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Protester leads firefighters and soldiers on ’20-minute’ chase

Extinction Rebellion protester leads firefighters and soldiers on an extraordinary ’20-minute’ chase after cycling down an air show runway

  • Christopher Maunder said the show was an ‘immoral display on military might’
  • He cycled onto track during an airshow to protest use of planes as entertainment
  • ‘We shouldn’t be flying across the world to travel anywhere and we really shouldn’t be flying military aircraft which is used to kill people’ he said  

An Extinction Rebellion protester claims he out ran the members of the military and firefighters for 20 minutes while he was chased for protesting a naval airshow. 

Christopher Maunder says he was chased down a runway for claiming the show was an ‘immoral display on military might’.

The activist was arrested on suspicion aggravated trespass after cycling on to the Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton Air Day in Somerset.

Christopher Maunder says he was chased down a runway for claiming the show was an ‘immoral display on military might’

‘Flying planes is a damaging thing to do anyway, flying them just for entertainment is immoral at this time,’ he said. 

An Extinction Rebellion spokesperson has since said the ‘peaceful’ protest was not official action directed by the South Somerset branch. 

Clad in shorts, and a high-visibility jacket and holding up a banner, the climate change activist cycled through the airfield on a mountain bike before in an extraordinary 20 minute chase as crews chased him in a fire engine before switching to being on foot. 

He told Somerset Live: ‘Fire crews gave chase first and then I’m not sure whether it was the Army, Navy or members of the Royal Air Force. We are in a climate emergency and flying aircraft for entertainment is just wrong.

The activist was arrested on suspicion aggravated trespass after cycling on to the Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton Air Day in Somerset

‘We are in Somerset where a climate emergency has been declared and this sort of thing shouldn’t be happening, and that’s the reason behind doing it.

‘When I arrived I rang the airfield tower beforehand to warn them and to make sure there was no danger or accidents. We timed it for the half-an-hour break between planes arriving and the start of the display and were fully certain this was not going to cause any danger to anyone.

‘And once I was on, it was a case of keeping going while I could.’

Clad in shorts, and a high-visibility jacket and holding up a banner, the climate change activist cycled through the airfield on a mountain bike before in an extraordinary 20 minute chase as crews chased him in a fire engine before switching to being on foot

He added to the BBC : ‘We shouldn’t be flying across the world to travel anywhere and we really shouldn’t be flying military aircraft which is used to kill people.

‘They are used to bring death and destruction and by their mere use they are damaging the atmosphere within which we live.

‘Really, what is there to celebrate or find entertaining?’  

He continued that control tower staff were shocked when they heard he was planning the protest, but engines were switched off in helicopters for his safety. 

‘We shouldn’t be flying across the world to travel anywhere and we really shouldn’t be flying military aircraft which is used to kill people. They are used to bring death and destruction and by their mere use they are damaging the atmosphere within which we live’ the protester said

‘The fire truck was chasing me around and then the men were, but they couldn’t keep up and then the bike broke so they caught me. The whole point is to raise awareness and to make them understand what the state of emergency means.’

He will face summons at a magistrates court at a yet to be fixed date.  

The annual air day event attracts about 40,000 people to the Somerset base and sees displays of planes from around the world.   

 

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