Heathrow protesters 'may stage bomb hoax'
London telegraph | August 14, 2007
A hard core of anarchist demonstrators are drawing up plans to bring Heathrow to a standstill using an array of tactics including disguising themselves as ordinary holidaymakers to cause havoc in the airport terminals
The Daily Telegraph has learned that protesters are smuggling smart clothes into the "climate camp" in an attempt to sidestep police and security staff and get into the terminals and office buildings.
There are also fears they could be planning bomb hoaxes and assaults on the airport's security fence - methods which could bring the airport to a grinding halt at the busiest time of year causing misery for passengers.
"Direct action" literature being handed out on site advises people to board plans and then refuse to take seats and to handcuff themselves to barriers and to each other to cause maximum disruption.
Another suggested technique, which would cause major panic in the aftermath of the attempted bombing of Glasgow airport, is to buy a scrap car, drive it into a road to be blocked and then slash the tyres.
In addition one of the most notorious anarchist groups - White Overall Movement Building Liberation through Effective Struggle or Wombles - could be planning to muscle in on the protest.
Despite announcing plans to begin the Camp for Climate Action on Tuesday, organizers of the protest have already wrongfooted both BAA, Heathrow's owners, and the police by arriving early.
The organizers of the Camp for Climate Action have said there will be 24 hours of "inspired and creative" direct action from noon on Sunday.
This action will, the organizers say, be "at many different locations and take many forms."
It is feared that this could be code for trying to bring the airport to a halt at a time when more than 200,000 people a day will be using Heathrow.
With the airport already at bursting point and on heightened terrorist alert, even a few dozen protesters could wreak havoc.
The "smart clothes" tactic has been used by anarchist groups in the past, especially during anti-globalisation demonstrations in the City of London in recent years.
Then the aim was to infiltrate financial institutions and this time it is believed hard-line eco warriors could try to get into the terminals by blending in with passengers.
"We are particularly concerned they will try to disguise themselves as passengers or members of our staff, because the protesters have already evaded our officers on two previous occasions," a Heathrow spokesman said.
More alarmingly the Camp for Climate Action's website says there will "small groups taking autonomous actions and well advertised mass actions".
This is seen as code for an array of hardcore protest groups, many of whom are veterans of anti-globalisation protests which have created havoc in major cities across the world.
BAA had hoped to head off disruption by obtaining an injunction against key individuals and organizations opposed to the expansion of Heathrow.
As a result Plane Stupid – and two of its key activists, Joss Garman and Leo Murray – are banned from entering Heathrow without BAA's permission.
The same restriction has been imposed on John Stewart of HACAN, a group which campaigns against Heathrow aircraft noise.
They are also forbidden from inciting anyone else to disrupt the airport.
But the Camp for Climate Action is not named in the injunction, and nor are the Wombles.
This group, who turn up at demonstrations wearing white overalls, have in the past run the police ragged through their hit and run tactics.
On its website, the Wombles give detailed legal advice on how to sidestep the anti-disruption injunction including tactics aimed at preventing it being served on other protesters.
These include advising supporters not to turn up with any material produced by Plane Stupid.
There have been unconfirmed reports of other forms of guerilla activity being planned including sending hoax packages to maximize disruption.
Camp for Climate Action has promised that it will not invade Heathrow's two runways, but no other assurances have been given on the tactics it will adopt – let alone other groups who are not even affiliated to it.
Leila Harris, a spokeswoman for the camp, said illegal protest could not be ruled out, although she insisted passenger safety would not be put at risk.
Meanwhile a Downing Street warned that it regarded any attempt to disrupt Heathrow as unacceptable.
A Downing Street spokesman said: "People do have a right to protest in this country but the Government believes action that would disrupt the running of Heathrow would be unacceptable."
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