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Protests rock start of Frankfurt Motor Show

HUNDREDS of protesters blocked the main entrance to the Frankfurt Motor Show in Germany today, following mass weekend demonstrations that mobilised 25,000 in the city.

Over 10,000 staged a mass cycle into Frankfurt, shutting down motorways as the International Automobile Exhibition, as the show is formally known, opened on Saturday. It is the largest motor show on Earth.

On Friday, the Fridays for Future movement inspired by Swedish schoolgirl Greta Thunberg staged demos in Frankfurt with slogans including Burn Capitalism Not Coal.

Protesters demanded a “transport transition” and called for the German government to do more to discourage production of gas-guzzling SUV vehicles while outlining plans to facilitate easier access to zero or low-emissions forms of travel including buses, trains, bicycles and walking. Organisers said they were marching for “an end to the combustion engine.” They said Chancellor Angela Merkel was relying on car manufacturers to reform themselves and this would not work.

Greenpeace, Extinction Rebellion and cyclist awareness group Critical Mass were among the organisations that mobilised for the mass demos under the umbrella title Spanner in the Works.

Greenpeace said Germany’s role as a leading car producer gave it a special responsibility to act, saying the emissions from vehicles made by just three of its car companies — Daimler, Volkswagen and BMW — in 2018 were greater than Germany’s national CO2 emissions that year. Its report Crashing the Climate — How the Car Industry is Driving the Climate Crisis calls for an end to all sales of new diesel and petrol-powered cars by 2028.

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