Greenpeace parachutist on Euro 2020 lucky not to be shot down

Published:21 June 2021

Manchester City

After a Greenpeace protester parachuted into the stadium and wounded two people before Germany's Euro 2020 match against France, Greenpeace apologised and investigated the Munich police.

The demonstrator was flying a powered paraglider with a motor connected to his back when he lost control and collided with overhead camera wires tied to the stadium roof, careening over fans' heads before landing on the field ahead of Tuesday's game.

France coach Didier Deschamps was almost missed by debris that landed on the field and main grandstand.

On Wednesday, Greenpeace spokesman Benjamin Stephan apologised for the botched demonstration and the injuries that resulted.

After striking the steel cables connecting to the stadium's top, Mr Stephan said the pilot had no choice but to make an emergency landing on the field.

Munich police said they were looking into several possible criminal code and aviation act offences. According to a state minister, the Greenpeace protester who parachuted into the stadium before Germany's Euro 2020 match versus France in Munich was fortunate not to be shot down by anti-terror marksmen enforcing a no-fly zone.

According to the authorities, none of the injuries was severe, and the pilot, a 38-year-old male from Baden Württemberg in western Germany, was unharmed.

The phrase "KICK OUT OIL!" and "Greenpeace" were scrawled on the protester's parachute.

When the parachutist made it to the field, Germany's Antonio Rüdiger and Robin Gosens were the first to reach him.

Security stewards then escorted him away.

"Law authorities will take the required action," UEFA said, calling the move "reckless and hazardous."

The German soccer federation also denounced the incident.

Greenpeace has already challenged UEFA and one of its top-tier tournament sponsors, Russian state energy corporation Gazprom.

Greenpeace activists abseiled from the stadium's roof to hang a banner criticising Russian oil company Gazprom, which sponsored the visiting team, German club Schalke, during a Champions League match in Basel in 2013.

Greenpeace then contributed money to a Basel-supported organisation, which was penalised by UEFA for the security breach.

Following the event, UEFA issued a statement defending its environmental credentials.