Climate protesters occupy Berlin airport runway and ‘glue themselves to asphalt’

Security measures at a major Berlinairport are currently under review after police said a group of climate protestors had occupied a key runway and glued themselves to the asphalt.

Flights to and from Berlin Brandenburg Airport were briefly disrupted on Thursday evening after six activists broke through the airfield’s security perimeter.

A spokesperson for the international airport, located just south of the German capital, was quoted by German news agency dpa today as saying the incident was currently being reviewed in order to determine any further action needed.

Berlin Brandenburg Airport said on its official Twitter account that as of 5.35pm local time on Thursday, “several people” were on the airfield. Police later confirmed that four protesters had glued themselves to the ground near the runway, while two others cycled across the premises.

Responsibility for the protest has since been claimed by Letzte Generation (Uprising of the Last Generation) – a group that stages “non-violent resistance” to the use of fossil fuels. The protest collective has staged numerous road blockades and other stunts of late to highlight the need for action against climate change.

The group said it wanted to highlight the problem of fossil fuel subsidies, such as for jet fuel, which allow a minority of the world’s population to fly while the majority suffer the consequences of climate change stoked by greenhouse gas emissions.

“While some of them are glued to the asphalt, others are riding bicycles across the maneuvering area, bringing air traffic to a standstill,” Letze Generation said on its website.

Climate activists glue themselves to a runway at the Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER) during a protest (via REUTERS)
Climate activists glue themselves to a runway at the Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER) during a protest (via REUTERS)

“Shortly before entering the airport premises, they informed the police of their plans via an emergency call.”

The protest was met with sweeping criticism from German officials, though Martin Schirdewan, co-leader of the Left party, said the activists had “put their finger on the wound of political inaction in view of the climate catastrophe.”

Police said five men and one woman aged between 20 and 32 were detained. Five people were released, while the sixth remains in custody.

All six are being investigated on suspicion of endangering air traffic, property damage and trespassing.

Airport authorities said 15 planes had to be diverted to nearby airports while five departures were delayed. About 750 passengers were affected by the disruption, it said.

Earlier this month, hundreds of climate protesters blocked private jets from leaving Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport.