Self-exiled Maldives ex-pres in Heathrow protest

Former President Mohamed Nasheed who is in self exile in the UK has taken part in a protest against the building of a new runway in Heathrow Airport.

Environmental activists disrupted the west London airport's M4 spur road as a number of groups demonstrated on Saturday over the government's recent decision to approve a third runway.

Avas understands that Nasheed addressed the protesters after he had announced on Twitter that he would be speaking "about the need for a low carbon strategy at the rally" on Saturday.

According to the English media 15 people had been arrested for obstructing the highway or public order offences. Nasheed however, was not among those taken into custody.

Protesters from the environmental organisation Rising Up! also locked themselves together as they blocked the East Ramp road near the airport.

Other campaigners gathered on the flyover to chant "No ifs, no buts, no third runway" and "No more runways".

A spokeswoman for Heathrow said: "Independent analysis by the Airports Commission has found that building and operating an additional runway at Heathrow is compatible with the UK meeting its long-term climate change reduction targets.

"The Independent Committee on Climate Change has also shown that a 60% growth in passenger numbers in the United Kingdom can be achieved within the UK's Climate Change Targets."

Nasheed serving 13 years in prison for the arbitrary arrest and subsequent detention of a sitting judge while he was president was allowed to leave to Britain for medical treatment in an internationally brokered deal in January after the ex-president's doctors claimed that he developed spinal cord problems that required specialist surgery not available in the archipelago.