Climate activists from a group planning to disrupt Heathrow flights with drones have been arrested the day before their stunt.
Police said they will arrest protesters from Heathrow Pause, a splinter of Extinction Rebellion, if they fly drones illegally near the airport on Friday.
But at least four have been arrested today, including Roger Hallam, who co-founded Extinction Rebellion.
Officers handcuffed Hallam and another activist at a café in Bethnal Green, where the pair had been giving an interview to journalists, and took them away in separate cars, a Heathrow Pause spokesperson said.
The group says its media officer, who had not stated any intention to fly a drone, has also been arrested, and the houses of other members cordoned off.
The group called it a ‘preemptive arrest’.
They later tweeted: ‘This is to activists, rebels and ordinary people everywhere. Please stand with us. We all have to rise up.’
‘If we are all arrested before we can stop this horrendous project then please continue where we left off.’
Police yesterday branded the planned protest a ‘deliberate and criminal’ attack on UK infrastructure.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor suggested the stunt risked attracting ‘would-be terrorists’ as well as serious safety concerns and disruption.
Heathrow Pause said they plan to break the law but are ‘utterly committed to the principles of non-violence, transparency and accountability and to cooperating with the police as far as is possible.’
The green activists met with police on Tuesday to discuss their plans.
Hallam said at the time: ‘I’ll be flying a drone at head height, some distance from Heathrow. It’ll be 100 per cent safe and 100 percent illegal.’
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Taylor yesterday said the group had not told police which areas they would target.
He added: ‘As a result we’ve had to put a significant policing plan in place that drains resources from across the Metropolitan Police.
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