Northern Ireland news

Former Irish Paralympian climbs on British Airways plane as part of environmental protests

Paralympian James Brown sitting on top of a British Airways plane at City Airport, London.
Staff Reporter

A FORMER Irish Paralympic medallist from Co Down climbed on top of a British Airways plane at London City Airport as part of environmental protests in the city.

James Brown, from Portaferry, who is visually impaired, climbed on the plane and filmed himself clinging to the fuselage as he streamed a message online.

In a live stream on Facebook, he said it was "scary" because he hated heights, felt cold and hoped they would get him down soon.

"Oh man I'm shaking," he went on. "This is all about the climate and ecological crisis. We're protesting at government inaction on climate and ecological breakdown. They declare climate emergency and do nothing about it."

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said Mr Brown's actions were "reckless, stupid and dangerous".

Mr Brown won a bronze medal at the 2012 London Paralympics.

He also won two athletics golds for Great Britain in the 800m and 1500m at the 1984 Paralympic Games in New York.

Mr Brown was one of more than 1,000 people arrested this week during protests organised by environmental group Extinction Rebellion.

The fourth day of protests yesterday focused on London City Airport where campaigners attempted a "Hong Kong-style occupation of the terminal building" with hundreds blocking the main entrance.

Activists also blocked the entrance road, climbed on to the terminal roof and glued themselves to the entrance of the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) station serving the east London airport.

Extinction Rebellion claims planned expansion of the airport is incompatible with meeting the British Government's legally binding commitment to cut emissions to net-zero by 2050.

An Aer Lingus flight from City Airport to Dublin was delayed when a protester on board stood up to deliver a lecture on climate change just as the plane was due to take off.

Those arrested at the airport include 83-year-old Phil Kingston, who has now been detained three times as part of Extinction Rebellion protests in the past week.

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