September 16, 2019 / 6:06 PM / a month ago

UK police charge climate activist over Heathrow protest

FILE PHOTO: Police vehicles are seen parked near Heathrow airport after climate activists said they planned to fly drones near the airport, in London, Britain, September 13, 2019. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

LONDON (Reuters) - British police said on Monday they had charged a climate-change activist who last week attempted to disrupt Europe’s biggest airport, London Heathrow.

The ‘Heathrow Pause’ activists had hoped to bring Heathrow to a standstill on Friday by flying drones but struggled to get them off the ground due to signal jamming, and the airport said it remained fully operational.

Roger Hallam, a co-founder of the Extinction Rebellion group which blocked streets in central London this year, was charged with attempting to cause a public nuisance, London’s Metropolitan police said in a statement.

The 53-year-old was arrested on Thursday and Saturday, and appeared in court on Monday. He was remanded in custody until Oct. 14, when he will return to court.

The Metropolitan Police said 19 other people were arrested in connection with the protest and had been bailed or released under investigation.

Heathrow Pause, a splinter group of Extinction Rebellion, had planned to fly the drones no higher than head height in a bid to put pressure on the government to take tougher steps to reduce carbon emissions.

Ahead of his arrest, Hallam said in a statement the “consequence of not rebelling is indescribable suffering and death for billions of people.”

“The consequence of rebellion is a chance to avoid the worst. Rebellion means mass economic disruption and deep personal sacrifice. I am a rebel,” he said.

Reporting by Kylie MacLellan and Matthew Green, Editing by Chris Reese

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