Nine people have been arrested after climate change activists planned on disrupting Heathrow using drones.
Three women and six men - aged between their 20s and the 60s - were arrested in the early hours of Friday on suspicion of conspiracy to commit a public nuisance within the perimeter of Heathrow Airport, the Metropolitan Police said.
Environmental protest group, Heathrow Pause, a splinter group of the Extinction Rebellion movement, said it intended to fly the devices in the 5km zone around the transport hub.
The arrests followed five pre-emptive arrests on Thursday, when officers caught suspected would-be pilots, including Extinction Rebellion co-founder, Roger Hallam, ahead of the planned action.
Scotland Yard said a dispersal order had been put in place at Heathrow until 4.30am on Sunday “to prevent criminal activity which poses a significant safety and security risk to the airport”, and a large police presence was seen in the airport area on Friday morning.
In the early hours of Friday, a live stream was shared on a Heathrow Pause Twitter account, showing two people struggling to get a drone off the ground.
The two men, filming themselves near a road, said they were experiencing “a technical glitch”.
The device could be seen flashing red and green lights as the men held it above their head, but did not make it into the air.
Meanwhile, planes landed at Heathrow as normal, with the first flights touching down just before 5am.
Earlier this week, a senior Metropolitan officer said advised Heathrow passengers to travel as normal and said they were “confident” disruption would be kept to a minimum.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor said: “We will be arresting anybody who commits unlawful offences.
“We are really clear that it is unlawful, it is a criminal offence, and anybody who turns up expecting to fly drones in that exclusion zone will be arrested.”
Friday morning’s plans were the latest in a string of climate change protests this year, including the widespread action in London in April, which saw Extinction Rebellion bring sites including Oxford Circus and Waterloo Bridge to a standstill.
Tweeting on Friday morning, Heathrow Pause More confirmed that it plans to disrupt more flights today.