UPDATE: ALL 102 CLIMATE ACTIVISTS WERE RELEASED, AFTER HAVING BEEN DETAINED FOR MORE THAN 24 HOURS.
Geneva, 23.05.2023 – One hundred climate activists from 17 countries supporting Greenpeace, Stay Grounded, Extinction Rebellion, Scientist Rebellion and other climate justice groups are being temporarily detained after a peaceful protest against Europe’s largest private jet fair, the annual European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE) in Geneva. They remain in police custody. Activists report the use of pepper spray and injuries after the police intervention. Greenpeace, Stay Grounded, Extinction Rebellion and Scientist Rebellion, which are supported by activists, are extremely concerned about these reports of excessive use of force against the peaceful protesters and demand the immediate release of all those involved.
Mira Kapfinger from the Stay Grounded network said: “This is one of the largest private jet fairs in the world – a world that is heading towards climate breakdown. It was totally legitimate to disrupt these business people. While they are shopping for ever bigger and polluting jets, others are suffering severe consequences from heat waves and floods.”
Klara Maria Schenk, transport expert at Greenpeace, said: „A unique, European coalition of 100 courageous activists from 17 countries has today severely disrupted the excessive champagne party of a super-rich elite – Europe’s largest private jet sales event. Their demand is unequivocal, private aviation should be consigned to the history books. We support the activists and demand their immediate release.”
Cordula Markert from Scientist Rebellion said: “At this stage of the climate catastrophe it’s absolutely irresponsible to keep criminalizing peaceful climate protesters instead of the people and companies who are disproportionately contributing to the problem. We as society need to get rid of outdated, unsustainable and unjust ways of living. It’s time for politicians to step up, walk the talk and ban private jets.”
Shortly after the opening of the fair, the activists entered its exhibition area at Geneva airport, where about 50 luxury private aircraft are on display. They chained themselves to the entrances of private jets, holding hand banners in the style of health warnings on cigarette packets and demanded a ban on private jets.
Contrary to several misleading media reports, the activists never entered the taxiways or runways of the airport. The activists make it clear that at no time they intended to disrupt commercial air traffic at Geneva Airport. The activists have chosen not to enter or cross the taxiways or runways at any time and to use only the service roads. This should not have affected safe flight operations in any way. The airport police was informed by the activists immediately at the beginning of the peaceful action and the protestors were in constant contact to avoid any dangerous situation or misinterpretation of the scale and purpose of the ongoing action by the airport authorities.
- Spokespeople from Greenpeace, Stay Grounded, Scientist Rebellion, Extinction Rebellion are available for interviews in French, English, German.
- High-res photos and video material are available here: https://flic.kr/s/aHBqjAEJaj
- Download the climate movement’s media briefing on private aviation here: https://de.stay-grounded.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/05/Private_Aviation_May_2023.pdf
- Mira Kapfinger, campaigner for Stay Grounded, email@example.com
- Stay Grounded press desk, +43 (0) 670 3534311, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Klara Maria Schenk, transport campaigner for Greenpeace Central and Eastern Europe, +43 (0)664 88 17 22 67, email@example.com
- Greenpeace International press desk, +31 (0) 20718 2470, firstname.lastname@example.org (24 hours)
- Cordula Markert, Scientist Rebellion Germany, scientistrebellion_GER@protonmail.com
- Joël Perret, Extinction Rébellion Genève, email@example.com