| 11 December 2023, Monday |

Germany: Police carry out nationwide raids against climate activists

On Wednesday, German police conducted searches at 15 properties across the country in connection with protests carried out by the climate activist group called Last Generation. In Munich, prosecutors are specifically investigating seven individuals, ranging in age from 22 to 38. The authorities suspect their involvement in forming or supporting a criminal organization, as stated by the police in an official statement. As of now, no arrests have been reported in relation to these searches.
The suspects are believed to have been raising funds to finance further crimes on behalf of Last Generation. The police say that they have collected at least 1.4 million euros ($1.54 million) in donations.
It is suspected that two of the defendants sabotaged the Trieste-Ingolstadt oil pipeline. It is considered critical infrastructure and hence is subject to special protection.
The searches took place in Hesse, Hamburg, Saxony-Anhalt, Saxony, Bavaria, Berlin and Schleswig-Holstein. Two accounts seized and an asset freeze was ordered.
Last Generation activists have been causing large-scale disruption across Germany in recent months by glueing themselves to roads and blocking rush-hour traffic. They have also flung mashed potatoes on paintings in museums and have blocking airport runways.
Such activities by the group in order to push government to do more about climate change has divided public opinion in Germany.
At a press conference following the raids, the activists said they would not be cowed.
Spokeswoman Aimee van Baalen admitted that she was terrified when she learnt about the raids targeting her friends.
“They frighten us, but we must not persist in this fear. The government is steering us into a climate hell with our eyes wide open,” she said.
“We must continue our resistance,” she said, calling a demonstration next Wednesday.
Courts take tougher actions
In recent weeks, dozens of climate activists from the group have be brought to court over their traffic blockade action. Most of them have been fined for disrupting traffic or obstructing police work. But some courts have begun taking tough action and have handed jail time as well.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and his coalition partners including the Greens have expressed frustration.
Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck of the Greens has said the street blockades were “not a helpful contribution to climate protection” because they don’t win consensus but they “irritate people”.
Scenes of angry motorists shouting at the glued activists or dragging them off the streets have accompanied many of the street blockades.
The activists argue, however, that their protests are vital in the face of inadequate action taken by the government and society in general to protect the environment and prevent catastrophic global warming.

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