Cleanup of Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate after climate protest to be longer and more expensive

By The Associated Press

BERLIN (AP) — Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate will have to be cleaned at greater effort and expense than initially thought after climate activists sprayed orange paint on the German capital’s signature landmark earlier this month, a company that manages official buildings in the city said Thursday.

Members of the Last Generation group used fire extinguishers filled with paint to spray all six columns of the gate on Sept. 17 — the latest in a series of eye-catching actions. It is best known for protests in which activists glue themselves to roads and block traffic, a polarizing tactic.

The group’s priorities include getting Germany to stop using all fossil fuels by 2030 and take short-term measures, including imposing a general speed limit of 100 kilometers per hour (62 mph) on highways, to cut emissions more quickly.

The cost of cleaning the gate was initially put at about 35,000 euros ($36,900). But the management company, Berliner Immobilienmanagement, made clear that it now expects a bigger and much more expensive effort.

The color that was used has seeped deeper into the sandstone monument than originally thought because of its water content, BIM said in a statement. It added that various cleaning techniques have been tested, and a combination of those methods will probably have to be used — as well as the potential use of laser technology.

That means the cleaning work will probably take “several weeks” and the costs will increase, BIM added. It said that it’s not currently possible to give a precise figure, but it expects “costs in the six-digit region” because scaffolding will have to put up around parts of the gate.

The company said that, independently of criminal proceedings, it will press claims for damages under civil law.


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