The airport was in a state of some considerable alert. It seems that Climate Rush and a devilishly criminal plan to have a militant picnic (by mostly women) in departures had BAA on the run.
The cops were another matter. FIT crews were on the upper gangways and over 100 police occupied the departures lounge when i arrived about an hour before. Even more arrived as I sipped my coffee and read the Guardian.
After twenty minutes, two cops sauntered over to me and ask whether they could search me. I asked why. they said there is a protest planned and they were looking for climate chaos extremists. I said I was waiting for a friend. After finding nothing and believing my story, they let me go. I decided to move to Cafe Rouge where everybody was gathering...safety in numbers I thought. soon as I got up there, there was another 30 cops watching absolutely everyone...
As the minutes counted down, I moved with undercurrents down into the departure check in area and was joined by about 50 or 60 people who started to lay out a banner and a well stocked organic and home cooked picnic. Ten minutes later, the bulk of protesters arrived and the departures check in filled up fast. Real passengers moved aside and the police moved in to encircle the picnic. By this stage close to 500 climate rush protesters were spreading themselves out in a ever widening circle. The strings Quartet began playing and a few people started playing with a big ball which looked like the planet.
The BAA corporate media descended and so did lots of TV camera's hoping for an interview. at one such so many interviews were being given, it became difficult to move around. Speaking with some of the organizers, they claimed an enormous success in suspending the operation of terminal 1. It certainly looked like a success to me.
A while later and after most of the food had been eaten (flushed down with a little wine), everyone rose to their feet and started chanting. After Stanstead, the government, media and police were saying that everyone was an extremist and possibly eco-terrorists. So the protesters, mostly women (some in the 50 and 60's) started chanting " do we look like terrorists?" and 'down with BAA'
After one hour, the cops were closing the circle fearing a blockade or a long-term occupation. I feared we were all going to be hemmed in and arrested so I decided to retreat with my video camera intact and get back home.
Worried about what I had walked away from, I rang a friend who said that everything was alright. the demo had finished 15 minutes after I left and there had been no arrests. In fact the cops relaxed and got quite bored as climate-rush activists offered them food!