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Climate activists temporarily paralyze flight operations at BER

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The activist group “Last Generation” regularly blocks streets – now they have temporarily stopped operations at Berlin Airport. Demands for severe consequences followed from politics. Several activists were arrested.

After the climate protest on the grounds of the capital’s BER airport, the police took several supporters of the “Last Generation” activist group into custody. 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 are currently no further details, such as the number of people involved.

Air traffic paralyzed for almost two hours

Climate activists from the “Last Generation” group had previously paralyzed flight operations for almost two hours. According to the federal police, two groups, each consisting of several people, gained access to the airport grounds in the afternoon.

The activists streamed the action live on Twitter. There you could see how they snapped through a fence shortly after 4 p.m. and entered the airport area. They then held banners up to the camera and explained their motives. Activists were also seen gluing themselves to the ground and others riding bicycles. About ten minutes after the start of the action, blue lights could be seen in the live stream, and police officers could also be heard a little later.

Delays at BER are still possible

For this reason, Berlin Airport temporarily stopped operations on both runways. At around 6.15 p.m. the all-clear was given: According to a BER spokesman, both slopes were released again.

By then, five starts had already been cancelled. According to the airport, around 750 passengers were affected. The number could still increase – according to BER, further deletions are also possible. There could also be further delays in the evening.

15 aircraft that should have landed at BER were also diverted to Leipzig and Dresden, for example. The situation in the terminals themselves was said to be calm.

Sharp criticism from politics

Various federal politicians reacted with outrage to the blockade. Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) called for decisive action to be taken against such behavior. The right to demonstrate is a fundamental right, but the actions are becoming “more and more unscrupulous,” said the FDP politician through a spokeswoman.

Society cannot accept such behavior.

The rule of law, on the other hand, must “take decisive action,” Wissing said in a statement.

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 spoke of a “new escalation”. He said: “By penetrating the security area and occupying the tarmac, 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 answer of the rule of law.”

“No legitimate means”

Katja Mast, First Parliamentary Secretary of the SPD in the Bundestag, emphasized: “Our democracy does not work in such a way that I can achieve my goals in the name of a good cause by any means.” An airport blockade is not a legitimate means. “Celebrating yourself on social media for this harms the cause as a whole.”

The activists of the “last generation” had repeatedly blocked road traffic in the past few weeks, stuck themselves to paintings in museums and this week in Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie at a conductor’s podium. Their goal is to draw public attention to the consequences of climate change and to call on politicians to take action. You have already received a lot of criticism for these actions. In a survey, 86 percent of those questioned considered the protests to be counterproductive.

With information from Dietrich Karl Mäurer, ARD Capital Studio Berlin