ECO-WARRIORS wept as they tried to shut down Heathrow Airport at the start of the Easter holidays today, but their protest failed to disrupt flights.
Climate-change activists from Extinction Rebellion (XR) activists sobbed as they were faced by police at Britain’s busiest airport on Good Friday morning.
The group had plotted to close Heathrow with up to 800,000 passengers due to travel over the Bank Holiday weekend.
But the demonstration fizzled out without a single flight cancelled, with an Extinction Rebellion organiser insisting it had caused “emotional disruption”.
Home secretary Sajid Javid told police they can use the “full force of the law” to stop illegal protests over the Easter break.
This morning, up to 20 protesters – many of them under the age of 17 – stood by the tunnel that leads to Terminals 2 and 3, but roads nearby remained open.
Around 15 children held a huge banner which read “Are we the last generation?” as they gathered at a roundabout near Heathrow terminals two and three.
One boy told Sky News: “I don’t want to be the last generation.
I’ve told you I’m here out of love and out of fear and from that comes courage, and that’s why I’m here, that’s why I’m here.”
A girl said: “It’s about the message that we’re trying to send, and that is that we are very possibly the last generation and that our futures have been stolen, the lives we thought we would be able to lead have been taken
Robin Ellis-Cockcroft, 24, an Extinction Rebellion Youth organiser, said they created “emotional disruption”.
He added that no more Extinction Rebellion protests would take place today.
He said: “This is it. The idea is that we said we were going to disrupt Heathrow.
“The thing that’s disruptive is the truth of what’s happening to our generation, the truth of what those 14 year olds are going to face in the future. That’s the point.
“That’s what should be in people’s minds all the time. It should throw everyone out of their ordinary lives.
“It should be as disruptive as anything else, more disruptive than a bunch of people wandering around in the road. It’s like life-changingly disruptive.
“That’s the point, that’s what we’re here for. We said we’d disrupt Heathrow and we’ve disrupted Heathrow. We’ve disrupted the narrative of everyday life.
“We’ve disrupted the idea that we can just carry on and this climate crisis is something we can just ignore and talk about later. It’s an emotional disruption.
“The point of this is reaching people on an emotional level.”
Later today, Extinction Rebellion is planning a “Day of Love” march from London’s Eros Statue at Piccadily Circus to Oxford Circus.
During four days of demonstrations XR campaigners have brought chaos to the streets of London.
They were joined on Thursday by Oscar-winning actor and environmentalist Emma Thompson, who flew 5,400-miles to be at the protests.
But cops were ready to intercept them as they descended on Heathrow, with some activists bursting into tears.
Others hugged each other in a bizarre emotional outpouring of emotion.
Protesters were told to take a specific train out of London and meet at a petrol station near Heathrow.
Dozens of police officers were massed at the airport as the protesters arrived.
But passengers whose plans are disrupted have been warned by a lawyer that they are unlikely to be able to get compensation.
Rebecca Kellett tweeted: “Having to go into Heathrow terminal 5 instead of 2 because of the protesters.
“Traffic is horrific, police and TV crews everywhere. If you’re travelling today, get here early”.
Police have been given the green light by the home secretary to use the “full force of the law” against the climate change protesters.
More than 1,000 extra police officers have been policing XR demonstrations in London this week.
Some have been working 12-hour shifts, while rest days and leave have been cancelled.
There have been more than 570 arrests since Monday, with eight people charged.
Last night, the Met warned Extinction Rebellion that any members who return to protests after being released will be arrested again.
Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Nick Ephgrave warned the protests are “increasing in intensity”.
He added: “Protesters can expect a robust police response. We are determined to keep the airport operating.”
Mr Javid said he would “totally condemn” protesters who broke the law.
He added: “They have no right to cause misery for the millions of people who are trying to lead their daily lives.
“Unlawful behaviour will not be tolerated.
“I expect the police to take a firm stance and use the full force of the law. They have my full backing in doing so.”
Activists – who have already caused chaos across the capital by blocking landmarks for the past four days – said they were “raising the bar” to target Heathrow.
In internal messages sent yesterday, protesters were told: “Tomorrow we raise the bar. We are going to shut down Heathrow.”