The extraordinary moment troops chased cycling protester on runway at RNAS Yeovilton Air Day

These pictures show the extraordinary moment fire fighters and members of the military chased an environmental protester along an air show runway – for an alleged 20 minutes. Christopher Maunder, who was acting under the banner of Extinction Rebellion, carried out the protest at RNAS Yeovilton Air Day this afternoon (Saturday, July 13) because he believes flying military aircraft for entertainment purposes is ‘immoral’[1]. He was arrested on suspicion aggravated trespass for his high jinx, which saw him cycle along an air strip to raise awareness of the climate emergencies which are being declared.

Dressed in shorts, a high-visibility jacket and banners with the Extinction Rebellion hourglass hanging from his arms, he is seen cycling along the airfield on an orange mountain bike. Christopher describes the moment fire crews gave chase in their fire engine – before deciding it would be more effective on foot. Then it appears members of the military joined the hot pursuit and Christopher was soon caught after his chain broke.

Mr Maunder, who described it as a peaceful protest which was not sanctioned by Extinction Rebellion South Somerset, of which he is a member, said: “Fire crews gave chase first and then I’m not sure whether it was the Army, Navy or members of the Royal Air Force. “We are in a climate emergency and flying aircraft for entertainment is just wrong. “We are in Somerset where a climate emergency has been declared and this sort of thing shouldn’t be happening, and that’s the reason behind doing it.

“When I arrived I rang the airfield tower beforehand to warn them and to make sure there was no danger or accidents. We timed it for the half-an-hour break between planes arriving and the start of the display and were fully certain this was not going to cause any danger to anyone.

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Yeovil Rebellion Day earlier this year

“And once I was on, it was a case of keeping going while I could.” Christopher said control tower personnel were baffled when he told them he was planning this protest, but said the message was clearly conveyed because engines were switched off in the closest helicopters.

“Once you’re doing it, you don’t realise (the time), but I was on the bike for around 15 to 20 minutes,” he said. “The fire truck was chasing me around and then the men were, but they couldn’t keep up and then the bike broke so they caught me. “The whole point is to raise awareness and to make them understand what the state of emergency means.”

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References

  1. ^ because he believes flying military aircraft for entertainment purposes is ‘immoral’ (www.somersetlive.co.uk)
  2. ^ Facebook (www.somersetlive.co.uk)
  3. ^ Twitter (www.somersetlive.co.uk)
  4. ^ here (www.facebook.com)
  5. ^ here (www.facebook.com)
  6. ^ @BathLive (twitter.com)
  7. ^ @SomersetLive (twitter.com)

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