Protesters at Home Office stand in solidarity with the Stansted 15

Hundreds of protesters gather outside the UK's Home Office in London chanting "stop deportations" on Tuesday evening in support of the 'Stanstead 15' – the group of political activists who blocked a deportation flight from London Stansted Airport to Nigeria in March 2017.

More than 1,200 said on Facebook they were attending the protest, which began around 5:30pm. "Wear pink in solidarity," the event page instructed.

The group was convicted of disrupting flights and “endangering an aerodrome” at Chelmsford Crown Court on Monday, releasing a statement shortly afterwards that said, "we are guilty of nothing more than intervening to prevent harm."

On March 28, 2017, the Stanstead 15 cut through a fence at Stanstead Airport to block a flight chartered by the Home Office to deport 60 people to Nigeria, Ghana and Sierra Leone. As a result of their actions, 11 of them remain in the UK.

In an open letter to the Guardian on Tuesday, their supporters (including Diane Abbott, Phillip Pullman, Emma Thompson and Caroline Lucas) called on the UK government to "end its inhumane hostile environment policies and to end its shameful deportation charter flights."

"We also call for the Stansted 15 to be spared prison," they added.