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Environmental activists block private jets at Geneva airport

The group aims to use non-violent civil disobedience in an attempt to halt mass extinction and minimise the risk of social collapse. Keystone / Martial Trezzini

The global environmental movement Extinction Rebellion took its civil obedience aims to the Geneva airport where some 100 people blocked the private jet terminal on Saturday.

This content was published on November 16, 2019 - 15:14
Keystone-SDA/jdp

For two and a half hours, some 30 activists sat in front of the entrance to the private jet terminal, partially blocking its entrance. Others were reportedly singing and holding signs with white clouds or flags with the symbol of the movement.

The group's stated aim is to use nonviolent civil disobedience to compel government action to avoid ecological collapse.

It gained notoriety in Switzerland in September after it poured green dye into the Limmat river that flows through Zurich to draw attention to the climate crisis. Some 117 climate activists pledging allegiance to the Extinction Rebellion movement are also facing criminal charges for blocking a road and a bridge during protests in Lausanne in September. 

"We want to denounce this completely absurd means of transport since a private jet emits twenty times more CO2 per passenger than a conventional airplane," explained Micaël Metry, one of the movement’s spokespeople.

Dozens of police officers were at the scene, but the demonstration was peaceful. No disruptions of commercial flights were reported and the majority of passengers were able to transit through the airport.

After two hours of protest, the group accepted the suggestion of the cantonal police to evacuate the area. According to news agency Keystone-ATS, the group did not make a formal request before the demonstration and the identities of the demonstrators were taken by police. However, a spokesperson for the cantonal police indicated that no decision has been taken about possible consequences for the action.

This story was updated following the demonstration.


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