A driver in a station wagon with white hand-painted letters collided into a gate outside German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s office on Wednesday morning, but did not get past the barrier and was then arrested.
The police said that a 54-year-old man was in custody over the crash.
The involved car had a message written on it: “You damned murderers of children and old people.” While the other side read: “Stop the politics of globalization.”
The police tweeted that security measures had worked, and said that at no point were Merkel or other government workers in danger. Hartmut Paeth, a spokesman for the Berlin police, said that officers were on their way to clarify “with the elderly gentleman, whom we have in custody as a driver, how this situation came about”.
Although the driver’s motive is not clear as of yet, the incident bore similarities to another crash outside Merkel’s office which took place more than six years ago. It took place in 2014 when a car, also had hand-painted white letters on itself, and it crashed into a gate outside Merkel’s office. At the time, the message on the car prompted a stop to climate change.
The messages on the car on Wednesday initially raised concerns about whether the action was related to protests in past weeks over widespread restrictions to public life to reduce the spread of the coronavirus in Germany.
Last week, protesters were barred to gather in front of the Reichstag building, a couple of hundred yards away from Merkel’s building, as the officials feared that they could hinder or endanger lawmakers and government employees.