Federal Minister of Justice Marco Buschmann (FDP) compares the actions of the climate group Last Generation with street protests from 100 years ago. “In the 1920s and 1930s there were street battles in Berlin because people on the left and right political fringes felt empowered to place themselves above the legal system and enforce their own ideas with their fists,” said the FDP politician to the editorial network Germany (RND). “This must not be repeated.”

The last generation has announced that it intends to shut down Berlin indefinitely from Monday. This is how she wants to push through her demands for a radical climate change. On Wednesday she had started with protest marches.

Criticism from many sides

Green leader Nouripour sharply criticized the climate group. “If human lives are endangered, then that’s just not possible. Then that’s out of the question,” he told RTL / ntv. “We don’t gain acceptance if people are stuck in traffic for hours when they urgently need to go to work.”

Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach warned the last generation not to endanger human lives with actions such as road blockades. It is irresponsible if this hinders rescue workers and patient transport, the SPD politician told the newspapers of the Funke media group. “Escape routes must remain free.”

Buschmann accused the activists of damaging climate protection with their protests. “Ultimately, what the last generation is doing is damaging their cause,” he said. The last generation has exaggerated, aggressive ideas about how to achieve their goals. Criminal offenses do not promote climate protection.

The justice minister defended the court rulings against climate activists. “We live in a constitutional state. The same rules apply to everyone.” If it were accepted that part of society, invoking a higher purpose, does not feel bound by the law, then surely more and more groups would claim it as their own. “What the climate stickers are doing now might be tried next by the citizens of the Reich or radical opponents of abortion.”

Judges’ Association: “Existing laws provide sufficient leeway”

Meanwhile, Germany’s judges see no need for stricter laws against climate protection activists. “The judiciary does not need stricter criminal laws in order to be able to react clearly and unequivocally to legal violations in the course of climate protests,” said Sven Rebehn, federal director of the German Association of Judges, of the “Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung”. “The existing laws give the courts enough leeway to punish cases of coercion, property damage or interference with road traffic in a manner appropriate to the crime and to blame.”

ADAC President Christian Reinicke showed understanding for the goals of the climate protection group, but not for their methods. “I can understand the concerns of the climate stickers,” said Reinicke of the “Augsburger Allgemeine”. The climate activists represent goals that everyone can rally behind, because according to the decision of the Federal Constitutional Court, climate protection is a state goal anchored in the Basic Law. However, he doubted that the climate protectionists chose the right means, “because they annoy many people with the form of their protest.”

Pushing for the 1.5 degree target

The activists are calling on the federal government to present a plan to achieve the international goal of 1.5 degrees, which aims to prevent the worst consequences of global warming. The alliance is also calling for a social council with 160 elected members to plan the end of the use of fossil fuels such as oil, coal or gas in Germany by 2030. In addition, the group advocates a speed limit of 100 kilometers per hour on the motorway and a permanent 9-euro ticket.

The last generation was founded in 2021 after a hunger strike and has been blocking traffic again and again since the beginning of 2022. Most of the time, participants get stuck.