Blind Paralympian climbs on top of BA plane in Extinction Rebellion airport takeover

A Paralympian cyclist brought London City Airport to a standstill on Thursday after he sat on top of a British Airways flight to protest for climate change group Extinction Rebellion.

Bronze para-cycling medallist James Brown climbed aboard the flight at around 1pm, where he sat and lay down for more than an hour before being led away by police.

The London 2012 medallist. who in 2016 was given a two-and-a-half-year suspension for refusing to take part in a doping test - was removed from the plane at around 2pm. He was later arrested.


The climate change action group was staging a sit-down protest at City Airport in London’s Docklands as part of a a series of planned demonstrations that have lasted all week across London, including Westminster.

In a live video posted to Facebook, Mr Brown said: “I’m on top of a f****** aeroplane at City Airport.

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“I hate heights, I’m s******* myself. I managed to get on the roof.

“This is all about the climate and ecological crisis. We’re protesting against Government inaction on climate and ecological breakdown.

“They declare a climate emergency and then do nothing about it. In fact, they go the opposite direction.”

After airport staff were unable to get Mr Brown to climb down, London Fire Brigade took over, with three firemen seen attempting to reach him.

Passengers on an adjacent plane were informed by staff their aircraft's engines could not be started until the protester was removed or their plane was towed far enough away to be safe.

Three London firemen attempted to bring the paracyclist down from the plane before being brought down and led away by police at around 2pm (PA)

Firemen draped an orange blanket over the man in their attempt to remove him from the roof of the plane.

Meanwhile, an 83-year-old man was arrested amid the demonstrations at the London airport.

Phil Kingston was among those arrested as hundreds of people blocked the main entrance for passengers.

Protesters stage a 'Hong Kong style' blockage of the exit from the train station to City Airport, London, during an Extinction Rebellion climate change protest.
Protesters stage a 'Hong Kong style' blockage of the exit from the train station to City Airport, London, during the Extinction Rebellion climate change protest on Thursday (PA)

It was the third time he has been arrested as part of the protests in the past week.

Another protester grounded an Aer Lingus flight to Dublin after he stood up and ‘delivered a lecture’ on climate change to fellow passengers immediately before take-off.

According to people onboard the flight, the plane had to return to the gate where it was met by police who escorted the man off the aircraft.

Extinction Rebellion climate change protesters block a road outside City Airport in London, Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019. Some hundreds of climate change activists are in London during a fourth day of world protests by the Extinction Rebellion movement to demand more urgent actions to counter global warming. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
Extinction Rebellion climate change protesters block a road outside the airport in London's Docklands (AP)

An activist, who gave her name as Claire, 51, told PA: “I don’t know what’s going to happen over the next few hours, but I do know that a number of people have come here, City Airport, today to make the statement that there are many areas of our lives that are going to have to change because of the climate crisis we’ve created, and one of them is flying.

“We can’t carry on with life, with business as usual.”

London City Airport says it remains fully open and operational - but is advising customers to check the status of their flights before travelling to the airport.