Heathrow drone protesters ‘blocked by signal jamming’ as two arrested
By David Mercer, news reporter
Climate change protesters trying to fly drones to disrupt Heathrow Airport claim they have been blocked by "signal jamming" as two people were arrested on Friday.
Heathrow Pause – a splinter of the Extinction Rebellion movement – has said it intends to fly the machines in the airport's 3.1-mile (5km) exclusion zone, potentially disrupting hundreds of flights.
The Metropolitan Police confirmed two men were arrested in the early hours of Friday morning on suspicion of conspiracy to commit a public nuisance within the perimeter of Heathrow.
It comes after five people – including Extinction Rebellion's co-founder Roger Hallam – were detained on Thursday ahead of the planned protest.
A live stream video shared on Heathrow Pause's Twitter account showed two people struggling to get a drone off the ground.
The device could be seen flashing red and green lights as the men held it above their head, but did not make it into the air.
The two men, filming themselves near a road, said they were experiencing "a technical glitch".
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In a post on Twitter, the protest group said: "Heathrow using signal jamming to frustrate early flights."
The Met said a dispersal order had been put in place at Heathrow until 4.30am on Sunday "to prevent criminal activity which poses a significant safety and security risk to the airport".
A large police presence was seen in the airport area on Friday morning and protesters have been warned they could be handed life sentences if they are found to be endangering the lives of passengers.
The planned protest action is meant to ground flights and put pressure on the government to take tougher steps to reduce carbon emissions.
In a statement on Friday, Heathrow Airport confirmed its runways were open as normal and said it was committed to addressing climate change.
"We agree with the need for climate change action but illegal protest activity designed with the intention of disrupting thousands of people, is not the answer," the airport said.