Repressive authorities? New toughness against climate protesters
To prevent crime, the police often detain climate activists for several nights. This causes discussions. Local CDU politician Amthor welcomes the harsh intervention. Environmentalists are responsible for “destabilizing attacks”.
BLina Eichler almost missed her big performance. The member of the “Last Generation Intifada” was supposed to participate in a discussion tour in “Taz” newspaper at the end of next April. Three days before the event, police officers arrested the 19-year-old in Schwedt, Brandenburg. Eichler shut down the safety valve for the oil pipeline there and attached himself to the system in protest of the “fossil infrastructure” continuing to function. A judge ordered her detention for five nights.
In the end, Eichler was released in time. The responsible court ruled that the pre-trial detention imposed on them is not justified unless the lives and parties of third parties are in danger.
The incident demonstrates the difficulty of balancing the actions of the security authorities against extremist climate advocates. By the end of April, the Last Generation Uprising counted 104 cases in which members of the group had been arrested and held in police custody for more than one night. This was announced by Climate Group spokeswoman Carla Henrix, WELT. In Hesse, there were 31 cases where activists stayed behind bars for five nights.
Preventive detention ordered by a judge can take up to four days in some federal states, 14 in others, and up to two months in Bavaria. It has ordered the prevention of further crimes by activists, which have often been publicly announced.
The left criticizes the embezzlement of the law
One notes that the security authorities are reacting increasingly repressively to the protests, said Heinrichs, spokeswoman for The Last Generation. Climate politician Lorenz Gusta Biotin, a member of the Executive Office of the Left Party, condemned the strict action of the security authorities. “Long-term detention is a gross violation of fundamental freedoms. Climate protest may be inconvenient for politics, but it is essential for the climate and the future of humanity.”
In some countries – such as North Rhine-Westphalia – the period has recently been extended by law to facilitate investigations into terrorists, pedophiles, violent criminals and rioters. The fact that this now also affects climate activists brings criticism to the countries. Putin recalls that even before the new police laws were passed in North Rhine-Westphalia, experts warned that the application would not be limited to the fight against terrorism, but would be directed primarily against the climate movement. This is the reality now.
In the case of the “last generation”, the numbers cannot be independently verified. Overall, 74 climate activists ended up in prolonged detention at NRW between 2019 and 2021 — ten times the number of right-wing extremists and Islamists in the same period. This emerged in March from the response of the North Rhine-Westphalia state government to a small request from the Left Group.
LKA Hessen states that it does not collect any data on so-called risk prevention operations. The police in Berlin can at least give some numbers: since the beginning of road closures by the “last generation”, 56 actions have been identified and 180 people have been arrested. Of these, twelve were ordered to be detained. This means that they were held for longer than the end of the day following their arrest.
Amthur accuses the climate protectors of launching unacceptable attacks
Local CDU politician Philip Amthor welcomes the authorities’ resolute action. Amthor said that despite declaring nonviolence, activists did not enjoy any privileges under the Police Act, “if their actions, in the light of day, violate our security laws.”
The state’s monopoly on the use of force must not allow any form of vigilance – not even against things and not through actual coercion towards third parties. Amthor said pipeline sabotage, which recently involved “last generation” activists, posed a “huge and unjustified risk”. Deliberately causing damage to property and unauthorized and destabilizing attacks are unacceptable – “particularly if they are directed against our infrastructure.”
In addition to disrupting traffic and pipeline operations, the actions of the “last generation” have also endangered human life in the past. In April, for example, activists poured an oil-like liquid on a Frankfurt street. According to the authorities, four cyclists fell as a result of the operation. One of the victims had to be taken to hospital by ambulance.