The runway of London Stansted Airport was closed during the night after protesters ran out to prevent a plane carrying eight deportees from taking off.

The campaign groups End Deportations, Plane Stupid and activists from Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants said 14 activists had locked themselves to a tripod to stop a “mass deportation charter flight” to Nigeria and Ghana.

A spokesman for Stansted confirmed the runway had been closed at about 10pm, resulting in several flights being cancelled or diverted to other airports in the London area.

The plane targeted by protesters was on a remote stand at the opposite side of the airport to the passenger terminal and was not a scheduled commercial flight, he said.

Commercial flights resumed late on Tuesday night after police had conducted checks of the compound.

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