FRANKFURT (Reuters) – A climate change protester was bundled away by security staff on Thursday after he tried to rush across a stage where German Chancellor Angela Merkel was inspecting a new electric vehicle at Frankfurt’s IAA car show.
The exhibition, a staple of the global automotive calendar, has been the target of protests by environmentalist groups like Greenpeace and Sand in the Works because of the contribution Germany’s vast car industry makes to climate change.
The industry, still shaken by revelations that carmaker Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) cheated on emissions tests to make its diesel engines look cleaner than they are, has used this year’s fair to showcase dozens of new electric vehicles, a field in which Chinese and U.S. carmakers are seen as having an advantage.
A man in a T-shirt bearing Greenpeace’s logo and the slogan “Climate Killer” was tackled to the floor by security guards as he attempted to cross the stage where Merkel stood listening to BMW chief Oliver Zipse present a new car.
Activists were present at other launches, standing on parked cars within the exhibition centre holding Climate Killer posters within the sight of Merkel and of car bosses.
“She must clearly tell the auto bosses ‘fuel and diesel is over’,” said activist Gerald Neubauer.
Opening the show earlier in the day, Merkel said Germany faced a “Herculean task” greening its crucial transport sector.
“The automobile industry is a very important part of our country’s economic success and it is above all an industry which supplies jobs and therefore security for hundreds of thousands of people,” she said.