Camp(aign)ing for climate chaos
Between 14 and 21 August, climate activists are meeting for the 2007 Camp for Climate Action, next to London's international Heathrow
airport, UK. The weak and
limited injunction sought by BAA, the company that runs Heathrow, was unable to deter the gathering.
Actions so far have included
the occupation of Carmel Agrexco,
XL Airways, the
Department of Transport, and Heathrow's
World Freight Centre. Local workers at Nippon
Express Cargo have also called a strike which was supported by Climate Camp activists. Solidarity actions have
been launched at a number of local airports throughout the UK, including Bristol, Biggin Hill and Farnborough.
More mass actions are expected on Sunday and Monday. Besides the protests, the Climate Camp aims to be an example of a low-impact living with hot showers run by solar panels, a grey water recycling system and compost toilets. Indymedia UK reports on the
latest news about the Climate Camp and have setup up a
on site, powered by wind generators and solar arrays.
Climate Camp begins
Late Saturday night, a field close to Heathrow airport site was occupied by about 100 people, the first wave of setting up the 2007 Camp For Climate Action [pics]. Twin double decker tripods were quickly erected and despite being just 800 metres from BAA's head office, it took the police two hours to find the site. There have been reports of two arrests and police copying data from mobile phones during searches.
Several hundred people arrived at the site and the camp started taking shape. Police have been searching people and preventing access to the site on and off but that ended up solidifing into a state of siege with police refusing to let vehicles with power, water or toilet facilities onto the site.
Climate Camp prepares for opening
After BAAs failed injunction, the authorities tried to make this as difficult as possible using anti-terrorist legislation. Climate campers and local residents responded with resourcefulness and determination [rap | pics 1, 2].
Some police entered the site at 7.30 am. Soon, each of them was accompanied by people from the legal support team acting as minders. The police blocked the only road to the camp at both ends and searched and filmed arriving campers. Resulting traffic jams affected both campers and residents. Until late afternoon, vehicles were not allowed on site. The police installed a large tele microphone at the gate and erected floodlights, so that the camp is lit at night. Food and sanitation supplies were halted - everything had to be unloaded at the roadblock and carried or dragged to the site - half a mile away. Families - kids crying at the roadside - were forced to abandon their vehicles and carry their possessions, often in several trips, to the camp“.
Nevertheless, the camp continued taking shape. People pulled together to get equipment off cars, into wheelbarrows and wheelie bins and into the camp. Large numbers of corporate journalists parked outside the camp were watching. Airportwatch has a list of media coverage. Local residents, many of whom are opposed to the Heathrow airport extension, offered food and drinks to stranded campers, or help in transporting goods to the camp.
Day 1: Climate Camp opens
After two days of setting up, the 2007 Camp For Climate Action opens. After a press conference and an opening meeting, the first round of workshops took place in a field between Sipson and Harlington near Heathrow airport. Listen to the audio from a couple of workshops that were given today by Mark Lynas and Airportwatch/Hacan. Meanwhile, in Heathrow terminal 4, an invisible theatre pointed out that climate related apocalypse is nigh.
The evening saw a brief police incursion. Around 7.30pm, approximately thirty police, backed by officers in riot gear, entered the camp without warning in an attempt to raid it. With their hands in the air, protesters formed a human barrier and blocked the police, before peacefully escorting them off the site [video | report 1, 2 | pics]. A woman superglued herself to the gate to prevent police enforcement [pics, video]. At 8.30pm, all was quiet.
Read a personal report of the day.
Day 2: Low-Impact Living At The Climate Camp
After an early alert - around 9am a large Forward Intelligence Team (FIT) skirted the East perimeter, with an even larger group of Climate Campers responding by blocking the FIT cameras view - the camp got off to a productive start:
After the site coordination meeting at 9:30am, the workshops kicked off, covering a wide range of topics including low-tech sanitation, nuclear power, climate change and global justice, decentralised energy, aviation and climate change, introduction to permaculture, and movement building. Read a report about the 'Wales LNG pipeline' workshop. Indymedia facilities are on-site, the entire campsite has wi-fi, powered by wind generators and solar arrays. Indymedia workshops have been going on since early morning, including open publishing, writing, reporting, and digital photography. The site is now wheelchair-accessible. Campers fitted up kitchens and installed a 'grey water' system, 4 wind generators provide power. New neighbourhoods, like the West Midlands neighbourhood are being built. [pics]
Climate activists from the US and New Zealand, including the Convergence for Climate Action, the US social forum, the East Coast USA climate camp, The Yes Men, The Earth First! Journal, Rising Tide, have sent empowering messages in solidarity [video 1 2].
At 4pm, about 80 people left camp to participate in a local march against the airport expansion, but were held up by police, penned in and lead toward the perimeter of the airport – almost into the area covered by the BAA injunction. On the way, the police decided to block the A4 to lead the pen across it. Two hours later, the group headed back to the camp in heavy rain. One person was arrested for 'obstructing a police officer' (a FIT photographer) [report 1, 2, 3 | pics 1, 2]. More info on the ticker.
Videos: Videos summarising Workshops at the Climate camp | Video of a summary of a workshop given by Mark Lynas on the 2 degree tipping point | How to set up a grey water recycling system using bath tubs and straw
Day 3: Private Airports Blockaded
At 7am two independent groups of campaigners from the Camp for Climate Action stopped carbon-intensive private jets fom operating at two airports in the south east. Executive flights at Biggin Hill and Farnborough airports have been brought to a standstill by climate activists concerned at the huge growth in the use of private jets by business people. At Biggin Hill Airport the activists D-locked themselves to the gates of the airports. 10 people were then arrested. The blockade lasted for just under 4 hours.
24 people took part in the blockade at Farnborough Airport with 9 people locked onto lock-on devices across the access road. After an hour the airport staff opened up an emergency crash exit to allow the gathered business people in. Meanwhile protesters handed out leaflets to staff, passengers and locals. Jets were delayed and after 2 hours a second emergency exit was opened. By this point the police warned people they would be arrested and it was decided to return to the camp. Although no one was arrested, the police did seize lock-on devices.
Also on the newswire: Pics of Biggin Hill blockade | Business flights blockaded by climate activists | Video Interview with Farnborough Airport Blockaders | Bristol Airport Stunt | Audio Interviews from Camp | Renewable energy at Camp - photos report and videos | Camp under Surveillance | Happy Days Thursday Pics and Report
Day 4: Dept of Transport Blockaded - XL Airways Occupied
Ten activists have occupied XL Airways offices in Crawley. One person locked themselves on inside the offices, and a banner read "Cheap Flights - Cheap Lives?" referring to links between the aviation industry and climate change, and XL's role in deporting people and children to the Congo on behalf of the home office. More updates on the ticker.
Meanwhile at least ten climate change campaigners have blockaded the Department of Transport headquarters in London in the morning. Several have superglued themselves to the revolving doors and other doors have been chained shut. Staff inside the Marsham Street building were seen giving thumbs up to the protesters who called themselves Climate Camp supporters. Two more protesters were on the porch roof with a banner reading "No Airport Expansion". Eventually after around two hours the activists were removed and arrested. [See Press Release | Pictures | More Pics]
Otherwise the camp has been having a lot of visitors throughout the day. The local scouts group came to learn about the camp for their environment badges and someone posted photos of yesterday’s visit by the local primary school which will be demolished if the third runway is to go ahead. Many local Sipson residents also visited the camp this morning to express continued support and solidarity and exchange experiences.
On the newswire: Climate Camper Arrested Under Terrorism Act | Climate Camp Photo Portraits | Heathrow Primary School visits Camp | Detention Centres Near Heathrow | FitWatch faceup to FIT | Video: Climate Camp Clown Around
Day 5: Climate Camp Prepares For Mass Action
Saturday at the Climate Camp is mainly dedicated to a series of meetings and workshops related to the preparations for Sunday and Monday's days of action, but this has not stopped people from continuing with a series of decentralised actions:
In the afternoon Children and their parents from around the UK gathered at Heathrow's World Freight Centre to blockade its access road. Around 15 people took part in the blockade which was taken over by others from the Camp For Climate Action after 45 minutes. No one has been arrested so far and police, FIT team as well as BAA security are present at the scene. The blockaders unrolled a banner reading 'Enjoy Local Food' to highlight the effects to climate change that flying food around the world causes. See photo report for more.
In the morning about 30 campers from the camp brought a banner (and about 20 police!) to a picket of striking cargo workers at the Nippon Express Heathrow depot. The workers are out on strike against changes that would see them working 25% longer hours for no extra pay. Climate campers have been keen to show their support and have visited the picket line throughout the current 48-hour stoppage, which ends at 6am Sunday. Read article and call out for more.
Also in the morning a group of around 40 activists from the camp have occupied Carmel Agrexco, the 50 % Israeli state owned exporter/ distributor of Illegal settlement produce from the West Bank. The company's offices were trashed and the action ended with five arrests [Update] See Press Release and end-of-action update for more info.
On the newswire: Pictures Of Children Blockade At World Freight Centre | 40 Climate camp Activists occupy Carmel Agrexco | Cargo-Striker and Climate-Camper Solidarity | Carmel Agrexco update - depot closed for 3 hours! | Seize the day and sikhs @ climate camp