London airport protest grounds flights

The airport hopes to resume flights as soon as possible. By late morning, 16 flights were cancelled and 12 were delayed. After creating a tripod, nine activist "locked themselves together" on the runway, BBC News reported.

Flights from the airport, which is popular with Irish commuters and business people, were grounded for six hours because of the disturbance.

The protesters, who claim to be acting in support of Black Lives Matter UK, are said to have got onto the tarmac at the airport after using a boat to sail across the Royal Docks.

Scotland Yard is now investigating how the activists gained access to the the runway.

The Met Police said officers had arrested seven protesters.

British Airways said it was taking longer than normal to process customers at Heathrow and Gatwick near London but did not comment on social media reports that there were also major delays in San Francisco, Washington DC and Atlanta. Earlier reports said there had also been delays overseas.

More news: European Central Bank weighs stimulus as inflation lags

In an emailed statement, the group claimed responsibility for the protest and said it was taken to "highlight the UK's environmental impact on the lives of black people locally and globally".

The Black Lives Matter U.K. group came to prominence last month when they staged a series of roadblocks, including outside Heathrow Airport, the country's busiest hub. Climate change, it said, was creating huge numbers of climate refugees.

Black Lives Matter UK said the centrally located airport was planning to expand its capacity, which would negatively affect the surrounding community in one of London's most deprived areas.

According to them, the airport has interests in relation to people who provide financial services, thus facilitating helping the wealthy, " while 28 percent of the British population is black and is more likely to be exposed to air pollution ... the environmental inequality is a racial crisis.

Shortly after noon the airport announced that the runway has been reopened.

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