Scholz thinks the traffic blockades of the last generation are “completely crazy”. A raid has now caused controversy. This is also observed at the United Nations.
After the crackdown on the Last Generation protest group, the United Nations has highlighted the importance of climate activists and their actions.
At the same time, the spokesman for UN Secretary-General António Guterres told the German Press Agency that, despite the prevailing fundamental right to peaceful demonstrations, governments naturally have a responsibility to enforce laws and ensure security. Chancellor Olaf Scholz also insists on compliance with the rule of law.
What has happened
Police and prosecutors raided the last generation on Wednesday. Around 170 officers searched 15 apartments and business premises in seven federal states, as announced by the Munich Public Prosecutor’s Office and the Bavarian State Criminal Police Office. The charge is to form or support a criminal organization.
The activists vehemently deny being criminals, although several have been convicted of criminal offences, including imprisonment.
Call for demonstrations – no blockades
For the time being, the climate protest group is relying on demonstrations instead of road blockades. The raid “hit everyone hard, but we’re not afraid,” the group said, urging its supporters to “join a protest march that starts near you.” The next demonstration is this afternoon at Frankfurter Tor in Friedrichshain. A total of 17 cities were preparing for demonstrations. Unlike earlier in the week before the raid, no roadblocks were reported.
The group regularly draws attention to the consequences of global warming with sit-ins and campaigns in museums. Their members often stick to streets or works of art – but also obstruct emergency vehicles. They are also accused of attacking oil industry facilities.
With their protest, the last generation wants to denounce climate policy deficits – for example with a view to the immense climate-damaging emissions from car traffic. The activists are calling for a so-called social council to plan the end of the use of fossil fuels in Germany by 2030. They also demand a speed limit of 100 km/h on the motorway and a 9-euro ticket.
What the UN says
“Climate activists – led by the moral voice of young people – have continued to pursue their goals through the darkest of days. They need to be protected and we need them now more than ever,” Guterres’ spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in New York. At crucial moments, protesters were instrumental in persuading governments and business leaders to do much more.
Without them, global climate targets would already be out of reach, Dujarric said. However, despite the fundamental right to peaceful demonstrations, governments obviously have a responsibility to enforce the law and ensure security.
What the chancellor thinks
Scholz defended his statement that the activists who drew attention to themselves with traffic blockades and daubing art were “completely crazy”. “I don’t mince my words,” the chancellor told the “Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger”. Scholz welcomed the fact that crimes committed by the group were being prosecuted. “Of all the protest actions of the past decades, it is probably the one that has had the least effect – except that everyone is upset about it, even the well-meaning ones. The climate gluers are doing the cause, i.e. climate protection, a disfavor,” said Scholz .
He did not want to comment on the question of legal classification as a criminal group. “It’s not up to me to decide that, it’s up to our judiciary, and they act independently.” But he added: “Criminal offenses are clearly being committed here repeatedly, and the rule of law cannot ignore that.”
What Union politicians want from the Office for the Protection of the Constitution
Several Union politicians are questioning the decision of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution not to monitor the last generation. The CDU member of the Bundestag Christoph de Vries (CDU) told the “Welt”: “An organization that systematically plans and commits criminal offenses and does not shy away from violent crime, threats and coercion by our constitutional bodies is a case for the protection of the constitution.” He considers “observation by means of intelligence services to be necessary”.
CSU MP Alexander Hoffmann explained that “ideas such as emergency legislation, the complete elimination of political authorities and their decisions, and the redistribution of property” were discussed within the group. “This is clearly aimed at eliminating the constitutional order.”
CSU regional group chief Alexander Dobrindt called for “a fundamental reassessment of the last generation by the security authorities” if the suspicion is confirmed that an attack on an oil pipeline was planned as a result of this movement.
What the Office for the Protection of the Constitution says so far
The President of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Thomas Haldenwang (CDU), recently said that his authority did not have sufficient evidence to assess the group as extremist. Since the basic attitude of the activists is to refrain from active violence, there is no extremism. In this assessment, he agrees with all 16 state offices for the protection of the constitution. The protection of the constitution follows daily how the situation develops.
What other climate protectors think
After the raid, the “Fridays for future” activist Luisa Neubauer made allegations against German politicians and the judiciary. “While the FDP is maltreating the climate goals undisturbed, various state bodies are working remarkably unprofessionally to check the climate movement and especially the last generation for their loyalty to democracy.”
The climate movement insists on compliance with applicable law, namely the Climate Protection Act. Although she criticizes the form of protest by the Last Generation group, “movement on the streets” is needed now, and “it doesn’t matter what logo you run under”.
Many experts doubt that the activists’ dismissed accusation that they belong to a criminal organization can be substantiated. Because only if one dismisses the group’s declared climate-political motives as pretentious can their illegal actions – such as coercion – be reinterpreted as the actual main purpose of the group. Road blockades are annoying for some, but not a significant threat to public safety. And it is difficult to derive radical or even extremist ideas from the group’s fairly moderate demands.
what the public thinks
A very large majority of Germans believe that Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) is correct in saying that the actions of the last generation are “completely insane”. This was the result of a representative survey by the opinion research institute Civey for the digital media house Table.Media. Of those surveyed, 82 percent responded accordingly. 15 percent found Scholz’s statement wrong, especially younger people between 18 and 39 years (24 percent).
I have been working in the news industry for over 6 years, first as a reporter and now as an editor. I have covered politics extensively, and my work has appeared in major newspapers and online news outlets around the world. In addition to my writing, I also contribute regularly to 24 Hours World.