Following days of disruption in central London, environmental activists from Extinction Rebellion today promised to “shut down Heathrow” as part of their efforts to protest against inaction on climate change.
The controversial decision to try and disrupt flights over the Easter weekend has seen mixed reaction from people across social media.
Speaking to The Cube, London-based journalist Diyora Shadijanova, 23, is travelling to Astana, Kazakhstan to see her family. Whilst being a supporter of Extinction Rebellion’s cause to highlight the planet's "climate emergency", she said trying to bring Heathrow to a halt was a step too far.
"For many people, booking a flight to see your family is a really big thing. It takes time and often a lot of money. I think it’s unfair to hurt those families trying to fly somewhere together for the weekend," she said.
Shadijanova said she had supported and participated in the London protests this week but argues those gatherings were different from what was proposed at Heathrow.
"There was a lot of warning when it came to the Central London disruption. People could plan around it and even walk to work if they needed to. But when you’re flying overseas, obviously using other alternatives isn’t really an option.”
"Rebellion organisers need to give people enough information and time to prepare. They have to be on the side of the people. I could see the tide of support turn when people start to miss flights, especially if they are going to see a sick relative on their death bed," she said.
In preparation for her flight to Astana, Shadijanova posted to an Extinction Rebellion Facebook group pleading with fellow members to rethink the planned airport shutdown. She was shocked at the reaction from one member.
"I really want to emphasise that in the Facebook thread, a lot of people were also saying we should consider the harm this will cause to families. This was just one extreme person who took exception to my view but a lot of people agreed that shutting down Heathrow was going too far," she said.
The action in London comes as activists gather in protest across other European cities including Brussels, Paris and Rome.