Over a dozen climate activists were arrested in Berlin after they sprayed orange paint onto the iconic Brandenburg Gate amid worldwide protests held over the weekend demanding governments put a stop to burning planet-heating fossil fuels.
Members of the Last Generation group used fire extinguishers filled with paint to spray all six columns of the popular landmark in Germany’s capital on Sunday.
Police cordoned off the area surrounding Brandenburg Gate and confirmed they detained 14 activists affiliated with the Last Generation.
The group said it wants Germany to stop using all fossil fuels by 2030 and take short-term measures, including imposing a general speed limit of 100km/h on highways to cut emissions more quickly.
“The protest makes it clear: It is time for a political change. Away from fossil fuels – towards fairness,” the group said in a statement.
Berlin mayor Kai Wegner condemned the group’s actions, saying their tactics go beyond legitimate forms of protest.
“With these actions, this group is not only damaging the historic Brandenburg Gate, but also our free discourse about the important issues of our time and future,” he told German news agency DPA.
Arrests also took place in Sweden where police said they detained 17 people suspected of sabotage after climate activists entered Stockholm’s Bromma airport, which operates mainly domestic routes, and sprayed red paint on one aircraft, police told Swedish news agency TT.
An ambulance flight was forced to land at Stockholm’s main international Arlanda airport instead of Bromma due to the action, according to Swedish airport authorities.
The climate activists announced later that the action was part of a global campaign calling for a ban on private jets.
These demonstrations were among hundreds of events taking place worldwide this weekend ahead of this year’s UN General Assembly meeting.
People held banners demanding stronger action from governments against heat-trapping carbon pollution responsible for the climate crisis.
Burning fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas is scientifically proven to be responsible for the majority of carbon pollution that is heating up the world and fuelling more extreme weather and disasters.
There is an increased demand to end reliance on fossil fuel for energy and continued subsidies given to oil and gas, especially ahead of the upcoming UN sessions and climate talks in November.
Tens of thousands of people also gathered in New York and across the US on Sunday. The March to End Fossil Fuels featured politicians such as representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and actors Susan Sarandon, Ethan Hawke, Edward Norton, Kyra Sedgewick and Kevin Bacon.
In one strike in Quezon City in the Philippines, activists lay in front of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in protest and held signs demanding fossil fuels be phased out.
The protests were driven by several mostly youth-led, local and global climate groups and organisations, including Greta Thunberg’s Fridays for Future movement.
Additional reporting by agencies