So far, German climate activists have only glued themselves to autobahns to protest against the continued use of fossil fuels. But now the scene of militant environmentalists is becoming more radical. Plans for attacks on cars, oil and gas plants are making the rounds. Some even threaten a “green RAF”.
Mannheim, Stuttgart, Berlin, Leipzig: In the past four days alone, climate activists of the “last generation” in or around these cities have once again caused traffic obstructions, some of them considerable, with stick-on campaigns on German autobahns. The reason for this is always the same: with the protest actions, the climate protectors want to demonstrate against increasing environmental pollution from fossil fuels, because the restructuring of energy policy is still not going fast enough for them, despite green government participation.
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The first disruptive actions started at the end of January, and public attention quickly grew. Then the Ukraine war broke out, and interest abruptly ebbed. But now the activists are back. And with them the anger of the motorists. Some even lose control. Like the Benz driver who roughly pulled a young demonstrator off the road on the A95 in Munich last week after he announced in front of the cameras that he would “drive over his bones”.
And because they don’t even trust the popular green vice chancellor, the “last generation” climate activists are announcing: “That’s why we will also go to our country’s oil and gas pipelines and turn them off peacefully.”
For this summer, Müller predicts “demolished car showrooms, destroyed cars, sabotage in gas power plants and pipelines”. Even among “moderate actors” in the scene, an increased willingness to radicalize can be felt. “The crucial question is: What happens after the first acts of sabotage? How does society react when motorway construction sites are regularly devastated at night?”
The militant activist reckons that the majority of fellow campaigners will become scared and “peaceful” due to “massive repressive pressure from politicians and security authorities”. A “small part”, on the other hand, will go underground. “Those who prevent climate protection create the green RAF. Or climate partisans. Or Sabotage for Future. Whatever they call themselves.” This militancy must not be directed against people, Müller emphasizes again and again. But in the climate crisis, the movement can only choose between “irrelevantness” and “militancy ” If someone sabotages a gas power plant or destroys cars, this is “legitimate self-defence” with a view to saving the climate.
And Malm, like Müller, advocates the radicalization of the climate movement and considers violence against things to be legitimate. “We don’t need big concepts to realize that only sabotage and property damage help now,” writes Malm in a guest article for “Spiegel”. It is the “fossil capital itself and the realities it creates that bring us to it”.
For example, the German police union now considers “targeted observation” of the “last generation” by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution to be “urgently necessary”. Behind the actions is an “anti-state act,” the union said last week. And the announcement that flight operations would be impeded, for example by rising balloons, are alarm signals that politicians must now react to.
Only after Justice Minister Marco Buschmann (FDP) sharply criticized Lemke’s statement and various media were expecting a coalition crash did the Green Minister backtrack. Even her Green cabinet colleague Cem Özdemir reprimanded Lemke for her point of view and explained: “I believe that road blockades damage our common goal.”
A limit that has long since been exceeded. It was in Berlin in mid-February when an ambulance got stuck in a traffic jam caused by “Last Generation” activists.