At this years recent climate camp at Heathrow, activists from around the country gathered to protest over the proposed third runway expansion. I joined them in their protest against the third runaway and against the destruction of the planet that we are all witnessing.
There was a heavy police presence at the climate camp, many protestors complained of police attempts to harass and intimidate the campaigners. Police were using anti-terror laws to stop and search protestors. I myself was detained under the terrorism act and searched, my camera taken off me. The police literally attacked me for my camera, four of them grabbed my arms in an attempt separate the camera from my grasp. They were unable to since I am extremely strong – it’s down to my mums chapattis- finally after negotiating with them, they let me go and I gave then my camera because they told me I had to under the terrorism act. The police proceeded to delete some of my pictures. I told the police I was a journalist but they carried on anyway and when they finally handed back my camera, the police denied deleting any pictures! When reading through my form that the police handed me, the reason stated for me being stopped was ‘fits profile’ when writing this the officer stopped and showed hesitation but then continued adding ’of protestors at climate camp’. It seems that the government and police fear eco-terrorists, this would explain the use of draconian laws to stop and harass climate camp campaigners.
However there was a friendly atmosphere within the camp and the mood remained up beat. We were joined by the independent journalist Johann Harri, and the author George Monbiot. Workshops ranged from activism to super gluing techniques. One of the workshops that was well attended was the ‘faith and environmentalism’ workshop which was run by Ifees (Islamic foundation for ecological and environmental studies). People were intrigued to how religion and spirituality can play a role in environmental activism.
The climate camp was more than just compost toilets, tents and vegan food, it had a very serious message. Activists recognise that climate change is just a number of problems that we are facing at this current point in time. As governments spend billions on war, leaving peoples to suffer with the consequences of depleted uranium, where corporations are able to act with impunity, there seems to be no accountability to the people of this world. At the climate camp many activists acknowledged that the root cause of all our problems is Capitalism. In my opinion, it is the capitalist market that allows corporations to influence and control governments, allowing them to pollute the Earth. It is the capitalist system that breeds the oppression and injustice around the world. We are witnessing a battle for the world’s resources. The world is running out of oil and there is an ever increasing demand for clean drinking water. We must first acknowledge the threat that we are facing as a society and human race, and then set out to tackle the root causes.
All in all, I enjoyed my self, and will defiantly be attending the next climate camp, that is as long as I am not detained or arrested for fitting the ‘profile’. Perhaps the Muslim community was just a testing ground for the anti-terror laws the real target was any voices of dissent – activists of any kind.