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Operations in two German airports disrupted after climate activists glued themselves to runways, several flights cancelled and diverted

Activists of the group "Last Generation" entered Hamburg and Düsseldorf airports in Germany after cutting the fences with bolt cutters, and superglued their palms to the runways and taxiways, disrupting flight operations for hours

Several hours of flights were cancelled at two German airports on 13 July as a result of a protest by climate activists, who glued themselves to the runways and taxiways of the airports, demanding more aggressive government action to cut greenhouse gas emissions. The activists were linked to the German group “Last Generation”, causing major disruptions at Hamburg and Düsseldorf airports.

The group posted visuals of their action on Twitter.

According to reports, on the first day of the city’s school break, when 50,000 travellers and 330 flights were scheduled to depart from Hamburg airport, several members of “Last Generation” invaded the grounds of the airport at 6 a.m. (0400 GMT) and glued themselves to the runways and taxiways. As a result, ten arrivals reportedly had to be diverted to other airports while 17 arrivals and 19 departures were cancelled.

An airport security fence was breached by nine climate activists, who then glued themselves to the tarmac, as stated by the group. A police operation at the scene had grounded planes since 6:10 am, explained a representative for the airport. They claimed, “For safety reasons, air traffic had to be temporarily suspended.”

At 9:25 am, demonstrators were still impaled on the airport’s tarmac in a few different locations, and the security fence stayed destroyed in four separate areas. “In Hamburg, the closure of the airport will certainly continue for some time. Until just now, the jackhammers were still rattling here,” a reporter mentioned.

It seems the authorities used jackhammers to remove the activists along with the glued part of the tarmac. This is because climate activists generally use superglue, which makes it difficult to remove them physically.

In the morning, the main security checkpoint and the check-in desks were temporarily shuttered, as people waited in the jam-packed terminals to find out when flights would resume. The check-in desks and security gates have both been now accessible.

Members of Last Generation also broke through a security fence at the Duesseldorf Airport and obstructed a taxiway, the path to the runway, by glueing themselves to the tarmac. This delayed several planes before operations were able to restart. Seven people had made it onto the runway in the morning.

The outfit announced that they had broken through a fence to gain access to the runways, preventing aircraft movement at the airport all morning. Photos posted by the group showed that the activists used bolt cutters to cut metal fences to gain access to the runways.

There were significant restrictions on flight operations, and there were numerous emergency personnel on the scene. The activist group shared a video of police vehicles and two protestors still clinging to the tarmac at around 10 am. They wrote, “The disruptions at Hamburg and Düsseldorf airports continue.”

Landings in Düsseldorf had to be redirected to Cologne Bonn airport because of the security operation. However, on the airport’s north runway, partial service was restored.

The activists demanded rapid action to reduce emissions in the transportation industry, including abolishing tax concessions for aviation paraffin. They also accused the German government of lacking a plan to address the climate catastrophe.

The seven activists in Düsseldorf were detached from the ground using solvents, and they along with their 3 helpers were detained. The activists will face charges of disturbing the peace, coercive behaviour and dangerous interference with aviation, according to the police.

Transport Minister Volker Wissing, who has recently opposed various initiatives to reduce emissions from air and road travel, emphasised, “The Last Generation isn’t protecting the climate, they’re engaged in criminal activity.”

The activists, according to him and Justice Minister Marco Buschmann, both members of the Free Democratic Party, are dividing society by preventing people from flying for “well-earned holidays.”

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