CLIMATE activists in Malvern staged a candlelit vigil in support of a protestor who has been jailed.

Members of the Malvern Hills Extinction Rebellion group held the protest in support of James Brown, a blind paralympian who climbed on top of a plane at London City Airport in 2019.

He was jailed for at least six months after being sentenced on September 24.

Suzanne Savage, from Extinction Rebellion, said: "James is a father, a successful businessman and disabled rights advocate.

"His real crime is speaking truth to power about the dangers of climate inaction.

"In November, our government will host COP26, a gathering of leaders from around the world who should be committing to ambitious action on the climate crisis.

"But rather than leading by example in the run-up to COP26, our government has jailed a partially-sighted peaceful protestor in order to silence his urgent message."

Members of the group sat in Bellevue Terrace with flickering candles and signs with slogans including "Free James Brown" and "Silenced for speaking the truth over the climate".

At the same time, a protest was held outside HMP Wandsworth, where Mr Brown is imprisoned.

Mrs Savage added: "It’s absolutely shocking that the court has jailed a peaceful activist for this length of time.

"James’ bravery shows the sacrifices many Extinction Rebellion activists are willing to make as the climate and ecological emergency worsens around the world.

"It’s time to end the criminalisation of peaceful climate protestors. Don’t jail the messenger.

"We are facing catastrophic climate breakdown and we must act now to stop the worst effects."

Judge Gregory Perris warned protesters who disrupt people’s lives they “will face serious consequences” as he jailed the former Team GB paralympian, who has been registered blind since birth.

Judge Perrins said Mr Brown, 56, “cynically used” his disability and put his “own life at risk” to carry out the stunt.

The double gold medallist, from Exeter, climbed on to the plane, which was destined for Amsterdam, before gluing his right hand to the aircraft and wedging his mobile phone in the door to prevent it from closing.

Northern Ireland-born Brown live-streamed the protest until he was removed after an hour.