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Greenpeace Apologizes for Protester Injuring Euro Fans After Parachuting into Stadium

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJune 16, 2021

Alex Gottschalk/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

Greenpeace has apologized after a botched protest injured multiple spectators in attendance for France's 1-0 victory over Germany at the Allianz Arena in Munich on Tuesday.

A man flying into the stadium nearly crashed and damaged the Spidercam positioned above the pitch, which caused debris to fall into the stands.

Max Merrill @MaxMerrill_

Can't believe I just caught this on video. Parachuted into the stadium, got caught in the spider cam and nearly crashed into the crowd. Hope he's ok! #GERFRA #EURO2020 pic.twitter.com/PJ49WYdFM9

Benjamin Stephan, a spokesperson for Greenpeace, said the man encountered a mechanical issue on his paraglider that caused him to unexpectedly fall toward the pitch, per the Associated Press' Ciaran Fahey:

"The paraglider didn't want to go into the stadium yesterday. The pilot wanted to fly over the stadium while maintaining the necessary safety distance and only let a balloon float into the stadium with a message to Volkswagen, a main sponsor, with the demand that they get out of the production of climate-damaging diesel and gasoline engines quicker."

UEFA said in a statement the crash "caused injuries to several people attending the game who are now in hospital."

Steffen Seibert, a spokesperson for German Chancellor Angela Merkel, also called the protest "an irresponsible action that put people in great danger."

The paraglider pilot didn't suffer any injuries and was released from custody, but he is still potentially facing legal charges.

Stephan said Greenpeace officials are "in the process of clarifying this and are working with everyone."

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This isn't the first time the organization has targeted a UEFA-sanctioned fixture to make a public statement. During a 2013 Champions League clash between FC Basel and Schalke, Greenpeace activists hung a large banner reading "Don't foul the Arctic" from the top of St. Jakob-Park.

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