A massive police crackdown has taken place in Berlin, which has stopped climate protesters from blockading roads. The climate group, Letzte Generation (Last Generation), was on the receiving end of nationwide raids by the authorities last month.
The Telegraph noted that the group has used similar tactics to Just Stop Oil, a UK-based climate activist group that has gained substantial media attention over the past year. Data had revealed protesters in Berlin had blocked more than 50 roads in the week leading up to the raid. In mid-May, officers were dispatched to 17 different incidents in which protesters glued themselves to the tarmac or locked their arms in car wheels, per the report.
However, the actions of the protesters have changed since May 24, when the authorities raided 15 properties across the country and froze multiple bank accounts. A total of three bank accounts were frozen, which contained at least €100,000 worth of donations. The group’s website was also taken down. The raids were ordered by prosecutors in Munich who suspect the group to be a criminal organization.
A police spokesman said: “What we have seen is ‘slow walks,’ legally registered protests where demonstrators slowly cross the street.” However, he noted that it was still too early to determine whether the blockades would be gone for good.
Nancy Faeser, the German interior minister, suggested the government was not “prepared to be made a fool of,” adding that the “police registered more than 1,600 crimes by Letzte Generation last year alone, most of which were street blockades.” She also added that the group had “crossed a red line.”
However, there has been some backlash over the German government’s handling of the climate activists. UN secretary general, Antonio Guterres, said that climate activists “need to be protected and we need them now more than ever.”
Human rights organization Amnesty International suggested that the recent handling of the activist group would have a “chilling effect on other climate activists who may now be too scared to exercise their right to freedom of assembly,” per the report.