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Climate activists glue themselves to Munich airport runway

FILE - Munich airport, Germany, Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2023.
FILE - Munich airport, Germany, Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2023. Copyright AP Photo/Matthias Schrader
Copyright AP Photo/Matthias Schrader
By Daniel Harper
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Climate activists from Last Generation disrupted Munich airport by gluing themselves to a runway, leading to flight cancellations and delays over a busy weekend.


Munich Airport faced significant disruption on Saturday morning when climate activists from the Last Generation movement breached the grounds and glued themselves to a runway in protest against climate policy. 

The demonstration, which coincided with one of the busiest travel weekends of the year, led to the temporary closure of the airport and resulted in numerous flight cancellations and delays.

The activists, who criticised government subsidies for the airline industry, targeted the airport to highlight the environmental impact of air travel. "Problem is the government, not our holiday," read one of the signs held by the protesters. 

Initially, all flights were either cancelled or diverted to other airports, causing widespread inconvenience for travellers.

In a series of posts on the social media platform X, the group shared images of six members sitting in two groups on different sections of the airport's tarmac, holding protest signs. 

Eight arrested as airport closed for two hours

Police were quickly deployed to the scene, and eight activists were eventually arrested. Despite the disruption, one runway was reopened later in the day, though delays continued.

The protest, which took place at the start of the Whitsun holiday, a peak travel period in Germany, affected around 60 flights and led to the diversion of 11 others. The airport, which expected to handle at least 350,000 passengers over the weekend, was fully closed for nearly two hours.

Germany's interior minister, Nancy Faeser, condemned the activists' actions, calling for increased security measures at airports and labelling the protest as criminal. "Such criminal actions endanger air traffic and harm climate protection because they only cause contempt and anger," she stated. 

Transport Minister Volker Wissing echoed this sentiment, suggesting new laws to punish such actions with up to two years in prison, as current laws consider them minor offences.

The Last Generation movement has a history of staging similar protests across Germany, aiming to draw attention to what they see as insufficient government action on climate change. 

Saturday's disruption at Munich Airport underscores the ongoing tension between climate activists and authorities, as well as the broader debate over environmental policy and transportation subsidies.

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