CSU boss Markus Söder calls for tougher penalties for climate activists of the “last generation” – in particularly serious cases up to imprisonment. “I have no understanding when human lives are endangered, I have no understanding when property is damaged. And I think the state must also show a clear edge here,” said the Bavarian Prime Minister on Sunday in Munich.
There must be “very clearly” penalties, “and penalties that are effective: not light fines, but actually, for example, an arrest or a corresponding prison sentence when it comes to particularly serious cases”. The head of the CSU deputies in the Bundestag, Alexander Dobrindt, made a similar statement. “Climate protest must not be a license to commit crimes,” he told the “Bild am Sonntag”.
According to a report in the newspaper, the Union faction in the Bundestag wants to bring in a motion for tougher penalties. Activists who block roads or obstruct the passage of police, fire brigades and rescue services should therefore face a minimum prison sentence in the future. The Union is also demanding a minimum sentence of imprisonment instead of fines for damaging or destroying cultural assets.
Traffic light: the rule of law has enough instruments
FDP General Secretary Bijan Djir-Sarai, on the other hand, emphasized in the “Tagesspiegel”: “Our constitutional state has enough instruments at our disposal to take action against radical activists.” The legal policy spokeswoman for the SPD parliamentary group, Sonja Eichwede, told the newspaper that the “populist Call for tightening of criminal law by the Union”. This neither helps the investigating authorities nor prevents further crimes.
On Monday, Bavaria’s CSU Minister of Justice Georg Eisenreich also struck a more reserved note. “In my view, the current penal framework, the possibilities for the courts to impose fines or imprisonment, is sufficient,” he told Bayerischer Rundfunk. The laws just have to be applied consistently.
“Every activist has to decide whether they want to cross the line”
“Everyone who demonstrates must know that they are allowed to do so – but the limit is criminal law. There are really enough opportunities to work for climate protection in legal form,” said Eisenreich Bayern 2. “Every activist must consider whether he wants to cross this limit or not.”
In Berlin, a cyclist was hit and run over by a truck last Monday. According to the fire brigade, a special vehicle that was supposed to help free the injured person under the truck was stuck in a traffic jam on the city highway. This is said to have been triggered by an action by the climate protest group “Last Generation”.
However, the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” reported, citing an emergency memo, that according to the emergency doctor treating it, the fact that the car was not available had no effect on the rescue of the injured woman. According to the police and the public prosecutor’s office, the cyclist died on Thursday from her serious injuries.
Chancellor Scholz clearly criticized the protests of the group “Last Generation”. “I’m happy to admit that I don’t think it’s a good thing if works of art are somehow painted or mashed at,” said Scholz on Saturday at the SPD debate convention in Berlin when asked how to create more understanding for the concerns of the activists could. Scholz said you have to think about what you do with actions. He believes that the opposite of their concerns will be achieved if activists stick to the street and obstruct traffic.
Giffey: We’re taking action
Berlin’s Governing Mayor Franziska Giffey (SPD) told the “Bild am Sonntag” when asked how long politics would allow climate activists: “We will take action. There are more than 700 criminal proceedings against climate activists in Berlin, only one of which has been discontinued so far. More than 240 penal orders have already been issued.” Tübingen’s mayor, Boris Palmer, also believes that the activists are going too far. He told the “Tagesspiegel am Sonntag”: “They are trying to override the basic rules of our coexistence and are endangering human lives.”
Despite the sharp increase in criticism of its actions, the climate movement Last Generation has announced an expansion of its radical protests. “We will take our protest to all areas that will be affected by the climate catastrophe,” said activist Carla Rochel on RTL on Sunday. The activists are “not about being liked – but about making society aware that we are racing into a climate catastrophe”.
The protests had already continued in numerous large cities over the weekend. At Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, 500 activists managed to break through a fence at a parking lot on Saturday and thus get onto the airport site. According to the police, the Greenpeace and Extinction Rebellion groups blocked private jets at the airport. Some also chained themselves to planes. According to their own statements, the police arrested around 200 people.
In Madrid, two activists taped themselves to the frames of two famous paintings by Spanish master Francisco de Goya at the Prado Museum. On the wall between the paintings “Naked Maya” and “Clothed Maya” they wrote “+ 1.5 C”, as could be seen on video images. The Paris climate agreement of 2015 stipulates the goal of keeping global warming at 1 5 degrees and thus prevent the worst effects of climate change.However, it is now considered likely that the climate will warm up much more.