From our correspondent
No flags, no slogans, and especially no glue. On this Wednesday afternoon, the activists of the climate collective “Last generation” (Letzte Generation in German) parade in Berlin – and in a dozen other cities of the country – but will not stick to the tarmac, as they have done since. a year and a half. This time, they wrote a letter to Chancellor Olaf Scholz to denounce the lack of climate action and ask him to create a citizens’ assembly on the subject.
Usually only a handful of people take part in protest marches and road blocking actions, but this time there were several hundred marching. “I came in solidarity with this collective, because I refuse that the authorities criminalize a movement of civil disobedience”, explains Bastian, a thirty-year-old unrelated to “Last generation”.
Last week, at the request of the Munich public prosecutor’s office in Bavaria, searches were indeed carried out in several regions, as part of an investigation in connection with the formation of a “criminal organization”. This operation contrasts with the usual lawsuits for “disturbances to public order” carried out against this climate group and which clutter the courts.
“This operation is sickening,” reacts Simon, a member of Letzte Generation, in the Berlin parade. “We are a non-violent movement and remind the government that it is they who violate the Constitution by not implementing an active policy to fight against climate change. We are just a fire alarm. The world is burning,” he adds. In 2021, the Constitutional Court had indeed ruled that the federal authorities were not doing enough to reduce CO2 emissions.
Many political parties, especially on the right, welcomed this police operation. One of the leaders of the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU) compared this collective to “a climatic RAF”, in reference to the far left terrorist movement, Red Army Faction, of the years 1970-1980. Even the Social Democratic Chancellor Olaf Scholz considered it “completely stupid to stick to a painting or a road”. As for the Germans, while most want more action to combat climate change, 76% reject the methods chosen.
“Two questions arise: that of the legitimacy of the movement and that of the legality of its actions”, observes Albrecht von Lucke, of the monthly Blätter für deutsche und internationale Politik. “The movement believes that it will achieve its objectives all the better if it is disturbing. I fear, however, that the opposite may happen. This strengthens the right-wing populist opposition. The movement could in turn become more radicalized, in a spiral of escalation which would be fatal, ”said the political scientist.
Activists say they are determined. “We are not here to be loved, but to achieve our goals,” confirms Simon, in the procession of demonstrators.