Munich airport disrupted due to climate protesters

World Saturday 18/May/2024 15:19 PM
By: DW
Munich airport disrupted due to climate protesters

Munich: Police were deployed to the Munich airport on Saturday morning after climate activists, believed to be from the Last Generation movement, disrupted the hub in protest of climate policy.

"The airport is closed for security reasons because climate activists have stuck themselves to the have stuck to the taxiways," said an airport spokesperson.

Initially, all the flights either had to be cancelled or diverted to other airports.

Later, an airport representative said one of the two runways was open but there would be delays.

In a series of posts on the social media platform X, the climate activists posted pictures of members on what appears to be a runway or tarmac with protest signs.

"A total of six people are sitting in two groups on different locations of the Munich airport," the post reads.

Police eventually said eight of the activists were arrested.

'Criminal actions'
German politicians reacted with outrage to the disruption in Munich.

Interior Minister Nancy Faeser, of Chancellor Olaf Scholz's Social Democrats (SPD), described the incidents on messaging platform X, formerly Twitter, as criminal actions endangering air traffic.

She said such actions also did damage to attempts to protect the climate, as many people would react with incomprehension and rage.

"Good, that the federal police took quick action. The culprits must be rigorously prosecuted and protective measures at the airport reviewed," she wrote.

Transport Minister Volker Wissing, from the neoliberal coalition partners the Free Democrats (FDP), called for heavier penalties for those endangering aviation safety. He also decried the protest as illegitimate.

"It is for good reason that airports have security areas: When air traffic does not operate in security, people are endangered, there is a risk of great economic damage and thousands of travelers are stuck," he said in a statement.

Protests come during vacation days
The demonstration by the climate activists took place during one of the busiest travel periods for the airport in southern Germany.

The airport was expecting to cater to at least 350,000 passengers expected from Friday to Sunday — the first weekend of the vacations.

As per their own statement, the Last Generation activists intended to block at least one of the two runways.

The objective behind the protests was to disrupt the Whitsun holidays which is a peak travel time in Germany.

One of the signs held up by protesters read: "Problem is the government, not our holiday."

The climate activists are opposing the subsidies provided to the airline industry by the government in the form of  waivers for kerosene and VAT.

The group has held similar protests at other airports across Germany.