Tens of thousands of environmentalists protested on Saturday (14) at the Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA). On the first day the gates of the fair were opened to the public, protesters used the event as a platform to demand that the auto industry assume its responsibility as a polluting industry.
Estimates of the number of participants in the demonstrations ranged from about 15,000, according to police, to 25,000, according to the organizers' count. More than 10,000 came by bicycle, taking part in a cyclist march that temporarily blocked two roads in the area.
Protesters called for an end to the combustion engine and a transportation policy reform that encourages low-carbon vehicles such as bicycles, buses and trains.
Other accusations raised by protesters are that the auto industry is not moving fast enough toward an emission-free means of transport. Many also require measures to discourage the purchase of SUVs, which are considered especially environmentally harmful vehicles. Some German political sectors have lately proposed measures to overcharge SUVs or even ban them in city centers.
Environmentalists protested by bicycle on Frankfurt road this Saturday (14), the first day of the Auto Show – Photo: Daniel Roland / AFP
Protesters displayed banners calling for a "transportation transition" or "Verkehrswende" in an apparent reference to the planned "Energiewende" as the German government calls the transition to renewable energy sources.
The day before, Friday, participants in the Fridays for Future environmental movement and Greenpeace activists staged a protest act within the IAA as German Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel was visiting the fair. Protesters stormed the Volkswagen booth and climbed into the cars, carrying signs with the inscription "Klimakiller" (weather killer).