Greenpeace, one of the organizers of the protest, says that the likeliest number of participants is 25,000. They also proclaim that the auto show is dying because the auto industry no longer has the same support from consumers as it used to.
“Carmakers must stop with these huge cars and stop producing internal combustion engines,” the group says in a statement released ahead of the protest. “Despite the unavoidable effects of the climate crisis, manufacturers at the IAA continue to present a majority of cars that burn petrol or diesel. Only about a quarter of the newly introduced vehicles in Frankfurt are pure electric cars.”
Their sentiment is echoed by other groups taking part in the protest, including Sand im Getriebe (Sand in the Gears), described as the most radical of the lot, which campaigns for complete abandon of car use.
“The automotive industry is under pressure, it no longer has the support of society as it did a few years ago,” Tina Velo, spokesperson for Sand im Getriebe says. “This Motor Show represents the past century. We want the future to belong to buses, trains, and bicycles. We don’t want more of these big SUVs and cars that consume a lot,” Christoph Bautz, director of Campact Group, adds.
When Angela Merkel opened the Show and despite her opening speech urging carmakers to invest in electric, protesters showed up at the stands, got up on SUVs to flash placards with “Climate Killer” on them.
On September 20, the German government is expected to make public new measures to combat climate change. More protests are expected after this date.