100 activists detained in Geneva after private jet protest

Over 100 climate activists remain in custody 24 hours after peaceful protest at private jet sales event.



Immediate release: Wednesday 24 May 2023

  • At least 102 activists remain in custody, five from the UK
  • Activists report the use of pepper spray
  • Greenpeace and other groups demand their immediate release

At least 102 climate activists from 17 countries, including five from the UK, remain in police custody 24 hours after a peaceful protest against Europe’s largest private jet fair, the annual European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE) in Geneva, Switzerland. They were supporting Greenpeace, Stay Grounded, Extinction Rebellion, Scientist Rebellion and other climate justice groups.

Activists report the use of pepper spray and injuries after the police intervention. Greenpeace, Stay Grounded, Extinction Rebellion and Scientist Rebellion, which are supported by activists, are extremely concerned about these reports of excessive use of force against the peaceful protesters and demand the immediate release of all those involved.

Klara Maria Schenk, transport expert at Greenpeace, said: “A unique, European coalition of courageous activists from 17 countries has severely disrupted the champagne party of a super-rich elite – Europe’s largest private jet sales event. Their demand is unequivocal, private aviation should be consigned to the history books. We support the activists and demand their immediate release.”

Mira Kapfinger from the Stay Grounded network said: “This is one of the largest private jet fairs in the world – a world that is heading towards climate breakdown. It was totally legitimate to disrupt these business people. While they are shopping for ever bigger and polluting jets, others are suffering severe consequences from heat waves and floods.”

Cordula Markert from Scientist Rebellion said: “At this stage of the climate catastrophe it’s absolutely irresponsible to keep criminalising peaceful climate protesters instead of the people and companies who are disproportionately contributing to the problem. We as society need to get rid of outdated, unsustainable and unjust ways of living. It’s time for politicians to step up, walk the talk and ban private jets.”

Shortly after the opening of the fair, the activists entered its exhibition area at Geneva Airport, where about 50 luxury private aircraft are on display. They chained themselves to the entrances of private jets, holding hand banners in the style of health warnings on cigarette packets and demanded a ban on private jets.

Contrary to several misleading media reports, the activists did not enter the taxiways or runways of the airport. The activists made it clear that at no time did they intend to disrupt commercial air traffic at Geneva Airport. A spokeswoman for air traffic control agency Skyguide confirmed protestors had not accessed the runway during the incident, according to Aviation International News. This should not have affected safe flight operations in any way. The protestors informed the airport police as soon as the peaceful action started and were in constant contact to avoid any dangerous situation or misinterpretation of the scale and purpose of the action.

• Spokespeople from Greenpeace, Stay Grounded, Scientist Rebellion, Extinction Rebellion are available for interviews in French, English, German.

• High-res photos and videos are available: https://media.greenpeace.org/collection/27MZIFJLAGWRE and https://flic.kr/s/aHBqjAEJaj

• Download the climate movement’s media briefing on private aviation here: https://stay-grounded.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/05/Private_Aviation_May_2023.pdf



The activists are from Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, and the UK.


Greenpeace: Klara Maria Schenk, transport campaigner for Greenpeace Central and Eastern Europe, +43 (0)664 88 17 22 67, kschenk@greenpeace.org

Greenpeace International press desk: +31 (0) 20718 2470, pressdesk.int@greenpeace.org (24 hours)

Stay Grounded: Mira Kapfinger, campaigner for Stay Grounded, +41 77 993 51 88, press@stay-grounded.org

Stay Grounded press desk: +43 (0)670 3534311, press@stay-grounded.org

Extinction Rebellion: Joël Perret, Extinction Rébellion Genève, +41 (0)79 664 03 37, joel.perret@proton.me

Scientist Rebellion: Cordula Markert, Scientist Rebellion Germany, +49 151 41625284, scientistrebellion_GER@protonmail.com

What's next?