London

Black Lives Matter Heathrow protesters found guilty

Black Lives Matter protesters lying on the road which has brought traffic heading to Heathrow airport to a standstill Image copyright @WailQ
Image caption Protesters blocked the southbound spur road at the height of the summer holiday

Nine Black Lives Matter protesters who blocked a road to Heathrow Airport have been found guilty of wilful obstruction of the highway.

The group chained themselves together across the M4 southbound spur road to the west London airport in August 2015.

A court heard the protest caused "utter chaos" leading to "a huge amount of stationary traffic" southbound.

The nine protesters each denied the charge. They were ordered to pay between £261 and £523 each.

Willesden Magistrates Court heard how four protesters held a large banner across the road and chanted "Black Lives Matter".

Six others formed a human chain on the ground by linking their arms inside hollowed fire extinguishers filled with wire mesh and concrete.

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Media captionAmateur video shows Black Lives Matter campaigners trying to obstruct the slip road to Heathrow airport

The defendants were:

  • Sita Balani, 29, of Southwark, south-east London
  • Liam Barrington-Bush, 32, of Tottenham, north London
  • Aditi Jaganathan, 27, of Tottenham, north London
  • Ewa Jasiewicz, 38, of Tower Hamlets, east London
  • Naomi Mabita, 23, of Manchester
  • Aadam Muuse, 24, of no fixed address
  • Alison Playford, 38, of Greenford, Middlesex
  • Joshua Virasami, 26, of Hounslow, Middlesex
  • Mark Weaver, 36, of Beverley, East Yorkshire

Taylor Offoh, 20, from Penge, had already accepted a caution.

Speaking after the conviction Joshua Virasami said the protest had "worked" as it had reignited "a conversation around the violence of institutional racism".

The protest marked the fifth anniversary of the death of Mark Duggan who was shot dead by police in Tottenham, sparking riots across England.

Image copyright @WailQ
Image caption Black Lives Matter protesters brought traffic heading to Heathrow airport to a standstill

The Black Lives Matter movement began in the US in 2012 after George Zimmerman was found not guilty of murdering Trayvon Martin in Florida.

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