Struggles, United Kingdom

Eco-activists on trial for civil disobedience

This will be the second court appearance after the case on the 11th December last year where 11 demonstrators were declared guilty for obstructing a road at Manchester Airport.

On the 21st February another six activists will stand trial for the same charges after invading one of Manchester Airport’s runways. The events took place in May 2010 when the protesters were peacefully demonstrating against the planned expansion of the World Freight Centre at Manchester Airport, which was temporarily halted by the action.

The protest, held by the Manchester Plane Stupid group, intended to bring to a halt the air traffic of an airport which generates around five million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions every year and to confront the expansion plans, which would involve the destruction of homes and areas of biological diversity in Greater Manchester. The expansion of the World Freight Centre would imply an increase of 250,000 tonnes of cargo by 2015. The movement against the expansion of Manchester Airport began at the end of 1990.

A group of citizens from Greater Manchester joined together to oppose the expansion of Manchester Airport through marches and actions of civil disobedience; however, in spite of the protests, a second runway was eventually built. Despite this second defeat, emerging movements in the UK opposing airport expansions have succeeding in stopping similar proposals for terminals at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted.

(Translated by Sophie Roper – Email:

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