Thursday, February 17, 2011

Runway campaigners to re-unite

Environmental activists who occupied tree-houses and barricaded themselves in underground tunnels during the long running protests against the construction of the second runway at Manchester Airport will be re-united at a public event this Thursday 17 February commemorating the 10th anniversary of the opening of the runway in February 2001.

(Original article from the Manchester Mule)

Hosted by activists from Manchester Climate Action and People and Planet, the evening will see veteran activists from around across the country return to Manchester for an event including a photo and video exhibition from the protest camps, displayed at the University of Manchester Students Union.

Merrick Godhaven, 41, who now lives in Leeds explained why he was returning for the event, "There's a radical history of resistance to power, and that history will never be taught in schools. We have to make the effort to make this people's history live, and see that one generation can take inspiration and practical ideas from what has gone before. The present campaign against Manchester Airport is also a source of inspiration to me. Seeing the new generation of activists team up and share ideas with the older one makes us all stronger and more likely to succeed."

Lance Crookes, who was also involved at the time, and who now lives in Northenden said, "Manchester's council leaders were very vocal when they promised that 50,000 new jobs would be created as a result of the 2nd runway but there has been silence since it opened in 2001."

MULE contacted Manchester Airport for a response on the question of job creation, however they declined to respond.

Simon Bradley, 22, from Manchester People and Planet, “The event not only looks at the rich heritage of environmental activism in Manchester, but also provides a valuable opportunity for today's generation of activists to meet those who were campaigning on the same issues a decade ago. With the airport still at the top of the environmental agenda in Manchester, swapping stories and experiences can help us raise awareness and challenge the Airport's dangerous expansion plans."

The event is being organised in the run up to the trial of six climate activists who breached airside security at Manchester Airport last May – temporarily shutting the airport down. The four day trial begins on Monday 21st February at Trafford Magistrates Court. The defendants are charged with aggravated trespass and will plead not guilty.

"Site Battles: Second Runway at Manchester Airport” will take place on Thursday 17th February at 7.30pm at the University of Manchester Students Union. The event is free and open to members of the public.

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