Irish Paralympic bronze medalist mounts plane at London City Airport in climate protest

James Brown, a visually impaired cyclist, was helped down by firefighters

Extinction Rebellion protesters dressed as airport marshalls block the road during a demonstration, near London City Airport, in London, Britain, October 10, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

An Irish Paralympic bronze medalist climbed on top of a British Airways plane on Thursday at London City Airport as part of the Extinction Rebellion anti-climate change protests.

James Brown, a visually impaired cyclist who competed in the London 2012 Paralympic games, was eventually taken down by firemen.

The aircraft was bound to Amsterdam and had to be taken back to the terminal.

A British Airways spokesperson told The National: "We are re-booking affected customers onto alternative flights to Amsterdam so that they will all get to their destinations as quickly as possible."

Earlier today, another climate change protester with Extinction Rebellion was arrested on board an aircraft that was due to take off from City Airport, causing the aircraft to return to the terminal.

A video circulating on social media posted by Twitter user Warren Swalbe shows a protester, dressed in suit, getting up from his seat and speaking to passengers about the impact the climate change.

Passengers can be heard shouting at the man to “sit down and...protest,” and “Remove him from the plane”.

Another shouted: “How long are you going to be?”

The protester can be heard telling an air hostess: "I don't wish to travel with you but I don't wish to get off."

He added: "I'm extremely sorry for the inconvenience."

A passenger off-camera then is heard saying to the air hostess: "Can you do us all a favour and remove him from the plane."

The protester then told the passengers: "We have two generations of human civilisation left if we carry on doing what we're doing."

Mr Swalbe shared another photo that showed police arresting the demonstrator on the plane.

The airport said that other flights were unaffected.

The arrest comes as hundreds of protesters try and shut down the airport to protest against the climate impact of air travel. Extinction Rebellion activists are beginning what they deem a three-day "Hong Kong-style occupation of the terminal building".

Several other arrests were made airport where some protesters had glued themselves to the floor, while others attempted to block its entrance, chanting “fly today, gone tomorrow”.

The protest is against the climate impact of flying and the government’s support for the expansion of Heathrow Airport.

Over 800 climate demonstrators, most of which are affiliated with Extinction Rebellion, have been arrested in London this week as mass protests block roads around Parliament and Westminster.

Rupert Read, a spokesman for Extinction Rebellion, 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.”

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