Climate Protesters Arrested for Blockading the Boston-area Airport

Twenty climate activists were arrested Saturday morning when they closed Hanscom Field in Bedford, preventing boarding points and planes from taking off, authorities said.

About 40 members of Extinction Rebellion from Massachusetts and Vermont protested a proposal to add 17 hangars for private jets at the regional airport, the group said.

“Extinction Rebellion condemns the new fossil fuel infrastructure that will operate for decades, keeping us from reaching carbon emissions and threatening us with runaway global warming and an uninhabitable Earth,” the organization said in a statement. the explanation.

Massachusetts State Police said some activists crossed a security perimeter on the asphalt. Both state and local police responded to the scene.

“We have made 20 arrests for trespassing, disorderly conduct and possibly other related charges,” said David Procopio, state police spokesman.

Massachusetts Port Authority, which oversees Hanscom Field, also said protesters had reportedly entered the airport.

“As a precaution, the airport is temporarily closed. State Police are investigating,” Jennifer Mehigan, director of media relations for Massport, said in an email.

Information about the arrest was not immediately available Saturday.

The scene was cleared by mid-afternoon. Bedford police said on Facebook there was no danger to the community, but more patrols were planned throughout the day.

Photos and videos posted to X by Extinction Rebellion Boston showed protesters hold banners with slogans such as “ban private jets” and “no new fossil fuel infrastructure.”

The proposed expansion, which is being considered by Massport, includes adding new hangars for private jets.

Developers released a draft environmental impact report earlier this month, and public comments are being accepted until May 10. Extinction Rebellion Boston said this protest is their commentary on that.

“The people of Massachusetts do not want this, and sending letters to Massport does not get the message across,” the group’s statement said.

Other local efforts pose challenges to development. A coalition called Stop Private Jet Expansion at Hanscom or Anywhere has circulated a petition demanding Healey stop the expansion. According to the website, there are more than 14,000 signatures so far.

Abigail Lee can be reached at [email protected].