Stansted runway closed after anti-deportation protesters block flight

Eight activists attempt to stop charter flight scheduled to carry eight deportees to Nigeria and Ghana

The runway at Stansted was closed on Tuesday night after protesters ran out to prevent a plane carrying eight deportees from taking off.

The campaign groups End Deportations, Plane Stupid and activists from Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants said 14 activists had locked themselves to a tripod to stop a “mass deportation charter flight” from the Essex airport to Nigeria and Ghana. Campaigners said that deportees on the flight included people who feared for their lives and had claimed asylum.

One woman on the flight said: “My ex-husband said he knows I am being deported. He is waiting for me. He is planning to kill me.”

Another male deportee said: “I have been in this country for almost 18 years. My family and my life is here in the UK. If they take me back to Ghana I will kill myself.”

Activists are blockading Stansted’s runway to stop deportation flight.
Activists blockading Stansted’s runway to stop a deportation flight. Photograph: End Deportations

Susan James from Plane Stupid said: “Mass deportations like the one we stopped tonight are immoral, unfair and illegal. In the wake of the Brexit vote, this government is more keen than ever to be seen to be ‘tough’ on immigration. But its mass deportations have devastating human consequences. Everything about these deportations points to the fact that they are inhuman, and must be stopped.”

Campaigners said that last year more than 1,500 people were deported from the UK on mass deportation charter flights to Albania, Jamaica, Pakistan, Nigeria and Ghana.

A spokesman for Stansted confirmed the runway had been closed at about 10pm, resulting in several flights being cancelled or diverted to other airports in the London area.

The plane targeted by protesters was on a remote stand at the opposite side of the airport to the passenger terminal and was not a scheduled commercial flight, he said.

Commercial flights resumed late on Tuesday night after police had conducted checks of the compound.


Chris Johnston

The GuardianTramp

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