UK airport shut down after protesters surround plane deporting immigrants

A deportation jet carrying dozens of immigrants was unable to take off after protesters occupied the runway.

At the Stansted Airport in Essex, UK, a mere handful of protesters were able to successfully delay the departure of what they referred to as a “mass deportation ‘charter flight’ to Nigeria and Ghana.” The Independent described the group as an assembly of eight protesters from the groups End Deportations, Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants, and Plane Stupid. As of this writing, all takeoffs and landings at the airport have been temporarily put on hold.

“There are a number of protesters on the north side of the airport away from the passenger terminal, away from the commercial side of the airport, where the private terminals are. We understand there is a protest around an aircraft, but we don’t have details of the plane,” a spokesman for the airport told The Independent. “As a precaution flights have been suspended while police carry out an inspection.”

Activists blocking the charter plane from leaving allege that the people on board are in danger if they are successfully deported, including a woman who said her husband was waiting for her back in Africa and meant to kill her.

“If he kills me- who will I[sic] look after my children?” The deportee was quoted saying.

“Mass deportations like the one we stopped tonight are immoral, unfair and illegal. I don’t want to stay silent in the face of mass deportations that are deliberately rushed and secretive,” said protester Susan James, from Plane Stupid. “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.”

James is referring to the Brexit referendum, in which citizens of the United Kingdom voted by a slim margin to leave the European Union, largely due to a well-organized campaign loaded with smears against immigrants and refugees. Since the referendum’s passage, The Guardian reported that at least one million people could be at risk of being deported from the UK.


Tom Cahill is a senior editor for the Resistance Report based in the Pacific Northwest. He specializes in coverage of political, economic, and environmental news. You can contact him via email at tom.v.cah[email protected], or follow him on Facebook by clicking here.