LONDON, July 13 (UPI) -- Plane flights at London's Heathrow Airport were cancelled Monday after climate change activists conducted a demonstration on an airport runway.
The activist group Plane Stupid said 13 demonstrators cut through a fence early Monday and chained themselves together while lying on the north runway. The three-hour protest led to their arrests, and to the cancellation of 13 flights and the delay of others.
The demonstrators oppose a planned expansion of the massive airport, the busiest in Europe with 1,300 flights per day on average.
Ella Gilbert, a protester, said, "It's those who fly frequently and unnecessarily who are driving the need for expansion, and we cannot keep ignoring the terrifying consequences of flying like there's no tomorrow." While the incident caused little disruption to airport activities, it prompted questions of security. The demonstrators were detected by infrared systems, installed on the runways to detect anything which may have fallen off an aircraft, the British Broadcasting Corp. noted.
"If they did manage to get to a runway before being apprehended then there is a bit of an issue. If a terrorist group came up to the fence it would take a few minutes to cut through," commented Afzal Ashraf of the government-financed defense and security analysis group Royal United Services Institute.