German Police Raid 15 Sites, Seize Assets Of Climate Activists Group That Glues Hands To Roads
The protest group whose members famously glue themselves to highways and delayed the start of the Berlin E-Prix are under criminal investigation
May 25, 2023 at 17:01
by Sebastien Bell
Last Generation, the environmental group that has garnered international attention for its protest methods, has been targeted by German police. The state raided 15 properties linked to the group and started seizing assets as part of a criminal investigation into its actions.
The raids were ordered by Munich prosecutors, and focus on seven members who are between the ages of 22 to 38. They are accused of forming or supporting a criminal organization, but no arrests were made, the Associated Press reports.
Prosecutors said their investigation was launched after receiving numerous criminal complaints from the public in recent years. Two bank accounts and other assets were seized, and police allege that the people under investigation have raised €1.4 million ($1.5 million USD at current exchange rates) in order to “finance further criminal offenses.”
Read: Climate Protestors Delay Start Of Berlin Formula E Race By Climbing Onto Track
Although police did no say what future crimes the group’s members were planning, two of the people are suspected of having planned to sabotage an oil pipeline that connects Ingolstadt, where Audi is based, to the Italian port of Trieste, in 2022.
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However, Last Generation says that it announces its civil actions before they happen, that its members freely share their names and do not hide their faces, and they are transparent about their activities. It adds that its tactics are designed to avoid suffering and save lives.
“Do we have to experience a drought in Germany first, suffer from food shortages …, before we understand that Last Generation is … not criminal?” spokesperson Aimee Van Baalen said, per Reuters.
The raids have been decried by members of other environmental groups, such as Extinction Rebellion and Greenpeace. They accuse the government of trying to criminalize peaceful climate protests.
Last Generation has garnered attention for its unusual protest methods, which include dumping flour on classic vehicles, gluing their hands to German highways to block traffic, and recently delaying the start of the Berlin E-Prix. Last Generation says it uses these methods to draw attention to a growing environmental crisis.
However, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has described the protests as “completely nutty.” Even leading figures in the German Green Party have called Last Generation’s tactics counterproductive. The group says it will not be deterred by the investigation.
“The need to resist is not diminished by criminalization,” said van Baalen, adding that Last Generation will “continue to resist.”