THIS WEEK’S BIG QUESTION: Have the Manchester Airport protestors gone too far?

Runway protesters’ threats have recently verged on the suicidal

Runway protesters’ threats have recently verged on the suicidal

Blake Lee-Harwood

Friends of the Earth

’People do have a right to make this kind of protest and the reason they

are doing it is because they feel excluded from the democratic


They’re making it extremely difficult for the bailiffs to get them out

but that is the nature of direct action. My instinct is that what

they’re doing is not being done with half an eye to the media. It’s the

media that’s interested in them, not the other way around.’

Richard Diment

British Road Federation

’What they have shown is that there is a hard core of protesters who are

opposed to development of whatever sort. Although it’s had a lot of

publicity, I’m not sure anything that’s been done in Manchester hasn’t

already been done by the road protesters. At Newbury there were people

on tree branches with nooses round their necks. But because people feel

less comfortable with protests against airports, the tactics used have

been given more publicity.’

John Vidal

The Guardian

’They haven’t gone nearly far enough. The media still haven’t got the

message that the protesters are trying to put over that the planning

system is utterly corrupt and discredited. Their style of protest is

very particular and unique. It galvanises people and ups the ante

They’re exporting this sort of protest all over the world. We should be

proud of our British tunnellers.’

Charles Stewart-Smith

Luther Pendragon

’The vast majority of these protests are ineffective. In every single

case roads or whatever have been built. The Manchester protesters

haven’t even begun to take the people with them - the vast majority want

the airport to go ahead. The protesters have failed to understand the

nature of democracy. All this has done is turned a few people into


Mark Borkowski

Mark Borkowski Press & PR

’When you’re talking about direct action you have to keep pushing back

the envelope. The people on the ground there are committed to a single

issue. What I find intriguing is that the media is hell-bent on creating

heroes out of them. We should never be surprised at how far direct

action will go.’

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