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Saturday, 11 August 2007

Police to use terror laws on Heathrow climate protesters

Armed police will use anti-terrorism powers to "deal robustly" with climate change protesters at Heathrow next week, as confrontations threaten to bring major delays to the already overstretched airport.

Up to 1,800 extra officers will be drafted in to prevent an estimated 1,500 people disrupting the airport over the period of the camp for climate change, which is due to begin on Tuesday. The police have been told to use stop and search powers against the protesters, who have pledged to take direct action on August 18 and 19 but not to endanger life.

The Metropolitan police chief, Sir Ian Blair, has said he fears a minority of protesters intent on breaking the law could cause massive disruption as Heathrow prepares for its busiest week of the year. Yesterday Met commander Jo Kaye, in charge of the specialist firearms unit, said some people would "want to get their message across using criminal means".
Scotland Yard's plans for handling the protests are revealed in a document seen by the Guardian, which was produced by Met commander Peter Broadhurst during a legal hearing at the high court which imposed restrictions on a number of named campaigners. London Guardian