Security stepped up at IAA as climate protests planned

30 August 2019

Security stepped up at IAA as climate protests planned

30 August 2019

The IAA Frankfurt is stepping up security checks to prepare for potential disruption by climate activists who are calling for people to join anti-car protests.

The city has been beset by a number of incidents, with police investigating a group calling themselves ′Rocks in the Gearbox' with 40 luxury vehicles vandalised at a dealership in Kronberg, on the outskirts of Frankfurt, earlier this week.

Ahead of the car show, Germany’s auto industry association, the VDA, has sought to defuse anti-car sentiment by inviting environmental activists from Greenpeace and Deutsche Umwelthilfe to a panel discussion on 5 September in Berlin, where they, along with executives from Daimler and BMW and the VDA, will discuss the climate crisis and mobility of the future.

′We are in close contact with the security authorities just as we are at every IAA. Entrance controls will be tightened, given that there may be spontaneous rioting at the show,' VDA spokesman Eckehart Rotter told Reuters.

Protests planned

′Rocks in the Gearbox' have appealed to the public to join public protests in Frankfurt on 14 September, the midway point of the IAA, in a move which has prompted the VDA to warn of long queues at security checkpoints at the show.

The group recently released a statement saying: ′In two weeks Frankfurt will once again launch a propaganda show where the outmoded, climate and environment destroying transportation system is hyped.'

′We want to expose this show for what it is: profits made on the backs of the poorest and at the expense of future generations … We think it is time to throw rocks into the gearbox of capitalist and automotive profit logic.'

The statement called for more scrutiny of working conditions in related industries, including freight, cotton and rubber production as well as for people mining rare earths for electric car batteries and electronics.

Vehicles attacked

Police in Wiesbaden are investigating the group after it claimed responsibility for vandalising Jaguars, Land Rovers and Aston Martins at the luxury car dealership.

Windshields and windows, bonnets and panels were smashed with metal objects, and the two glass doors at the car dealership were broken, a spokesman for the Wiesbaden police told Reuters.

′They used hammers and crowbars, and we are investigating a group claiming responsibility,' the spokesman said.

Climate change groups have been active globally, disrupting a number of cities as they try to highlight the damage that transport and industry are causing. Earlier in the year, the City of London was shut in some areas as activists from a group called ′Extinction Rebellion' occupied roads and bridges in the UK capital.

The IAA Frankfurt, Europe's largest automotive show, takes place from 4-22 September.