Wednesday, February 27, 2008

UK - Security questions after Parliament protest

Security breaches: Heathrow and the UK Parliament

Protests on the Houses of Parliament and recently at Heathrow airport have prompted questions over the security measures in place. Both areas breached by the protesters, who are attempting to stop the Heathrow airport expansion, are in strictly controlled zones and areas which a potential terrorist could wreak havoc. Today several demonstrators from the protest group Plane Stupid managed to make it to the roof of the Houses of Parliament and unfurled banners. One banner read ‘No Third Runway’, another had ‘BAA HQ’ emblazoned upon it. A protester, who identified himself as Leo Murray, talked at length to Sky News but was evasive when asked how he and his colleagues managed to evade security and climb to the roof. The incident comes after Greenpeace breached security at Heathrow and scaled a British Airways Airbus to unfurl a banner.

Today’s protest which started shortly before 10 a.m was covered extensively by Sky with continuing coverage. The BBC cut away after a few minutes while CNN continued with regular programming, showing Larry King Live. CNN did cover the story as of 11:00 GMT with taped pictures from ITN. They too spoke to Leo Murray and gave nearly 5 minutes to the story. The item remained the first item on Sky News, which had so far given one hour and twenty minutes coverage, but it was the second news report on BBC News 24 after the story about the Lincolnshire earthquake. However, the BBC report suffered from constant technical problems throughout the entire 3 minute bulletin.

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