Harsh criticism of activists after airport action
The criticism of the latest action by the climate protest group “Last Generation” is great. Completely unacceptable, highly risky, unscrupulous, they say – the call for harsher consequences is getting louder. With consequences: the activists suddenly change their tone.
Activists in orange high-visibility vests snap through a fence at the capital’s airport and march onto the grounds. Some of them stick to the ground – and paralyze operations at BER in Schönefeld. From the point of view of many politicians, the latest action by the climate protest group “Last Generation” has finally reached a level that is no longer acceptable. Berlin’s Senator for the Interior, Iris Spranger (SPD), wants to address a transnational approach at the conference of interior ministers next week in Munich, and the action has been sharply condemned across the political landscape. On Friday evening, the activists then announced that they would not hold protests in Berlin and Munich for the time being. A breather “to calm the heated spirits a little”.
Previously, Spranger warned against “continuing on this path of escalation”. Her authority will “continue to exhaust all legal means to prevent these dangers and to fight these crimes,” she announced. Federal Minister of Justice Marco Buschmann (FDP) campaigned for harsh penalties.
If lives were endangered and people couldn’t go on vacation, that wasn’t acceptable, Green Party leader Omid Nouripour told the Welt television station. Berlin’s governing mayor Franziska Giffey (SPD) called the action “completely unacceptable”.
The CSU in the Bundestag called for an amendment to the Federal Police Act. “For crimes such as the recent disruption of flight operations at BER by so-called climate activists, preventive custody in the Federal Police Act must also be expanded,” Andrea Lindholz told the newspapers of the Bayern media group. After traffic blockades in Munich, 19 activists are still in police custody for a long time. This is possible due to the Bavarian Police Responsibilities Act. According to this, citizens can be detained for up to one month on the basis of a judicial decision in order to prevent the commission of an administrative offense of considerable public importance or a criminal offence.
Berlin’s interior senator has not yet given any details about her plans. A spokesman for the interior ministry said that climate demonstrators should be prevented from taking action in advance if possible through a joint approach by the federal states.
The activists do not want to start any actions in Berlin and Munich until the end of next week. The group announced on Friday evening that action was hoped to be taken during the Bundestag session week. At the same time, she warned against restarting the protests with more clout. The time will be used to “properly train and involve the many people who are currently joining the movement in order to come back with even more people”.
Escalation, “more and more unscrupulous” actions (Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing, FDP), completely unacceptable – the condemnation of the activists can hardly be formulated more drastically. “I don’t see a radicalization, especially in comparison to other protests such as the anti-nuclear movement or the peace movement in the 70s,” said the sociologist Lena Herbers from the University of Freiburg of the German Press Agency. She described the protests as “manageable violations of the law, deliberate, isolated violations of the law”. The group moves within a democratic framework, basically accepting the system and ultimately also the penalties against them.
Most recently, the protest group had been sharply criticized after the death of a cyclist in Berlin. The 44-year-old woman was run over by a cement mixer on October 31 and later died. A special fire brigade vehicle that was supposed to help free the trapped woman was stuck in a traffic jam after a climate protest. The Berlin public prosecutor’s office is also investigating two activists for failing to provide assistance or for the disability of persons providing assistance.
After the disruptive action at BER, the Brandenburg State Criminal Police Office is investigating six activists, among other things, for dangerous interference in air traffic, disruption of public services, trespassing and property damage. Five men and one woman between the ages of 20 and 32 were arrested and taken into custody on Thursday during the action at the airport in Schönefeld, a police spokesman said. One of the men is still there by court order. According to him, the other suspects have been released.
As a result of the action, operations on the runways were stopped for about an hour and a half. According to the airport, five starts had to be cancelled. 15 planned landings were therefore diverted to Leipzig and Dresden.
According to the airport, operations were back to normal on Friday morning. The airport company announced that it would review the capital airport’s security concept. Federal Transport Minister Wissing called on the police to work through the incident in detail. For the future, the question must be asked what exactly needs to be done to avoid such incidents. The chairman of the FDP parliamentary group, Christian Dürr, called for a security check at all airports.
Airport spokesman Jan-Peter Haak emphasized that the almost 30-kilometer-long security fence along the airport premises complies with the legal requirements of the Aviation Security Act. It is equipped with an alarm system and there is video surveillance for the airport area, which corresponds to around 2000 football pitches.
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