Over three thousand people opposed to Heathrow expansion marched on Saturday 31 May from Hatton Cross to Sipson, the village which would be destroyed were a third runway to be built. We were spared the travesty of Boris Johnson leading the march, though some near the front endured a dreary letter of solidarity from Archbishop Rowan Williams, who also couldn’t attend.
The demo, organised by a coalition of local and environmental campaigns, was smaller than expected, despite a rain free day. This was apparent when we were shepherded into a field for the planned aerial coverage — and could only really form the outline of the word “No”. It was nonetheless an upbeat and colourful demo, well supported locally.
There was a small labour movement presence, with RMT flags sourced by a Workers’ Climate Action activist. This despite opposition on branch and national level in some unions. A leaflet from the WCA network was distributed making the case for a workers-led ‘just transition’ for the aviation industry. Workers’ Liberty leaflets made the socialist case against expansion, on the basis of international workers’ solidarity against climate change. Climate camp activists were there in force. They are planning a conference in Heathrow in July to secure a broad mandate for direct action to stop construction should the contract go ahead.