits, scale the roof above the entrance to London City Airport during the protests today.
Security staff try to get a man down from a shelter during the Extinction Rebellion protest at London City Airport today.
Activists blockade the Docklands Light Rail station at London City Airport today during the fourth day of demonstrations.
Police officers guard the entrance to London City Airport this morning as Extinction Rebellion activists demonstrate.
Police officers detain veteran protester Phil Kingston during the demonstration at London City Airport this morning 83-year-old XR activist on why he’s trying to shut down city airport.
Activists hold a sit-in outside the Docklands Light Rail station at London City Airport during the demonstrations today
A London City Airport spokesman told MailOnline today: ‘We continue to work closely with the Metropolitan Police to ensure the safe operation of the airport, which remains fully open and operational.
‘As of 9.15am there have been over 60 flights which have either arrived or departed. If you are flying from London City today, please check the status of your flight with your airline before travelling to the airport.’
Overnight, dance music duo Orbital played a DJ set to crowds of flag-waving environmentalists in Trafalgar Square amid claims that police were running out of cells in which to hold those they had detained since Monday.
Guardian journalist Damien Gayle tweeted from the scene: ‘Bass and drum at Extinction Rebellion Trafalgar Square right now. I’m told that police have stopped arresting rebels ‘because they’ve run out of space in the cells’.’
The Met Police told MailOnline this morning that this is ‘not accurate’ but was unable to say how many of the 800 arrested were still detained. A spokesman for the force said: ‘The Met has not reached cell capacity.’
Police officers arrest an Extinction Rebellion climate change activist during a demonstration at London City Airport today’Don’t kick me’: Activist screams as she is dragged by police.
Police stand in front of the climate change activists as they blockade the Docklands Light Rail station at City Airport today.
Police officers speak to an Extinction Rebellion protester on the ground during a demonstration at London City Airport today.
Extinction Rebellion protestors sit on the ground at the DLR station during a demonstration at London City Airport today
Police at the scene of the protest by Extinction Rebellion activists at the Docklands Light Rail station at City Airport todayExtinction Rebellion: Police form line at London City AirportLoaded: 0%Progress: 0%0:00PreviousPlaySkipMuteCurrent Time0:00/Duration Time0:26FullscreenNeed Text
Police officers detain Extinction Rebellion protester during the demonstration at London City Airport today.
Police arrest Extinction Rebellion demonstrators lying on the pavement outside London City Airport this morning.
Demonstrators hold signs and Extinction Rebellion flags as the Docklands Light Rail station at London City Airport today.
Police arrest Extinction Rebellion protesters at London City Airport this morning ahead of the activists’ planned shutdown.
Activists stage a ‘Hong Kong style’ blockage of the exit from the Docklands Light Railway to London City Airport this morning.
It comes a day after the Government took the extraordinary step of drafting in 500 officers from 43 other police forces in England and Wales as they try to round up the mob bringing chaos to the capital.
Those arrested include 91-year-old veteran campaigner John Lynes. Illegal sites in Whitehall and Horseferry Road remain closed while police spend hours moving the activists to avoid injury and potential compensation claims.
Circus performers joined in last night, draping themselves in red robes to resemble blood. Invisible Circus, a street performance group from Bristol, joined their ranks – adding their painted faces to the throngs on Downing Street.
With faces painted white, they wore clothing designed to remind everyone present of the blood that binds humanity together as police admitted they were being forced to neglect crime victims to patrol the protests. Police arrest Extinction Rebellion protestors at London City AirportLoaded: 0%Progress: 0%0:00PreviousPlaySkipMuteCurrent Time0:00/Duration Time1:38FullscreenNeed Text
Activists are staging an Extinction Rebellion climate change protest at City Airport today on the fourth day of demonstrations
Police await the arrival of Extinction Rebellion protesters at London City Airport outside the DLR station this morning
Police officers look at Extinction Rebellion activists protesting about climate change at London City Airport this morning
Police officers are seen at London City Airport today as they try to avoid disruption at the terminal this morningExtinction Rebellion: Police seen at London City Airport.
Passengers walk into the London City Airport terminal building this morning ahead of the planned XR demonstration
Flight passengers were not allowed to enter the City Airport terminal today without showing their boarding cards firstPolice protect London City Airport from Extinction RebellionLoaded: 0%Progress: 0%0:00PreviousPlaySkipMuteCurrent Time0:00/Duration Time0:24FullscreenNeed Text
A police van waits outside the London City Airport terminal today ahead of what could be a ‘Hong Kong-style’ shutdown
Security guards in place at City Airport after XR protesters declared they would occupy and shut down the airportMet Police Commissioner issues warning to climate change protests.
The protest group said its members intended to ‘peacefully occupy and shut down’ the airport’s terminal building from 9am this morning.
Activists said they would achieve this by lying, sitting or gluing themselves in front of the departure and arrival gates at the East London airport.
If they do not make it into the building, they planned to occupy the airport’s access road and DLR station. The latest protest is against the climate impact of flying and the Government’s ongoing support of airport expansion.
Extinction Rebellion spokesperson Rupert Read said: ‘By non-violently shutting down this airport, in homage to the style of the Hong Kong democracy protesters, we are demonstrating the utter frailty of the transport systems that countries such as ours, unwisely, have come to depend upon.’
Members of Extinction Rebellion and climate change supporters blockade roads at Trafalgar Square in London today
Protesters in a plastic swimming pool Extinction Rebellion at Trafalgar Square in London today
Members of Extinction Rebellion and climate change supporters set up camp in St James’s Park in London today
An XR camp in Trafalgar Square today (left) where one of the stone lions was decorated with an XR necklace (right)
Extinction Rebellion protesters carry out an early morning protest at Trafalgar Square in London today
Extinction Rebellion climate change protesters carry out yoga today after the demonstration closed roads in WestminsterTrafalgar Square fountain overflows forcing activists to move backLoaded: 0%Progress: 0%0:00PreviousPlaySkipMuteCurrent Time0:00/Duration Time0:43FullscreenNeed Text
Mr Read added: ‘Air travel is an icon of our fragile ‘just-in-time’ economic system. That system will break, as climate chaos hits.’
The group said hundreds of people have already signed up to take part in the protest, which will seem them ‘non-violently use their bodies’ to close the airport. It said those taking part are willing to risk being arrested to achieve their aim.
Hundreds of police officers are being drafted in from across England and Wales to help the Metropolitan Police with the protests, which are now in their fourth day.
Activists have been camped on rounds around Parliament Square and Whitehall since Monday calling for urgent action on climate change and wildlife.
The Metropolitan Police confirmed that 800 people had been arrested on Monday and Tuesday, with another 220 detained yesterday. Extinction Rebellion: Protestors filmed raving at Trafalgar SquareLoaded: 0%Progress: 0%0:00PreviousPlaySkipMuteCurrent Time0:00/Duration Time0:30FullscreenNeed Text
Dance music duo Orbital perform a DJ set at an Extinction Rebellion rave last night at Trafalgar Square in London
Orbital are pictured on stage in Trafalgar Square at an Extinction Rebellion rave last night as the protests continue in London
The Red Brigade group has hit the streets of London in the Extinction Rebellion protests at Trafalgar Square last night
Benedict Cumberbatch is the latest famous face to have shown up at the Extinction Rebellion protests in London last night
Cumberbatch is pictured speaking with protesters demonstrating for Extinction Rebellion in London yesterday evening
Sherlock star Cumberbatch poses for a photograph with the protesters last night who are camped at Trafalgar Square
Metropolitan Police deputy assistant commissioner Laurence Taylor said there are plans in place to intervene and ‘deal proactively’ with anyone who has the intention of shutting down the airport.
Mr Taylor said yesterday that the scale of operation was having a big impact on policing in other areas of the capital.
He said: ‘We haven’t stopped policing, we never will, but it does mean that some activities beyond the normal responses are affected.
‘We cannot spent the amount of time with victims we would normally because we have to make sure we are dealing with the protests. We are not at the level we would want to be… and police officers should be working in their communities.’