(Berlin) Climate activists from the German group “Letzte Generation” (Last Generation) blocked traffic on various axes of Berlin on Monday, much to the chagrin of the government of Olaf Scholz who believes he “has done more for the protection of the environment”. environment than all previous governments”.
The Berlin police, questioned by AFP, identified protest actions in around thirty places in the German capital, in particular on the ring road where the activists, as usual, stuck to the asphalt.
“We, the Last Generation, are […] shutting down the city to get the government to move,” Raphael Thelen, an activist for the movement, said in a video posted on Twitter.
“We naturally do not support this kind of protest action,” German government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit said at a regular press briefing in Berlin, saying the coalition of Social Democrats, Greens and Liberals now in power had done more than any previous government.
On Twitter, Liberal Finance Minister Christian Lindner called the activists’ actions “physical violence”. “Whoever wants another policy can found a party and seek a majority to defend his positions,” he said.
Transport Minister Volker Wissing, also a member of the Liberal Party, is due to meet the activists of “Letzte Generation” on May 2.
About 500 law enforcement officials and a helicopter were trying to extricate the demonstrators, mostly dressed in orange safety vests and who in small groups of two or three were sitting cross-legged on the road, trousers and bare hands glued to the asphalt.
“It’s relatively simple to reduce emissions. The richest 10% in Germany consume as much energy as the poorest 50%,” Raphael Thelen, an activist for the movement, said in a video posted on Twitter.
The “Letzte Generation” group has drawn attention in recent months with several actions of civil disobedience, blocking major roads or throwing different substances on paintings in museums.
Hundreds of legal proceedings are underway for these actions, considered to be a disturbance to public order.
Recently, the Heilbronn court sentenced three activists to five, four and three months in prison. This judgment is, according to the public prosecutor’s office and the activists, the hardest rendered so far in Germany against members of “Letzte Generation”.
The government of Social Democratic Chancellor Olaf Scholz has ambitious climate targets, but activists doubt its ability to meet commitments, such as producing 80% of electricity from renewable energy by 2030.
The coalition is also hampered by differing views among the three member parties, including Greens and Liberals, on climate policy.
The Council of Climate Experts, responsible for evaluating the government’s action, issued a report last week saying that Germany was at risk of not achieving its CO2 reduction targets.