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German riot police crack down on eco protesters trying to bring Hamburg to a standstill


German police employed batons, pepper spray and water cannons against a group of eco-zealots on Saturday as they staged a sit-down protest on a major railway supply line in Hamburg.

Dozens of protesters, led by the eco-mob Ende Gelande – which translates to ‘here and no further’ – attempted to disrupt the major northern city by blockading the Kattwyk Railway Bridge, which leads to the nearby harbour. 

Ahead of their action, Extinction Rebellion, who were also involved, said: ‘We are blocking a central hub of German foreign trade here to draw attention to the consequences of modern colonialism.’ 

The sit-down on the bridge was one of a series of blockades involving more than 1,000 people, designed to ‘interrupt cargo traffic’ in protest against ‘the expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure and colonial supply chains.’   

According to police, some of the eco-warriors used pepper spray on officers when they tried to move them along, sparking clashes. 

Police said they used pepper spray back, before employing batons and even water cannons to break up the blockade. The activists said in an update at 5pm local time that the authorities were blocking drinking water being delivered to the protesters while also keeping out members of the press and medics, adding that ‘parliamentary observers are on site.’ 

The police’s tough stance is in stark contrast to British forces, whose officers will often merely ‘observe’ as the likes of Insulate Britain cause nine-mile tailbacks with their ‘sit-down protests’ on major roads, or while Just Stop Oil zealots glue their hands to historic artworks at the National Gallery. 

Despite protesters allegedly using peppery spray first on Saturday, Ende Gelande said in a statement that the police’s retaliation was a ‘new peak in violence and arbitrariness against our climate protests.’ 

Charly Dietz, spokesperson for Ende Gelände, added: ‘The climate crisis is getting worse and worse. But instead of finally phasing out gas, the German coast is to be covered with LNG terminals. 

German police employed batons, pepper spray and water cannons against a group of eco-zealots on Saturday as they staged a sit-down protest on a major railway supply line in Hamburg (Pictured: Protester being removed)

German police employed batons, pepper spray and water cannons against a group of eco-zealots on Saturday as they staged a sit-down protest on a major railway supply line in Hamburg (Pictured: Protester being removed)

German police employed batons, pepper spray and water cannons against a group of eco-zealots on Saturday as they staged a sit-down protest on a major railway supply line in Hamburg (Pictured: Protester being removed) 

An eco-protester is forcibly dragged away by riot police in Hamburg, Germany after trying to blockade the nearby harbour

An eco-protester is forcibly dragged away by riot police in Hamburg, Germany after trying to blockade the nearby harbour

An eco-protester is forcibly dragged away by riot police in Hamburg, Germany after trying to blockade the nearby harbour 

Police officers take away a climate protester from the tracks as activists participate in a demonstration as part of the System Change Camp in Hamburg on Saturday

Police officers take away a climate protester from the tracks as activists participate in a demonstration as part of the System Change Camp in Hamburg on Saturday

Police officers take away a climate protester from the tracks as activists participate in a demonstration as part of the System Change Camp in Hamburg on Saturday 

Climate protesters sit on the rail track to block Hamburg harbour during a demonstration as part of the System Change Camp

Climate protesters sit on the rail track to block Hamburg harbour during a demonstration as part of the System Change Camp

Climate protesters sit on the rail track to block Hamburg harbour during a demonstration as part of the System Change Camp

Ahead of their action, Extinction Rebellion, who were also involved, said: 'We are blocking a central hub of German foreign trade here to draw attention to the consequences of modern colonialism'

Ahead of their action, Extinction Rebellion, who were also involved, said: 'We are blocking a central hub of German foreign trade here to draw attention to the consequences of modern colonialism'

Ahead of their action, Extinction Rebellion, who were also involved, said: ‘We are blocking a central hub of German foreign trade here to draw attention to the consequences of modern colonialism’ 

According to police, some of the eco-warriors used pepper spray on officers when they tried to move them along, sparking clashes.

According to police, some of the eco-warriors used pepper spray on officers when they tried to move them along, sparking clashes.

According to police, some of the eco-warriors used pepper spray on officers when they tried to move them along, sparking clashes.

The sit-down on the bridge leading to Hamburg harbour (pictured) was one of a series of blockades involving more than 1,000 people, designed to 'interrupt cargo traffic' in protest against 'the expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure and colonial supply chains'

The sit-down on the bridge leading to Hamburg harbour (pictured) was one of a series of blockades involving more than 1,000 people, designed to 'interrupt cargo traffic' in protest against 'the expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure and colonial supply chains'

The sit-down on the bridge leading to Hamburg harbour (pictured) was one of a series of blockades involving more than 1,000 people, designed to ‘interrupt cargo traffic’ in protest against ‘the expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure and colonial supply chains’

The activists said in an update at 5pm local time that the authorities were blocking drinking water being delivered to the protesters while also keeping out members of the press and medics, adding that 'parliamentary observers are on site'

The activists said in an update at 5pm local time that the authorities were blocking drinking water being delivered to the protesters while also keeping out members of the press and medics, adding that 'parliamentary observers are on site'

The activists said in an update at 5pm local time that the authorities were blocking drinking water being delivered to the protesters while also keeping out members of the press and medics, adding that ‘parliamentary observers are on site’

Despite protesters allegedly using peppery spray first on Saturday, Ende Gelande said in a statement that the police's retaliation was a 'new peak in violence and arbitrariness against our climate protests'

Despite protesters allegedly using peppery spray first on Saturday, Ende Gelande said in a statement that the police's retaliation was a 'new peak in violence and arbitrariness against our climate protests'

Despite protesters allegedly using peppery spray first on Saturday, Ende Gelande said in a statement that the police’s retaliation was a ‘new peak in violence and arbitrariness against our climate protests’

Charly Dietz, spokesperson for Ende Gelände, said: 'The climate crisis is getting worse and worse. But instead of finally phasing out gas, the German coast is to be covered with LNG terminals' (Pictured: Protesters on railway bridge leading to Hamburg harbour on Saturday)

Charly Dietz, spokesperson for Ende Gelände, said: 'The climate crisis is getting worse and worse. But instead of finally phasing out gas, the German coast is to be covered with LNG terminals' (Pictured: Protesters on railway bridge leading to Hamburg harbour on Saturday)

Charly Dietz, spokesperson for Ende Gelände, said: ‘The climate crisis is getting worse and worse. But instead of finally phasing out gas, the German coast is to be covered with LNG terminals’ (Pictured: Protesters on railway bridge leading to Hamburg harbour on Saturday) 

‘Of all things, the big companies that are killing the climate are receiving billions in subsidies, while rising prices and fossil fuel inflation are becoming a risk of poverty for many people. 

‘This shows clearly: we are not in an energy crisis, but a capitalist distribution crisis. With our blockades in the port of Hamburg, we are successfully resisting corporate power and standing up for climate justice.’ 

Hundreds of people have gathered in Hamburg for a ‘protest camp’ this week in a bid to ‘draw attention to the consequences of climate change’ by launching a series of disruptive events and blockades – several of which were broken up peacefully by police on Saturday. 

Their action came as water levels on the river Rhine fell again on Friday thanks to the dry weather, with some vessels no longer able to sail, according to shipping operators and brokers.

Rhine cargo shipping continues, but with vessels sometimes forced to sail three-quarters empty with cargo owners often needing to pay for four vessels to transport their loads instead of one.

Container logistics service company Contargo said on Friday it would largely discontinue its barge operations on the Middle and upper Rhine river, transporting what goods it could overground to its terminals on the Lower Rhine, warning however that its trucking capacities were limited.

Economists estimate Rhine disruption could knock half a percentage point off Germany’s economic growth this year.

Ende Gelände has been organising mass civil disobedience since 2015, when it first began targeting coal mines in Rhineland, Lusatia and Leipzig. 

Pictures from their sit-down protest on Saturday showed police officers forcibly removing some of the disruptors, who donned white protective clothing and yellow face masks, from the railway tracks on Kattwyk Bridge. 

It is a stark contrast to how British police have dealt with similar demonstrations in recent months. 

It comes after Security guards at London‘s National Gallery simply watched on last month when eco-zealots covered John Constable’s priceless painting The Hay Wain with their own version and stuck their hands to the frame with glue. 

The security guard first pulled the man's hand off the painting

The security guard first pulled the man's hand off the painting

He then proceeded to remove the young woman from the priceless Renaissance artwork

He then proceeded to remove the young woman from the priceless Renaissance artwork

Enough is enough: the security guard first pulled the man’s hand off the painting (left), before proceeding to remove the young woman from the priceless Renaissance artwork (right). Police then detained the protesters, who had tickets

The no-nonsense Italian security guard dragged the pair out of the exhibition room, in a striking contrast to Britain's response

The no-nonsense Italian security guard dragged the pair out of the exhibition room, in a striking contrast to Britain's response

The no-nonsense Italian security guard dragged the pair out of the exhibition room, in a striking contrast to Britain’s response

And Metropolitan police officers only removed an eco-mob which had forced Lloyd’s of London to close its City headquarters eight hours after the protesters blocked all 25 entrances and scaled the outside of the building.

Britons have also repeatedly been stuck in nine-mile tailbacks and hour-long queues after eco activists from the likes of Insulate Britain scaled the gantries on the M25 and stuck themselves to roads. 

Germany isn’t the only European country where furious civilians and authorities have taken tougher and swifter action to stop protesters from disrupting events and bringing roads to a standstill.

In late July an Italian security guard tore protesters’ hands off a priceless Botticelli painting at a Florence art gallery and dragged them away. 

Environmental collective 'Last Renovation' activists demonstrated on the road, and block the Tour de France, between Lacapelle Marival and Rocamadour, in Gramat, France, on Friday, July 23 before spectators dragged them away

Environmental collective 'Last Renovation' activists demonstrated on the road, and block the Tour de France, between Lacapelle Marival and Rocamadour, in Gramat, France, on Friday, July 23 before spectators dragged them away

Environmental collective ‘Last Renovation’ activists demonstrated on the road, and block the Tour de France, between Lacapelle Marival and Rocamadour, in Gramat, France, on Friday, July 23 before spectators dragged them away 

Hero Tour de France fans took justice into the own hands to remove eco-protesters threatening to disrupt the event by blocking the road. Pictured: People push the protesters away from the path of the oncoming Tour de France, between Lacapelle Marival and Rocamadour, in Gramat

Hero Tour de France fans took justice into the own hands to remove eco-protesters threatening to disrupt the event by blocking the road. Pictured: People push the protesters away from the path of the oncoming Tour de France, between Lacapelle Marival and Rocamadour, in Gramat

Hero Tour de France fans took justice into the own hands to remove eco-protesters threatening to disrupt the event by blocking the road. Pictured: People push the protesters away from the path of the oncoming Tour de France, between Lacapelle Marival and Rocamadour, in Gramat

The security official stormed over to the young activists and pulled their superglued hands from the Renaissance masterpiece shortly after they began their short-lived protest in the Uffizi Gallery.

The unnamed man and two women were from climate activist group Ultima Generazione (‘Last Generation’) and had rolled out a banner which read: ‘Last Generation No Gas No Coal’. 

The activists, who had paid for tickets to get into the gallery, were removed from the gallery by police after the security guard dragged them away from the painting.

Elsewhere, Tour de France fans became so fed up with a group of eco-protesters who were threatening to disrupt the historic bike race by sitting in the middle of the road they angrily removed the activists.

Police officers carry a climate change activist away from the Parliament building in Madrid in June

Police officers carry a climate change activist away from the Parliament building in Madrid in June

Police officers carry a climate change activist away from the Parliament building in Madrid in June

Police take protesters out during an action of Scientist Rebellion to denounce the climate situation on April 6 in Madrid

Police take protesters out during an action of Scientist Rebellion to denounce the climate situation on April 6 in Madrid

Police take protesters out during an action of Scientist Rebellion to denounce the climate situation on April 6 in Madrid

Riot police arrived at the scene quickly and dispersed the protesters, with some officers picking up the activists and dragging them away in June. At least 10 protesters were arrested following the demonstration

Riot police arrived at the scene quickly and dispersed the protesters, with some officers picking up the activists and dragging them away in June. At least 10 protesters were arrested following the demonstration

Riot police arrived at the scene quickly and dispersed the protesters, with some officers picking up the activists and dragging them away in June. At least 10 protesters were arrested following the demonstration

Eight climate activists from French campaign group Dernière Rénovation (Last Renovation) sporting T-shirts emblazoned with the message ‘we have 978 days left’ to tackle environmental decline tried to stop the race during the 20th stage between Lacapelle-Marival and Rocamadour. 

But their attempts to wreak havoc at the stage were thwarted by spectators, who stormed onto the road and dragged them out of the path of the oncoming bikes even before the police arrived on the scene to make arrests. 

In Spain, authorities are fighting back against eco protesters who have tried to disrupt major events and vandalise public buildings.

In June, dozens of climate protesters covered Spain’s parliament building in Madrid with red paint in a demonstration against the government’s failure to act quickly against climate change.

Riot police arrived at the scene quickly and dispersed the protesters, with some officers picking up the activists and dragging them away. At least 10 protesters were arrested following the demonstration.



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