German 'Just Stop Oil' glue their hands to airport runways

German eco-extremists take protests to another level by gluing their hands to airport runways with industrial-strength adhesive… will their British counterparts have the fanaticism to match them?

  • Activists blocked runways at Hamburg and Düsseldorf airports on Thursday
  • Flights were delayed, cancelled and diverted for several hours after 6am 

Germany’s answer to Just Stop Oil – known as ‘Last Generation’ – have taken protests to another level by gluing their hands to airport runways to stop flights.  

Climate activists from ‘Letzte Generation’ blocked runways and taxiways at Hamburg and Düsseldorf airports on Thursday morning, causing delays, cancellations and diversions for several hours. 

The group said they were protesting the government’s ‘lack of planning’ and ‘breaking the law’ in the climate crisis. 

A police spokesperson said flights had been suspended at Hamburg airport at around 6am after nine unauthorized people entered an area near the airfield, with eight of them gluing themselves to the ground.

One activist was taken into custody, according to Federal Police. 

Climate activists from ‘Letzte Generation’ blocked runways and taxiways at Hamburg and Düsseldorf airports on Thursday morning

The group said they were protesting the government’s ‘lack of planning’ and ‘breaking the law’ in the climate crisis

Though flights resumed roughly four hours later, the airport said 17 arrivals and 19 departures had been cancelled on Thursday and further delays and cancellations could not be ruled out.

Around 50,000 passengers were due to fly at the north German airport that day – the first day of the school summer holidays – as many sought to take a well-earned break abroad.  

Members of the group also cut through a security fence at Düsseldorf Airport in the west and blocked an access route to the runway, disrupting several flights before operations resumed.

One man told Tagesschau he had been waiting for ‘four or five hours’ at Hamburg Airport with ‘no information’ about what was happening next. 

In a video, activist Regi, 21, was filmed spraying glue on her hands to stick them to the runway at Düsseldorf airport. 

She told the camera: ‘We can’t watch any longer as our Earth burns with our government adding fuel to the fire every day with their fossil madness. 

‘That’s why we’re blocking the airport today.’ 

In a statement, the group accused the German government of lacking a strategy to tackle the climate crisis and called for immediate measures to cut emissions in the transportation sector, including ending tax exemptions for airline kerosene.

Flights were suspended from around 6am on Thursday, while others were diverted to other airports. Pictured: Security and emergency services at Düsseldorf airport

The activists also gained entry to the runway by cutting through a fence. Others clambered over the railings and barbed wire

If the aviation sector were a country, it would rank in the top 10 global emitters, according to the European Commission.

Last Generation took to Twitter to say: ‘Why the protest at the airport? If not at an airport, where is the right place to protest the destruction of our livelihoods? 

‘The world is on fire and we are the last generation to have a chance to pick up the fire extinguisher. 

‘Instead, we allow our government to subsidize air travel, a major catastrophe accelerator, with billions annually. It is like a collective suicide and we can no longer accept that.’ 

Senior German government officials condemned the protests and called for them to end.

‘The Last Generation isn’t protecting the climate, they’re engaged in criminal activity,’ said transport minister Volker Wissing, who has blocked several proposals for cutting emissions from road and air travel in recent years.

He and justice minister Marco Buschmann, both members of the Free Democratic Party, accused the activists of dividing society by preventing people from flying on ‘well-earned holidays’.

Last Generation insists its protests are peaceful, albeit disruptive, though motorists facing delays when the group blocks roads have at times attacked the activists.

In a statement, Last Generation accused the German government of lacking a strategy to tackle the climate crisis

Activists were filmed spraying glue onto their hands to block the runways 

The delays came on the first day of the school summer holidays in Hamburg

A Letzte Generation (Last Generation) climate activist has his hand glued to the asphalt of the runway

Police cars attended the scene at Düsseldorf as delays continued for several hours

German prosecutors raided the homes of several of the group’s members in May on suspicion of forming or supporting a criminal organisation.

Videos on Thursday showed the activists clambering over high railings and barbed wire to gain access to the airports, while others cut through a fence.

Düsseldorf Airport tweeted early on Thursday morning: ‘Because unauthorized persons have gained access to the airport premises, there are delays in flight operations.’

The protest came as Just Stop Oil threw a number of protests in the UK on Friday evening, including storming onstage during the first night of the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall. 

Last Generation activists have frequently glued themselves to roads and airport tarmac in Germany since their formation in 2021. 

In 2022 they staged 276 road blockages, and used paint to vandalise buildings, paintings, yachts and private jets. 

Meanwhile in November the group threw soup at The Sower by Vincent Van Gogh at the Palazzo Bonaparte in Rome – just two weeks after Just Stop Oil activists targeted The Sunflowers. 

The previous month the hurled mashed potatoes at a Monet painting behind glass, titled The Grainstacks.  

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