BERLIN: A small drone that hovered over a campaign rally by German Chancellor Angela Merkel before crash landing in front of her was a protest by the upstart Pirate party, it said Monday.
Merkel looked on apparently amused as the about 40-centimeter wide device, fitted with a camera, dropped down on the podium just meters away from her at the Christian Democratic Union event Sunday in the eastern city of Dresden.
A week before Merkel seeks a third term in general elections, the Pirate Party, which campaigns for greater transparency in politics, said it wanted to take aim at the government’s stance on drones.
It had sought to convey to Merkel and Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere, on the podium with her, “how it feels to suddenly yourself be observed by a drone,” the party’s deputy chairman Markus Barenhoff said in a statement.
“For us, the use of drones within the EU’s security framework is the expression of a disastrous trend,” he said.
It was also a protest against a scrapped spy drone deal which had already swallowed more than 500 million euros ($654 million) before being axed earlier in the year, said the statement posted on the party’s website.
After police forced an unidentified Pirate party member to ground it, he conducted an emergency landing “in the area in front of the stage in order not to endanger anyone,” he added.
A 23-year-old man was temporarily detained, national news agency DPA reported.