Black Lives Matter protestors have caused traffic chaos for thousands of holidaymakers, by blocking roads to the UK’s busiest airports.
As part of a ‘national shutdown’ this morning, demonstrators held banners and laid on roads heading to Heathrow Airport, while others blocked cars arriving at Birmingham Airport and the tram system in Nottingham, the BBC reports.
— SymeonBrown (@symeonbrown) August 5, 2016
Several pictures have emerged on Twitter of protestors lying in a row across the road, with cars tailed back for miles at the major UK terminals.
Video footage shows police officers crouching down to chat to the protestors, to reason with them, while chants of ‘black lives matter’ ring out.
— William Davies (@WilwithoneL) August 5, 2016
A Scotland Yard spokesman told The Mirror:
Police at Heathrow are dealing with a demo. We were called at 8.25am on the fifth to the M4 slip road at Heathrow airport. A number of people were reported to be blocking the road leading to the airport. Officers have attended. A number of people have been arrested. One lane has been opened but there is traffic congestion. Police continue to deal with the situation at the scene.
Drivers were being warned to completely avoid the A45 Coventry Road near the West Midlands airport, as well as the M4 southbound towards the major London terminal.
— Luke T (@RealTempleton) August 5, 2016
Despite all this disruption, it appears that the protest hasn’t actually caused people to miss their flights.
A Heathrow spokesman said:
Heathrow supports the right to peaceful protest within the law, but the safety and security of our passengers, aircraft and colleagues, together with the smooth running of the operation, is paramount. We are sorry to those passengers whose journeys are being disrupted and we are working with the authorities to resolve the issue.
The protests come on the day after the fifth anniversary of the fatal shooting of Mark Duggan by police in north London, sparking riots nationwide in the summer of 2011.