The Brandenburg Police Headquarters announced on request that the climate activists would be charged with dangerous interventions in air traffic, trespassing and property damage. There were initially no further details, such as the number of people involved.
Due to the blockade, five starts had to be canceled, according to the airport, further cancellations are possible (as of 7:00 p.m.). 15 planned landings were diverted to Leipzig and Dresden. The delays in flight operations are expected to continue throughout the evening. The situation in the terminals themselves was said to be calm.
Climate activists from the “Last Generation” group had previously gained access to the airport grounds at around 4:00 p.m. and paralyzed flight operations. As of 5.30 p.m., the first flights with delays were reported on the website of Berlin Airport (BER). The Flightradar website also showed that individual planes were circling not far from BER or that planes with earlier departure times were still on the ground. An airport spokesman was unable to provide any information on the number of flights affected.
First of all, no restrictions
Initially, the airport had not reported any restrictions on flight operations. According to a spokesman for the airport, the activists were on a taxiway – i.e. an access road for aircraft – quite close to the old Schönefeld Airport, quoted the “Berliner Morgenpost”.
Apparently, the runways had to be temporarily closed in the late afternoon. BER announced this on the short message service Twitter. The situation on the spot has changed in the meantime, the spokesman said. The German federal police confirmed that several people were on the airport site. At around 6:15 p.m. the all-clear was given.
Action streamed live on Twitter
The activists streamed the action live on Twitter. There they could be seen cutting through a fence and entering the airport grounds shortly after 4 p.m. They then held banners up to the camera and explained their motives. Activists were also seen gluing themselves to the ground.
Shortly before entering the airport premises, the police were informed about the project via an emergency call, the climate activists said. About ten minutes after the start of the action, blue lights could be seen in the live stream, and a little later police officers could also be heard.
Climate activists paralyzed air traffic
Berlin Airport had to stop flight operations for a few hours due to an action by climate activists. Activists from the Last Generation group streamed the action live on Twitter. There they could be seen cutting through a fence and entering the airport grounds shortly after 4 p.m. They then held banners up to the camera and explained their motives. Activists were also seen gluing themselves to the ground.
Politicians criticize the procedure: “New escalation”
German Transport Minister Volker Wissing sharply criticized the actions of the activists. The right to demonstrate is a fundamental right, but the actions are becoming “more and more unscrupulous,” said the FDP politician in the evening via a spokeswoman. “Society cannot accept such behavior.” The rule of law must “take decisive action”.
The German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser spoke of a “renewed escalation”. “These actions destroy important social acceptance for the fight against climate change,” said the SPD politician. A spokeswoman for the airport association ADV said there was no understanding of the protest actions. “It is unacceptable when air traffic safety is jeopardized.”
Brandenburg’s Interior Minister Michael Stübgen said that the action could not be justified by anything. “I stand by it: anyone who intentionally puts others at risk for their worldview is not an activist, but a criminal,” said the CDU politician. CSU regional group leader Alexander Dobrindt also spoke of a “new escalation”. “By penetrating the security area and occupying the runway, they are not only putting themselves in serious danger, but also hundreds of passengers in the air and on the ground, and are also causing considerable economic damage. This is absolutely unacceptable and requires a tough response from the rule of law.”
Glued to the conductor’s desk in the Elbphilharmonie
Most recently, activists of the “last generation” glued themselves to a conductor’s desk in the German Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg shortly before the start of a concert on Wednesday evening. In a video that the group shared on Twitter, a woman and a man can be seen, each wearing a safety vest, standing at the lectern on stage and speaking to the audience. The activists once again called for resistance to what they saw as the government’s indecisive climate policy.
Searches after attack in Dresden
Around three months after the attack by climate activists in the Old Masters Picture Gallery in Dresden in Germany, there were also searches in Leipzig on Thursday. The aim of the operation, in which more than 60 officers from the German State Criminal Police Office, the police and the riot police took part, was to find evidence, as the public prosecutor’s office in Dresden and the State Criminal Police Office in Saxony announced.
The background is investigations against a 22-year-old woman and two men aged 22 and 29 on suspicion of damaging property. The accused and one of the men are said to have glued their hands to the frame of the painting “Sistine Madonna” with superglue on August 23. The 22-year-old is said to have given the two a banner with the inscription “Last generation” in their free hands, he also filmed the action and distributed it on social networks. The damage caused by the action is estimated at around 4,000 euros.
Actions polarize across Europe
In recent weeks, climate activists have caused a stir across Europe with various actions. They blocked roads and attacked paintings by Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet and Francisco Goya, among others. In Milan, four members of the “Last Generation” group recently scattered eight kilograms of flour on a car designed by pop artist Andy Warhol. At the Warhol exhibition, they then taped their hands to the ground next to the vehicle.
The actions are intended to achieve a stronger commitment against global warming. Whether and to what extent the actions of the activists can be justified is currently the subject of numerous debates in the media and politics. “When there are complaints about the radicalization of the movement, it is usually about the means,” said Robin Celikates, professor of social philosophy at the Free University of Berlin. The previous protest practices are “still relatively moderate” in historical and international comparison.
The impression of radicalization is “mainly due to the fact that there are more blockages in road traffic or publicity actions in art museums that are designed to disrupt and provoke in order to interrupt everyday life, generate public attention and build up political pressure”.