YESTERDAY dozens of police officers were inspecting the beginning of the Climate Change camp, in a sportsfield owned by Imperial College, less than 1,000 yards from Heathrow airport’s perimeter.
A fortnight ago the police were supporting an action by the BAA calculated to ban a large number of groups from being within miles of the airport where they intended to set up the camp, to protest at the impact they say air travel is having on the planet’s climate.
The attempt to give the police absolute powers over large numbers of people did not succeed. A ban on AirportWatch, an umbrella group covering five million people including members of the RSPB and National Trust was refused.
The judgement was that the protest was legal. However BAA won a ruling banning certain protesters from Heathrow – but the injunction did not prevent the setting up of the camp.
Mrs Justice Swift also ruled at the High Court that there was a risk that ‘a terrorist group may use the disruption caused by the protesters to perpetrate a terrorist act’.
The camp is less than a kilometre from the airport’s perimeter
Over 2,000 people are expected to pitch their tents today for a week-long protest against plans to expand the airport.
A day of ‘mass direct action’ is scheduled for Sunday.
Airport operator BAA has warned it will not allow passengers to be ‘harassed or obstructed’.
Police have said they expect protesters to use ‘lock-ons’, where people attach themselves to vehicles and fences, drop banners over buildings and engage in sit-down protests across major roads.
A very large number of police, some 1,800 officers from Surrey police, Thames Valley police, the Met, and British Transport Police will oversee the state’s intervention.
Despite the petty bourgeois character of the demonstrators there is no doubt that their climate change camp is being seen as a challenge to the state, and its anti-terror laws, as well as a threat to the already dodgy future of BA, which has recently been fined hundreds of millions of pounds for attempted price fixing, while its staff are now so stretched that large numbers of bags are being misplaced in transit.
Neither the capitalist state, or BAA which brought out the original failed injunction, are in favour of creating a situation where thousands of people can permanently but legally gather around Heathrow in non-stop mass protests.
Without a doubt the scene is being set for a major operation by the capitalist state to show that it is in charge in this country.
The government got the ball rolling yesterday afternoon with the PM’s office issuing a statement saying: ‘Any action that disrupted the operation of Heathrow would be unacceptable.’
At the same time, people were already being stopped, searched, photographed and identified a mile from the camp site by police, where they were forced to park their vehicles before proceeding with their belongings on foot to the site itself.
The state is already criminalising the protestors.
There is little doubt that the state will manufacture a provocation that will enable it to intervene in the camp site, and use the anti-terror laws to arrest numbers of people, in an operation to break up the camp, disperse the campers, and declare the protest to be illegal, before very large numbers of people can gather there to protest.
What many people are going to learn in the period immediately ahead, is that the only way they are going to retain their basic rights and freedoms is through a socialist revolution to smash the capitalist state, to bring in a workers government that will expropriate the bosses and the bankers and put an end to their miserable dog eat dog system of super exploitation.