Berlin’s Senator for the Interior, Iris Spranger, has criticized the new autobahn blockades in the capital. “We have police forces throughout the city who can be on site very quickly,” said the SPD politician on Tuesday at a press conference after the Senate session. “And we intervene there very, very quickly.” Climate protection demonstrators had blocked numerous exits of the A100 city motorway in Berlin on Tuesday morning. “I myself still say that I don’t think such actions are right because they are not only a danger for those who are stuck on the road,” said Spranger.
The motorists who are forced to slam on the brakes are also at risk. Others would have to stand in long traffic jams to avoid running over someone. “I condemn something like that, and I expect that the judiciary will then come to convictions,” said the interior senator.
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Climate activists from the “Last Generation” group also blocked several exits from the A100 city autobahn in Berlin on Tuesday for the second day in a row. Apparently, there were clashes between drivers and demonstrators.
The group posted a video in the morning showing how the driver of a Mercedes slowly pushed away a demonstrator with his car at the Spandauer Damm exit. The woman first walked backwards and then lay down on the hood of the car. The driver shouted that he had an appointment and the protester shouted back. It was not clear how the situation would turn out.
Photos were already published on the Internet on Monday of blockers being pushed away or sprayed with water. Similar incidents had already occurred in January and February during numerous sit-ins.
According to the police and the traffic information center, about ten exits and streets were affected by the blockades, especially in the west and south of the city, including the Tempelhofer Damm, Messedamm Süd and Spandauer Damm exits and the Saarstraße exit of the A 103. According to the police, groups were blocked in each case around seven to ten men and women make the trips. 180 police officers were on duty. Police directed vehicles across the sidewalk.
There was a traffic jam on the freeway during rush hour. “At the moment, the actions of the demonstrators seem to be happening every minute,” said the traffic information center. Several activists stuck themselves to the street on Halenseestrasse.
The demonstrators called for free public transport and a speed limit on their banners under the motto “Save oil instead of drilling”. In addition, under “Nordseeöl – nö” they plead for Chancellor Olaf Scholz to cancel new oil drilling in the North Sea.
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This week’s blockades had been announced and are to take place every morning. It was only on Monday that there were brief blockades of motorway exits in numerous places. The climate protectors announced that they were planning daily interruptions to road traffic in the federal capital for the next few days. The aim is to draw the federal government’s attention to their demands in a way that they cannot ignore. “An end is only in sight as soon as Prime Minister Olaf Scholz credibly declares that there will be no oil drilling in the North Sea.”
A total of about 80 people are said to have taken to the streets. There was a traffic jam. The police were on duty and quickly cleared most of the blockades. According to the police, the actions affected nine exits or nearby intersections. A single-digit number of demonstrators took part in each case.
According to the police, motorway exits in many parts of the city in the north, west and south of Berlin such as Tegeler Weg, Sachsendamm, Beusselstraße, Siemensdamm, Saatwinkler Damm, Spandauer Damm, Messe Nord and Süd, Konstanzer Straße, Seestraße, Wexstraße and Oberlandstraße have been affected since around 8.30 a.m.
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Demonstrators from the Last Generation group posted photos on Twitter showing blockers holding banners sitting on the street in the rain. In a statement, the group wrote that 60 activists blocked the A100 in eleven places on Monday morning.
The activists had previously announced blockades. “Far more people than before” are now to take part in the actions and make the autobahns “a place of peaceful resistance,” it said.
The 45-year-old activist Sonja Manderbach was quoted as saying in a statement on Monday that they were “determined to go to prison for the lives of our children.” If climate and society collapse, unimaginable suffering and death await children.
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“We still have 3 years to avert the collapse of our climate,” said co-initiator Henning Jeschke. According to his own statements, the 22-year-old had already taken part in a hunger strike for climate protection last year, which lasted 27 days.
[Read a full account of the activists who say “If you want to stop us, lock us up”]
In an open letter to the federal government, “Last Generation” called for more immediate action to be taken to combat climate change. In order to enforce this, a public disturbance by interrupting everyday life is needed. In January and February, according to the police, the initiative in Berlin blocked 45 freeway exits with demonstrators sitting and taped to them. This was followed by blockades at airports and the port of Hamburg.
In March, the actions were interrupted, later resumed. This led to more than 270 criminal charges and around 120 charges of administrative offenses in Berlin. In the meantime, the police have a mid-three-digit number of investigations, mostly due to coercion and resistance to police officers.
Interior Senator Iris Spranger (SPD) tweeted: “Anyone who is stuck on the streets wants to blackmail politics and society. The end does not justify the means. This also applies to the climate movement. The actions are punishable.
Benjamin Jendro, press spokesman for the Berlin police union, also criticized the action: “It’s nice that Berlin is considered an international metropolis where you can take to the streets with a few for everything and so massively hinder the everyday lives of hundreds of thousands.” He told the Tagesspiegel: Protest within the framework of the law is legitimate, but the question of meaning and purpose must be allowed, says Jendro.”Perhaps it would also be advisable for them to be sanctioned accordingly by the judiciary, our colleague. don’t work for the wastepaper basket and blockers don’t leave the capital after such a guerrilla action as if nothing had happened,” he added.
The domestic policy spokesman for the FDP parliamentary group in the Berlin House of Representatives, Björn Jotzo, criticized that the blockers were “deliberately breaking the right of assembly in order to chaotic the city”. The Senate does not live up to its responsibility to consistently enforce the laws. “Now it’s taking its revenge that the judiciary has not been able to complete even a single procedure,” complained Jotzo.
On Monday, the police temporarily arrested 75 demonstrators. That affected 51 men and 24 women, a police spokesman said on Tuesday. 21 demonstrators stuck to the streets. 28 criminal proceedings were initiated, mainly for coercion and resistance to the police. In addition, eleven investigations into administrative offenses. The blockers were all released again. The demonstrators had blocked highway exits and roads in twelve places on Monday morning. The police prevented blockages in four other places, the spokesman said.