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Police releasing the activists from the airfield in Dusseldorf

Photo: David Young / dpa

The climate protection group Letzte Generation wants its temporary blockade of Hamburg and Düsseldorf airports to be understood as a sign "against the lack of planning and the government's breach of the law in the climate crisis". However, the action, which resulted in long waiting times for thousands of travelers, does not meet with much understanding.

"The activists, who are now blocking the trip to the holiday of all people, are massively damaging the cause of climate protection," said Vice Chancellor and Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck (Greens). "If you really want to work for climate protection, you have to keep an eye on social acceptance."

Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) also condemned the blockades. "These dangerous interventions in traffic must come to an end," he told the portal "t-online". Anyone who spoils the well-deserved and long-awaited annual vacation for others contributes to the division of our society," said Wissing.

Wissing's party colleague, Federal Justice Minister Marco Buschmann, commented on Twitter: "Many people are looking forward to their well-deserved vacation." If the last generation takes away this joy from them, it undermines the acceptance of more climate protection.

Flight operations in Hamburg interrupted for four hours

Hamburg Airport had completely suspended its flight operations from 6:10 a.m. for about four hours after protesters had reached the runway by bicycle. At the start of the holiday in Hamburg, a particularly high volume of flights with 330 take-offs and landings with 50,000 passengers had been planned. As an airport spokeswoman said, 28 departures and 22 arrivals had to be canceled, and there were delays. The spokeswoman could not say how many passengers were affected. Effects were expected for the whole of Thursday.

At Dusseldorf Airport, activists also cut through a fence and walked onto the apron of the airfield, blocking the planes' journey to the runway. Several flights also had to be cancelled in Düsseldorf, and there were also delays.

The German police union is now pushing for a revision of the security concepts. "It is catastrophic for aviation security that the climate stickers have managed to get onto the runway of Düsseldorf Airport. This should not have happened," said the national chairman of the union, Heiko Teggatz. At both Hamburg and Düsseldorf airports, it had been neglected to revise the safety concept after the actions of the climate stickers at Berlin Airport.

In Berlin, members of the Last Generation managed to enter the airport grounds last November and block flight operations.

Reul speaks of "climate chaotics"

NRW Interior Minister Herbert Reul (CDU) was also more explicit. "These climate chaots are not activists, but criminals. This is clearly shown by the concerted actions today at the airports in Düsseldorf and Hamburg," Reul told the Rheinische Post. The actions had "absolutely nothing to do with legitimate protest." Anyone who participates must know that dangerous interference with air traffic and coercion are criminal offenses."

On the other hand, the SPD member of the Bundestag Zanda Martens expressed understanding. "The motives of the activists – as different as they may be evaluated – are clear and comprehensible to many," Martens, who is also a member of the supervisory board of Düsseldorf Airport, told the Rheinische Post. At the same time, she referred to the security aspect of the incident. "This is a real security risk that must be addressed immediately by the airport," said the SPD politician.