Berlin police officers remove a protester from the road ahead of a march in solidarity with the climate activist group The Last Generation. Photo: CLEMENS BILAN //EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
Police crackdown on climate change protesters in Berlin stopped. The blockade of the streets of the German capital has not affected since nationwide raids against the group Letzte Generation (Last Generation) last month.
< p>Since the end of April, the group, using tactics similar to Just Stop Oil in the UK, has blocked the main streets of Berlin and pledged to continue until the government complies with their demands.
Data shared by the Berlin police with The Telegraph showed that officers had to deal with more than 50 separate blockades in the week leading up to the raids. On May 19 alone, the police were called in connection with 17 cases in which activists either stuck themselves to the pavement or pressed their hands to the wheels of cars.
Activists filmed the reaction of angry drivers, some of whom tried to drag them off the street, and posted footage on social networks.
But since May 24, when police raided 15 properties across the country and froze the group's bank account, there has not been a single illegal blockade on the streets of the capital.
“What we have seen is” slow walks “, legally executed protests, when demonstrators slowly cross the street,” a police spokesman said. , warning that it was “too early” to say that the blockades were gone forever.
The raids were ordered by the Munich prosecutor's office, which suspects the Letzte Generation of a criminal organization.
As part of the crackdown, prosecutors froze three bank accounts believed to contain donations of at least €100,000. They have also shut down the group's website.
Donations are critical to the protests, as they are used to pay for transportation, help activists cover police fines, and even pay small monthly allowances.
>Nancy Feiser, Germany's interior minister, said the raids showed “the state is not ready to be fooled.”
“Police registered more than 1,600 crimes committed by Letzte Generation last year alone, most of which were street blockades,” she said, adding that the group “crossed a red line.”
Human rights groups say they are concerned about the fallout from a form of protest that has been largely peaceful. “The persecution of the Letzte generation has reached a new level of escalation,” Amnesty International tweeted.
The group added that the investigation “will have a chilling effect on other climate activists who may now be too afraid to exercise their right to freedom of assembly ”.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres also took part, stating that climate activists “need to be protected and we need them now more than ever.”
p> Several hundred activists "Letzte Generation" (The latest generation) are marching through Berlin demanding a nationwide speed limit on motorways as well as affordable public transport. Photo: NADJA WOHLLEBEN/REUTERS police action. Carla Hinrichs, a spokesperson for the group and one of those whose homes were ransacked, said she was woken up by a policeman who pointed a gun at her.
“They took everything that I use in my daily life, it was scary, they tried to scare me,” she said in a video posted on Twitter. The Berlin police are now investigating her claim. Mr Hinrichs, who was given a three-year suspended sentence in a Frankfurt trial this week, declined an interview request.
But activists remain defiant, arguing that the timing of the police raids is irrelevant. This is due to the fact that they stopped blocking the streets.
“We always wanted to take a break at the end of May,” said Arne Springorum, one of the group's most active activists.< /p>
He insisted on the fact that it was not a defeat, the raids took place “at the perfect time … just when we were running out of strength. They gave us a huge boost.”
Volunteer numbers skyrocketed after the raids, he said, while the group had already started collecting donations into a new bank account
“In September we will return to Berlin with five times as many people, and because it worked so well, we will of course use street blockades again,” he said.