Munich International Airport said on Thursday that one of its two runways was closed briefly on Thursday amid a climate protest by the group calling itself the “Last Generation.”
An airport spokesperson described the closure as a “short-lived disturbance.”
“Near the north runway some of the protesters briefly glued themselves to the asphalt. I believe it is over.”
He said the northern runway was back in operation and that there had been no cancellations or delays, partly because planes could be redirected to the southern runway.
What did police and activists say about the action?
Police tweeted, “Again, several activists have forced their way into the air security zone of the northern runway of Munich International Airport. They glued themselves to a taxiway.”
On the activist group Last Generation’s Twitter feed, which is used regularly to publicize protests, one activist identified as Malte argued on the Munich runway that the government was not doing even the simplest measures, such as providing a €9 euro monthly public transport ticket.
Malte said, “I also know that I may end up in prison for this, where I’ve already been, and where four people are currently, two of them until January 5.” He added, “I have no desire to spend Christmas or New Year in prison. I would also rather be with my family, but the situation is urgent.”
Protesters also made their way towards a runway at Berlin’s Brandenburg airport on Thursday, but an airport spokesperson said there was no impact on flight operations.
Some of the activists have already served briefly in prison and been subject to large fines for their so-called protest actions, usually disruptive stunts played for media attention and the public’s eyeballs.
Bavarian state premier Markus Söder responded soon after the news, using a German alliteration to refer to the protesters gluing themselves to roads or runways.
“Climate-gluers are damaging environmental protection and endangering their fellow people,” Söder wrote. “Bavaria is therefore tackling them decisively. There are more meaningful ways to get involved with climate protection.”
He shared a clip of an old interview of his in which he said that “Last Generation” was a very different and much smaller group of young people than the “Fridays for Future” movement, and called on the activists “to perhaps plant trees or help rewild moorlands.”
“That would be a good idea, and we have a lot of such opportunities in Bavaria,” he said.
‘Last Generation’ restarted daily protests in Bavaria this week
Earlier in the week, the youth climate group Last Generation restarted a campaign to publicize the peril the planet faces with climate change with a series of stunts played towards maximum publicity for their activists.
They kicked off the latest round of public actions by supergluing themselves to the road outside Berlin’s central train station. In Munich, nine individuals were responsible for blocking traffic around Karlsplatz square with similar tactics.
Last Generation activists also hung signs above the A96 highway in Bavaria and caused brief closures of the autobahn.
They have demanded a blanket autobahn speed limit of 100 kilometers per hour (62 miles per hour). Just over half of Germany’s highway network is unrestricted, the busier and more dangerous stretches have a limit of 130 kilometers per hour. Past political efforts to consider a nationwide 130 kph limit have proven stillborn, although the desire remains, particularly for the Green Party, one part of the three-way ruling coalition.
Herbert Reul, the interior minister of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany’s most populous state, told Deutschlandfunk radio earlier in the week, “The state cannot simply look on and let it happen,” while calling on authorities to take a harder line against the group’s disruptive actions.
In recent weeks the young climate activists have thrown stuff at art and superglued themselves to various buildings. Late in November, they briefly brought Berlin Brandenburg Airport to a standstill.
ar/msh (AFP, dpa)