On Friday, nine protestors were convicted of causing a disturbance at Aberdeen Airport. The defendants, all from the Plane Stupid campaign group, were charged with disturbing the peace, and could be sent to prison when sentencing begins in August.
Plane Stupid has busied itself with ‘bringing the aviation industry back down to earth’ since its creation in 2005. The group claims to favour non-violent direct action, taking inspiration from Nelson Mandela’s fight against apartheid and a string of other people that have come to be revered for their courage in the face of adversity.
‘If it wasn’t for direct action, Mandela would still be in jail. India would still be a British colony and Rosa Park’s grandkids would be at the back of the bus,’ explains the group’s mysterious founder, Barry. Plane Stupid isn’t changing the world though – the group offers minor acts of vandalism as a deterrent to building new runways.
The incident at Aberdeen Airport last year was in response to plans by US billionaire, Donald Trump, to build a £750m golf complex near the Scottish city. Protestors broke into the airport during the early hours, scaled the roof of the terminal, and played golf on the taxiway. Bosses claim that around 20 flights were delayed.
Police managed to arrest the campaigners after a constable (wrongly) informed the group’s leader that their presence was preventing an air ambulance from reaching its destination. Plane Stupid then went to court on Friday convinced of a legal victory similar to that won by Greenpeace at Kingsnorth Power Station in 2008.
The famous campaign group managed to convince a jury that direct action and minor vandalism could be justified with evidence for accelerating climate change. Plane Stupid used a similar defence in its trial on Friday, but the court was not convinced, and ruled against the nine defendants.
A spokesperson for Aberdeen emphasised that the airport was not taking a stand against climate campaigners, but against individuals and groups who acted ‘irresponsibly.’