Extinction Rebellion protesters chain themselves to Merkel's chancellery
Dozens of German "Extinction Rebellion" protesters on Tuesday chained themselves to the fence of Angela Merkel's chancellery, demanding she declare a "climate emergency".
The activists sent the keys to unlock them to all 13 government ministries and Merkel's office along with letters formulating their demands, including to effectively cut greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2025.
However police moved in during the early afternoon and removed the protesters from the fence using bolt cutters. No clashes were reported.
The current climate policy puts our future at risk," said one 17-year-old demonstrator who asked not to be named. "We will have to bear the physical cost of today's inaction."
Another, who gave her name as Natalie, told AFP: "The goal today is to raise awareness about the climate catastrophe."
"We want the press and politicians to tell the truth about the climate crisis, and a state of climate emergency to be declared."
?BREAKING!!!— Extinction Rebellion Berlin (@XRBerlin) June 11, 2019
29 Rebellen von @youth_xr, @xrberlin und @ExtinctionR_DE haben sich gerade vor dem Kanzleramt festgekettet, die Schlüssel wurden bei den Ministerien abgegeben - wir warten auf euren Besuch liebe Minister*innen um über die Ausrufung des #Klimanotstands zu sprechen! pic.twitter.com/Zif6CG8b2B
Together with some 50 supporters, the chained-up protesters chanted a slogan from the Fridays for Future rallies: "What do we want? Climate Justice! When do we want it? Now!"
Extinction Rebellion describes itself as an international movement using non-violent civil disobedience "to achieve radical change in order to minimize the risk of human extinction and ecological collapse".
Meet the rebels currently locked on to the #Kanzleramt in #Berlin, demanding the declaration of a national #ClimateEmergency in #Germany#ActNow #CivilDisobedience #ClimateEmergency #ExtinctionRebellion pic.twitter.com/up6Q9hVdpA— Extinction Rebellion Berlin (@XRBerlin) June 11, 2019
Germany is now set to miss its 2020 target of cutting CO2 emissions by 40 percent from 1990 levels. It is currently on course for only a 32-percent reduction.
Merkel's government last month pledged a new climate strategy by September as it scrambles to tackle an issue that has gained urgency with German voters and has dramatically boosted support for the ecologist Greens party.
Berlin has reaffirmed its intention "to meet the 2030 climate targets to which it has committed itself internationally" – a 55-percent cut in emissions from 1990 levels.
Climate change a hot topic
Climate change is high on the political agenda in Germany following weekly demonstrations by Friday's for Future, led by young Swedish activist Greta Thunberg.
Meanwhile, the environmental Green party has been riding high in the polls and surged to become the second strongest force in Germany in the European elections last month, behind Merkel's CDU and its allies, the CSU.
Campaigners continue to pile pressure on the government. Last week, a group of climate change protesters staged a "die-in" protest in Germany's Parliament.
About 20 of the students attending the "Youth and Parliament" event on Tuesday lay on the floor in front of parliamentary speaker Wolfgang Schäuble, while others held up a makeshift banner reading "Your Climate Policies equals Catastrophe."
DPA reported that activist Maximilian Reimers said the stunt was meant to draw attention to how drastic the situation is and to put pressure on the government.