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Protesters Arrested at Heathrow Airport

March 18, 2009 By: Jena Tesse Fox


The Guardian is reporting that two fathers' rights protesters were arrested after they tried to get on to the runway at Heathrow airport. The pair, who made the attempt shortly after 10 a.m., are members of a Fathers 4 Justice splinter group. They allegedly tried to cut through a fence but were stopped before they managed to get through.

The airport's operator, BAA, said the men had been quickly apprehended and arrested and were in police custody.

"The airport's southern runway was suspended for 14 minutes, in the interests of safety," a spokeswoman said. "There has been no substantial impact to the airport's operation…This was a misguided and ultimately unsuccessful attempt to disrupt the travel plans of thousands of Heathrow's passengers, and we condemn the actions of those involved unreservedly."

The retired founder of Fathers 4 Justice, Matt O'Connor, said the pair were fathers' rights protesters. He suggested there could be further protests in the coming months as fathers sought to "take the mantle back" from anti-airport expansion activists Plane Stupid, who have staged a series of high-profile stunts. He claimed he had warned counter-terrorism command at Scotland Yard a month ago that protesters would strike at transport targets, saying he had been visited by officers who questioned him about his and Fathers 4 Justice's activities.

The group, which campaigns for equal parental access to children and has been highly critical of the way fathers are treated in family courts, has in the past been responsible for a string of demonstrations, many involving protesters dressed up in superhero costumes.

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