An update on the "Camp for Climate Action" global-warming protests planned for Tuesday through the following Tuesday near Heathrow Airport, already the most screwed-up major airport in the world:
It's hard to say how many people will show up for the week-long "encampment," which has the potential to further disrupt Heathrow (if that's possible).
In a move widely denounced in London as boneheaded, BAA, the Spanish company that runs the airport, provided copious free publicity to the protest earlier this month when it blustered into the High Court, like Manuel from Fawlty Towers rushing out of a smoke-filled kitchen, babbling about seeking an injunction that would allow police to arrest people on public transit who merely appeared to be headed for the protest.
The High Court, demonstrating why Britain should have thought about getting itself a proper Constitution a long time ago, gave BAA a bit of what it wanted, allowing for the prior restraint of several leaders of the protesting groups. But the sweeping injunction sought by BAA was denied.
However, the publicity will probably do wonders for turn-out.
The umbrella organization for the Climate Camp has now announced the site.
And it's interesting to see that the groups, who had previously maintained that there would be no direct action to disrupt Heathrow, seem to have changed their tune. Now they're promising "civil disobedience" and "direct action" that "will cost the aviation industry dearly." I'd say they have been emboldened by BAA's invincibly stupid reaction to what might otherwise have been a minor event consisting of a couple of hundred eco-zealots in a field clanging pot lids and wailing that "aviation is not a necessity." (Which it isn't, if you've got nowhere to go).
No matter how many people show up, it's difficult to predict what opportunities the more "activist" among them might actually have to take "direct action." Certainly, the police will be mobilized in force. It might well be that the "direct action" consists of disrupting access roads and traffic.
But it could be more.
If I had a choice (and lucky for me I do), I'd avoid Heathrow as much as possible. I'd especially be wary starting this Tuesday. Indications are that the "direct action" part of the protest will be on Sunday, Aug. 19 through Monday, Aug. 20.
And campers: Do Not Enter the Kool-Aid Tent Unless Instructed by the Tranquility Team! Among the Camp's announcements is this bizarre one, under the "Practicalities" section:
"General Camp emergency"
"The camp has an emergency bell which we will demonstrate on site. If you here this alarm, stop what you are doing, stand still, and wait until you get further instructions from the tranquillity team." [Spellings sic]