Campaigners from across the country are attending the court hearing this week to hold a demonstration in support of the Stansted 15 protesters.

Fifteen people, including five from Walthamstow, were arrested in March 15 after they took direct action to support vulnerable people being deported in an action on March 28.

The group cut through the Stansted Airport perimeter fence and locked themselves together around a chartered plane.

They were initially arrested under trespass laws, but the charges were later changed to terror-related offences under the Aviation and Maritime Act 1990 which carries a potential sentence of life imprisonment.

The fifteen protesters were found guilty in December and are being sentenced on Wednesday at Chelmsford Crown Court.

Local trade unionists and campaigners from across the country are planning to attend the court on the day to hold a demonstration in support of the protesters.

One of the 15 protesters convicted Melanie Strickland said: "We knew people on that flight who were in fear of their lives. We took humanitarian action in peacefully stopping that plane to assist them.

"As a result, 11 people were able to secure legal representation and file legal papers to prevent their unlawful deportation.

"These people include trafficking survivors, parents of dependent children and those who seek asylum here. They are human beings and they did not deserve to be treated that way.

"We did what we could, because we know if we were in their position, we'd want people to act to assist us."

The demonstration has been organised by the Waltham Forest Trades Council, an organisation which brings together unions to work and campaign around issues affecting working people in their local workplaces and communities.

Linda Taaffe, Secretary for Waltham Forest Trades Council, said: "These young people do not deserve to be treated with such cruelty. They delayed a plane. They did not carry out anything than can be interpreted as terror-related.

"If the authorities were so worried as to ramp up the charge, why were the 15 allowed out on bail for over a year.

"Whilst the law assists greedy landlords to charge what many would describe as criminal levels of rent, and allows employers to pay criminally low levels of wages, these idealistic young people, only interested in human solidarity, face the full force of the law.

"We cannot let these young people face the court on their own. Waltham Forest’s local labour and trade union movement is organising a Solidarity Coach to go along to be with the defendants. We urge others to join us."