Grand Theft: Greenpeace Activists “Steal” Keys From 1000 New ICE Cars Awaiting Shipment In Port

200,000 euros damage? 

For some, like Greenpeace activists, VW is moving much too slowly stopping the sales of internal combustion engine (ICE) cars. And so they think they are justified trespassing and removing the keys of cars waiting to be loaded for export. 

grand theft greenpeace activists steal keys from 1000 new ice cars awaiting shipment in port - Grand Theft: Greenpeace Activists “Steal” Keys From 1000 New ICE Cars Awaiting Shipment In Port

Greenpeace activists overcame a fence using ladders and removed the keys from 1000 new cars waiting to be loaded onto a vessel for export at a port in Emden, Germany. Image: Greenpeace.

According to the police in northern city of Leer, some 40 activists used ladders to make their way into the fenced-in premises of a port terminal in Emden and, according to the activists themselves, they withdrew more than 1,000 car keys from new cars awaiting to be loaded on a cargo vessel for export.

“Today we are taking hundreds of combustion engines out of circulation for the time being,” a spokesperson for Greenpeace told the NDR public broadcasting.

Trespassing, “serious theft”

According to Greenpeace, all the cars that are exported from the port city of Emden within a year have an ecological footprint that is equal to that all of Switzerland.

The activists are now being investigated by the police for trespassing and particularly serious theft.


Greenpeace has also called on the VW Group to stop the worldwide sale of internal combustion engine cars by 2025. In 2020, VW sold 9.1 million cars, most of them with internal combustion engines.

Flagship German media cheering on lawbreakers?

Germany’s mainstream media reported on the Greenpeace activists and their law-breaking as if they were heroes.

In a tweet, North German pubic broadcaster NDR Lower Saxony described the Greenpeace action as “shrewd”. (Image: screenshot Twitter)

grand theft greenpeace activists steal keys from 1000 new ice cars awaiting shipment in port 1 - Grand Theft: Greenpeace Activists “Steal” Keys From 1000 New ICE Cars Awaiting Shipment In Port

Above the law?

German climate and energy site Die kalte Sonne here comments on the media reaction:

Although NDR subsequently took back the word ‘shrewd’ in another message, the message itself was left standing. With further thought, was it a shrewd action by Palestinians to launch thousands rockets on Israel and Or shrewd of Belarus president to hijack a plane? Or was it cunning, shrewd, sympathetic?

What would the legendary journalist Hans-Joachim Friedrichs have said about the Greenpeace action and the coverage by NDR? He would have said that a good journalist never gets involved with a cause, not even a supposedly good one. Whether theft is a good thing remains to be seen. Hopefully, the activists did not assume that VW would now no longer export the vehicles.

The action is likely to be responsible for a loss of almost 200,000 euros because Greenpeace “disposed” of the stolen keys. Whether Volkswagen will recover these costs from Greenpeace? The matter is not over yet either. Greenpeace proudly displays the stolen keys on the Internet. Is the NGO actually above the law?”

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Updated: June 23, 2021 — 2:06 pm

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