Just Stop Oil protesters target private airfield 'where Taylor Swift's jet landed hours earlier'

20 June 2024, 06:48 | Updated: 20 June 2024, 10:18

Two people have been arrested after Just Stop Oil protesters painted several private jets orange at an airfield - where they claim Taylor Swift's jet landed just hours before.

It's not clear if Swift's jet was one of those that has been targeted by the eco-protesters, who said they are demanding an "emergency treaty" to end the use of fossil fuels by 2030.

In a statement, Stansted Airport said Essex Police had arrested two people and "as a precaution runway operations were suspended for a short period".

"Shortly after 5am, Essex Police arrested two protesters who had entered the private aviation area of the airfield, away from the runway and main passenger terminal," a spokesperson said.

The spokesperson said "no flights were disrupted, and the airport and flights are operating as normal".

Essex Police said two planes were damaged and officers were on the scene "within minutes".

Just Stop Oil posted videos on social media of them breaking into the private airfield at Stansted Airport, where they said the star's jet was stationed.

Swift has three shows as part of her worldwide Eras Tour at Wembley Stadium in London on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, having performed in Cardiff this week - though it isn't clear if her plane was one of those targeted.

The footage shows two protesters, named by the activists as Jennifer Kowalski and Cole Macdonald, cutting a hole in a fence and spraying orange paint over planes.

In a warning of further demonstrations, the group said areas of "key importance to the fossil fuel economy" will be targeted around the world this summer unless leaders "act to protect us".

On Thursday morning's incident, Just Stop Oil said: "At around 5am Jennifer Kowalski and Cole Macdonald entered the private airfield at Stansted airport where Swift's jet is currently stationed.

"The pair painted two private jets using fire extinguishers filled with orange paint."

Ms Maconald, 22, from Brighton, said in a statement shared by the group we are "living in two worlds" - one where billionaires live in luxury and another where "countless millions" endure "unliveable conditions".

Sustainability manager from Dumbarton Ms Kowalski, 28, said we all "have to be considering what we can do each day to change the course our society is on".

Essex Police confirmed two women, aged 22 and 28, have been arrested on suspicion of criminal damage and interference with the use or operation of national infrastructure.

Read more:
World breaching key 1.5C threshold for past year
Europe swelters in heatwaves as UK remains cool

Chief Superintendent Simon Anslow said police presence will be "heightened" at the airport this summer and added the force is "not anti-protest" but will "always take action where criminal acts take place".

"I would like to reassure passengers and the wider public that we are well prepared and resourced to deal with incidents of this nature," he added.

"Almost immediately after we were made aware of this incident, which took place away from the main passenger terminal, we were on the scene."

Yesterday Just Stop Oil sprayed orange paint on Stonehenge.

And there could yet be more incidents, as the group warned of "resistance" this summer if the government does not take "meaningful action".

"Whilst governments are allowing oil corporations to run amok destroying our communities, the actions of individuals mean very little," the group said.

"That's why Just Stop Oil is demanding that our next government sign up to a legally binding treaty to phase out fossil fuels by 2030.

"Failure to defend the people they represent will mean Just Stop Oil supporters, along with citizens from Austria, Canada, Norway, the Netherlands and Switzerland will join in resistance this summer, if their own governments do not take meaningful action."