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Activists spray the Brandenburg Gate orange as global protests call for end of fossil fuels

Members of the climate protection group Last Generation sprayed the Brandenburg Gate with orange paint.
Members of the climate protection group Last Generation sprayed the Brandenburg Gate with orange paint. Copyright Paul Zinken/dpa via AP
Copyright Paul Zinken/dpa via AP
By Rosie Frost
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People took part in climate marches and protests in hundreds of cities across more than 50 countries.


More than a dozen climate activists have been arrested in Berlin after spraying orange paint onto the iconic Brandenburg Gate.

The action took place amid global climate protests that saw thousands of people gather to call for the end of fossil fuel use.

On Sunday, members of activist group Last Generation used fire extinguishers filled with paint on the popular landmark.

German police have confirmed that they detained 14 people affiliated with the campaign group and have opened an investigation into criminal damage to the property. 

The protesters' actions were condemned by Berlin Mayor Kai Wegner who told German news agency DPA that these tactics went beyond legitimate forms of protest.

“The group is not only damaging the historic Brandenburg Gate, but also our free discourse about the important issues of our time and future,” he said.

Posting images of the action on X, formerly known as Twitter, Last Generation said it would only stop protesting once change begins. 

“We have to get out of oil, gas and coal by 2030 at the latest. Instead of fossil fuel companies buying and directing parts of politics, the population must come together in a social council.” 

Thousands took part in climate strikes across Europe

The Berlin landmark was sprayed orange amid global protests across more than 50 countries demanding an end to the burning of fossil fuels. Thousands of people took part in hundreds of cities worldwide with marches expected to continue this week.

In Europe, climate action began on Friday with a march in Vienna. Organisers say that around 20,000 people came together in the Austrian capital holding signs that demanded higher taxes on carbon emissions and no more meat consumption. 

The Fridays for Future movement and other activists demonstrate in Vienna, Austria, on September 15, 2023.GEORG HOCHMUTH/APA/AFP

There were also roadblocks in The Hague where Dutch police used water cannons to disperse protestors. More than 3,000 people were arrested in the Netherlands last week during protests against government subsidies for fossil fuels.

Across Germany, around 250 protests took place including several thousand people who gathered at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin before marching into the city’s government district. 

Ramon van Flymen / ANP / AFP
Climate activists sit on the road during a protest organised by Extinction Rebellion on the A12 highway in The Hague.Ramon van Flymen / ANP / AFP

Sweden also saw thousands of activists gather in front of Parliament on Friday as King Carl XVI Gustaf marked 50 years on the throne. At the Royal Palace next door, their chants could be heard as the king watched the celebrations. 

Global climate protests put pressure on world leaders

The protests are taking place ahead of the UN general assembly this week where world leaders will meet to discuss some of the world’s most pressing issues. Culminating in the Climate Ambition Summit, the health of the planet is expected to be high on the agenda.

Organisers of the week-long international effort say they expect a global turnout of 1 million people. More than 500 protests have been planned in Europe, Asia and the US.

It is hoped that the global climate protests will put pressure on leaders and governments to end the use of planet-warming fossil fuels following months of extreme weather.

Watch the video above to see this weekend’s climate protests in Europe.

Video editor • Hannah Brown

Additional sources • Footage from AP, AFP & EBU

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