The Black Lives Matter protesters at the London airport had put up two large posters with the slogans “Black Lives Matter” and “Climate Crisis is a Racist Crisis”. “Black people are the first to die, not the first to fly, in this racist climate crisis,” the group said in a statement.
“When black people in Britain are 28 percent more likely to be exposed to air pollution than their white counterparts, we know that environmental inequality is a racist crisis,” the group said, adding that City Airport was designed for the wealthy while those who lived near the site struggled on low salaries .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. They added.
Speaking to BBC London, group member Joshua Virasami added: “The community where this airport is is a predominantly black community.
“In Britain, 28% of black people are more likely to be exposed to air pollution… being in closest proximity to the industries causing climate change.”
He added the disruption to flights was “a very small inconvenience when you think about the consequences for black communities daily” and the protesters would remain on site “as long as feasibly possible”.
Nine activists of the Black Lives Matter campaign group have been arrested after chaining themselves together on the runway of London’s City Airport, disrupting all flights in and out of the busy travel hub for six hours. More than 120 flights were canceled, delayed or diverted as a result of the protest, which started at about 5.30am, according to police. The Twitter page of Black Lives Matter UK claimed responsibility for the protest, saying it was to highlight the “UK’s environmental impact on black people”.
Photo – Peter Nicholls/Reuters