Activists in custody

BER’s air traffic is fired again after a climate protest


TV news desk

Video: rbb | 24 | 11/24/2022 | Material: TV News Kontor | Build: TV news desk

Climate activists from the “last generation” hung themselves on the BER runway and paralyzed air traffic for an hour and a half. Some flights have been cancelled, others have been diverted. Several thousand passengers were affected.

‘Last generation’ climate protesters entered BER airport without a permit on Thursday, and air traffic had to be suspended in the meantime. This was announced by the airport spokesperson on Thursday. It was said that after only an hour and a half the BER runways could be launched again at about 6:20 p.m.

Activists from the “Last Generation” group had earlier entered the airport site in two places, on the north and south sides. Therefore, both slopes were closed.

Flights have been diverted to Leipzig/Halle and Dresden

A spokesman for the Birzeit office, Jan Peter Haack, said in the evening that flight operations had been suspended for 90 minutes, with 15 flights diverted, some of them to Dusseldorf. As a spokesperson for Mitteldeutsche Flughafen AG confirmed to rbb, five cars landed in Leipzig/Halle and eight in Dresden.

As in the site “FlightRadar24” Several planes bound for Berlin can be seen changing course, turning and flying over the airport.

Hack, a spokesman for Burke’s office, said five flights were unable to take off due to the protests. In total, an estimated 3,000 to 4,000 passengers were affected by the restrictions. In the evening, the entire airport area was again protected.

It was not clear at first how many unauthorized people were at the airport. According to the police, several people were arrested. Police headquarters in Brandenburg announced on demand that the climate activists would be charged with dangerous interference with air traffic, trespassing and damage to property. At first there were no other details, such as the number of people involved.

BER Airport (Source: rbb / Thomas Rostek)
Activists paralyzed air traffic at Birzeit Airport for 90 minutes, some flights were cancelled, and others were diverted. (Source: rbb / Thomas Rosteck) | Build: rbb/Thomas Rostick

Cut through the airport fence

Robert Ertler of German air traffic control told ARD on Thursday that all take-offs and landings are prohibited as soon as the procedure is known. So there was no danger to life and limb, according to Ertler. The worst that can happen is massive delays or machines having to travel to other airports.

Activists livestreamed the event on Twitter. There you can see how they breached the fence shortly after 4 pm and entered the airport area. They then held up signs in front of the camera and explained their motives. The activists were seen sticking themselves to the ground. About ten minutes after the event started, blue lights could be seen on the live broadcast, and a little later police officers could also be heard.

Last Generation initially reported the protest in a press release that appeared in the afternoon. According to the statement, some activists stuck to the asphalt, and “others rode bicycles over the diversion area, bringing air traffic to a standstill.”

According to the activists, the police were informed of the project via an emergency call just before the start of the demonstration. This information could not be confirmed initially.

Sharp criticism from politicians and the police

Brandenburg Interior Minister Michael Stopgen (CDU) called the measure a “serious interference with air traffic”. It would be a “serious crime” that “at worst endangers human life. There is no justification for it.” He described the activists as criminals.

In a statement, the local spokesman for the FDP’s parliamentary group in the House of Representatives in Berlin, Bjorn Gutzu, denounced the activists’ action. It calls for tougher penalties and a centralized platform through which aggrieved parties can report potential claims for impediments.

The Alternative for Germany in-house expert, Carsten Weldett, called for “concrete penalties and an obligation to compensate” for the damages inflicted. “Anyone who allows extremist groups to do whatever they want encourages them to continue escalating.”

The Berlin police union said the protesters had made it clear “that they are ready to commit crimes and that the democratic framework is of no importance to this organisation”. “It only means imprisonment,” said Benjamin Gendreau, a spokesman for the Democratic Progressive Party.

In a statement, the Berlin Climate List party expressed its solidarity with the Airports for the Last Generation campaign. “BER is known to destroy all climate protection efforts in the country in the transport sector,” said spokesman Antonio Rorsen. The party is fighting for the “maximum dismantling of the airport”.

Broadcast: November 24, 2022 at 9:45 p.m

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