Stansted Airport closed after protesters surround ‘deportation plane’ on runway

Reposted from The Independent, 28/3/17. Text by Tom Batchelor

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/stansted-airport-closed-protesters-deportation-plane-runway-a7655036.html

stansted-airport.jpg

Stansted Airport, where protesters surrounded a plane Getty

Stansted Airport’s runway has been closed as police deal with an incident involving protesters who have surrounded a plane parked on the tarmac.

Activists said they were attempting to keep a “deportation flight” used to remove failed asylum seekers grounded at the Essex airport.

A spokesman for the airport told The Independent takeoffs and landings had been temporarily stopped “as a precaution” to allow police to check no protesters had made it onto the runway.

Flights are expected to resume by 11.30pm on Tuesday.

A Facebook page called ‘Stop Charter Flights – End Deportations’ was broadcasting live from the protest on Tuesday evening.

Unconfirmed reports said a group of 12 protesters has entered a secure part of the airport and were able to stop a charter flight taking deported asylum seekers to Nigeria and Ghana.

The Independent contacted the Home Office for clarification about the flight.

The airport spokesman said: “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.

“As a precaution flights have been suspended while police carry out an inspection.

“Essex Police believe they have contained all the people involved in the protest but as a precaution they are doing a double check.

“Once they have done that they will give the all clear to air traffic control.”

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