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GREENPEACE

Two hospitalized in Munich after activist crashes parachute into Euro 2020 stadium

At least two people were hospitalised Tuesday after a Greenpeace activist crash-landed on the pitch before the Germany-France match at Euro 2020 when his powered parachute microlight struck spidercam cables at Munich's Allianz Arena.

Two hospitalized in Munich after activist crashes parachute into Euro 2020 stadium
The activist lands on the turf of the Allianz Arena. credit: dpa | Christian Charisius

The pilot flew over the pitch just before kick-off in the Group F clash with “Kick out oil” written on the canopy of his parachute.

However, when the pilot hit television cables above the pitch, it knocked his microlight off balance and he landed on the turf after clipping one of the stands, where the casualties happened.

The activist was arrested soon after landing.

A Munich police spokesman told AFP that at least two people suffered head injuries and “both had to be taken to hospital, we don’t know yet how serious the injuries are”.

The police spokesman said the activist appears to have escaped injury, but “we are considering various criminal charges. Munich police has zero understanding for political actions that put lives at risk”.

UEFA also slammed the botched stunt.

“This inconsiderate act – which could have had very serious consequences for a huge number of people attending – caused injuries to several people attending the game who are now in hospital and law authorities will take the necessary action,” European football’s governing body said in a statement.

The parachutist above the stadium. Photo: dpa | Matthias Balk

“The staging of the match was fortunately not impacted by such a reckless and dangerous action, but several people were injured nonetheless.”

The stunt was a protest against German car manufacturer Volkswagen, one of the sponsors of the European Championship, Greenpeace explained in a Twitter post.

“UEFA and its partners are fully committed to a sustainable Euro 2020 tournament and many initiatives have been implemented to offset carbon emissions,” said UEFA.

Greenpeace said they regretted any harm caused.

“This protest was never intended to disrupt the game or hurt people,” read a Twitter post on Greenpeace’s official German account.

“We hope that everyone is OK and that no one was seriously injured. Greenpeace actions are always peaceful and non-violent.”

“Unfortunately, not everything went according to plan.”

READ MORE: Climate activists rage as Germany opts for drawn-out coal exit

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LGBT

Germany turns rainbow-coloured in protest at UEFA stadium ban

Germany will stage a defiant display of rainbows on Wednesday after UEFA blocked plans to light Munich's stadium in rainbow colours in protest against Hungary's anti-LGBTQ law, with the Foreign Minister slamming the European football body's decision as "wrong".

Germany turns rainbow-coloured in protest at UEFA stadium ban
A security guard raises the rainbow flag at the European Commission building in Berlin on Wednesday in protest against Hungary's anti-LGBTQ law. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Christoph Soeder

In the escalating political row over Hungary’s passing last week of a law banning the “promotion” of homosexuality to minors, EU chief Ursula von der Leyen also weighed in from Brussels, slamming Budapest’s move as a disgrace.

Budapest meanwhile hit back, praising UEFA for taking a stance against “provocation”, while stadia across the country prepared to light up in national colours in a tit-for-tat display during Germany’s Euro 2020 match
with Hungary.

The two countries are due to play later Wednesday at the Allianz Arena in Munich, whose city authorities had planned to light the stadium up in rainbow colours to “send a visible sign of solidarity” with Hungary’s LGBTQ community.

READ ALSO: UEFA refuses to light Munich stadium in rainbow colours for Germany-Hungary match

But UEFA refused the request, insisting it must remain a “politically and religiously neutral organisation”.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas criticised the move, tweeting: “It’s true, the football pitch is not about politics. It’s about people, about fairness, about tolerance. That’s why @UEFA is sending the wrong signal.”

Vowing defiance, Munich was planning to put up rainbow-coloured flags at its town hall and illuminate a huge wind turbine close to the stadium, as well as the city’s 291-metre (955-foot) Olympic Tower.

Other stadiums across Germany were also planning rainbow light displays, including Berlin’s iconic Olympic Stadium, as well as Bundesliga stadiums in Cologne, Frankfurt and Wolfsburg.

German newspapers, such as the Süddeutsche zeitung, displayed rainbows on their front pages, while Bavarian industrial giants such as Siemens and BMW also decked themselves in rainbow colours on Twitter.

‘Against European values’

In Brussels, Von der Leyen said the Hungarian bill “clearly discriminates against people on the basis of their sexual orientation. And it goes against all the values, the fundamental values of the European Union”.

UEFA’s refusal to allow Munich to send its message of solidarity also drew condemnation from football personalities across Europe, as well as from Germany’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender community.

“I find it shameful that UEFA forbids us to send a sign for cosmopolitanism, tolerance, respect and solidarity with the people of the LGBT
community,” said Munich mayor Dieter Reiter.

Germany head coach Joachim Löw said he “would have been happy” if the stadium was lit in rainbow colours.

Markus Ulrich, a spokesman for Germany’s Lesbian and Gay Association (LSVD), told AFP subsidiary SID that UEFA had “not recognised the signs of the times – and it is clear to see which side it is taking with its decision”.

However, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto hailed UEFA’s decision as correct.

“The leadership of UEFA made the right decision by not assisting in a political provocation against Hungary,” Szijjarto told AFP.

The interim president of the German FA also backed European football’s governing body.

“It is no longer a mere statement in the common fight against any form of discrimination, but a political action,” said Rainer Koch, who also sits on UEFA’s Executive Committee.

By Yann SCHREIBER with Femke COLBORNE in Berlin

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