Britain’s Metropolitan Police arrested nine Black Lives Matter U.K. activists at London City Airport on Tuesday after their demonstration shut down the airport.
According to police, the protesters chained themselves to a tripod on a runway, causing delays, and now face several charges, including aggravated trespassing.
The activists, who are all White, weren’t protesting racial injustice or a police shooting of an unarmed Black man. Their grievance, as their protest banner indicated, was climate change. They wanted to “highlight the U.K.’s environmental impact on the lives of Black people locally and globally,” insisting that “climate crisis is a racist crisis.”
According to the group, the U.K. contributes more per capita to climate change than any other country, yet it is among the least affected. They argue that sub-Saharan Africans are the most vulnerable.
One of the triggers for the protest is a plan to expand London City Airport, which they say will create greater pollution in the deprived communities of color located near the airport.
But the protesters’ race raised eyebrows. Some people are wondering whether White environmentalists are misusing Black Lives Matter to promote their own cause.
Others are calling for better leadership of the U.K. branch of the movement to prevent that type of protest.