An Occupy London protester says he was prevented from boarding his flight home for Christmas after airport security discovered he was carrying anarchist literature, the U.K.-based news site the Independent reports.
John Charles Culatto, 34, who is part of the protest group occupying an empty UBS building in London, claims he was told he could not board the Ryanair flight to Malaga, Spain, because the pilot thought he might distribute leaflets and “upset other passengers.”
A spokesman for Avon and Somerset Police confirmed that a 34-year-old man was detained at security on Christmas Eve. Bristol International Airport spokeswoman Jaqui Mills confirms that Culatto was detained in part because of the leaflets he carried:
“The passenger was observed behaving in an unusual way and was carrying a quantity of photocopied leaflets. Security staff were concerned that he may cause disruption by distributing the leaflets on the flight or in the departure lounge. Having agreed to travel without the photocopied leaflets in his hand luggage the passenger was allowed to proceed to the boarding gate. Unfortunately, by this point the flight had closed.”
Culatto says the posters in his bag were related to the anarchist collective Crimethinc. He also said police at the airport told him they had seem him “acting suspiciously” on the airport’s CCTV system while he stopped and spoke to other travelers.
Mills notes that the restriction on leaflets being distributed in the airport terminal applies regardless of the content and that any leafleting at the airport requires prior permission.