Berlin police call for consequences as climate protesters glue themselves to streets

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Berlin police call for consequences as climate protesters glue themselves to streets
A climate activist who taped his hand to a highway exit ramp at Innsbrucker Platz in Berlin is cut loose by police officers. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Christoph Soeder

On Monday morning, climate protesters from the 'Last Generation' glued themselves to major streets. Police and politicians called for tougher penalties against the group, who bill themselves as carrying out civil disobedience.


Climate activists from the group "Last Generation" blocked important motorway access roads in Berlin on Monday morning. Police were deployed at six locations, which opened up again for regular traffic by the afternoon.

Both police and politicians pleaded for tougher measures against the protesters, who have been taking various actions around Germany, ranging from climbing monuments to unfurl signs to glueing themselves to airport tarmacs. The group has grabbed nationwide headlines after it blocked planes from landing at both Berlin and Munich's airports.

READ ALSO: Munich airport forced to close runway due to climate protest


Berlin's police on Monday called for up to seven days of detention following their road-blocking protest actions, which the group themselves bills as pacifist but that opponents say put the public in potentially dangerous and costly traffic situations.

Some of the protests have also carried heavier financial costs, such as when two protesters threw mashed potatoes at a Claude Monet painting. Both protesters were arrested for trespassing and property damage.

READ ALSO: German climate activists pour mashed potatoes on €111 million Monet work

The "Last Generation" has been taking radical actions almost daily for the past year in order to draw attention to climate change and call on society to take urgent action. 

Some, such as Monday’s demo, are in the form of blockade actions on streets, where activists glue themselves to the roadway. The group itself reported on Monday that they had blocked roads at five locations in Berlin; in addition, a 72-year-old man chained himself to a gantry over a motorway.

The group’s demands include a speed limit of 100 km per hour on motorways, a nationwide nine-euro ticket and a general renunciation of fossil fuels such as coal. 

Proportional punishment?

Protestant Bishop Christian Stäblein called on rbb24 Inforadio to engage more with the concerns and to enter into dialogue. 

“This does not mean legitimising the breaking of the law,” he said, “but society has shown a certain sluggishness when it comes to climate protection.”

But CDU parliamentary group leader Kai Wegner, on the other hand, called for a hard line against the protesters.

Munich has been taking consistent action against the "climate gluers,” said Wegner. He pointed out that Bavaria’s capital bans their protest actions on roads important for emergency services and on bridges.


"Berlin's interior senate should order the same in Berlin," Wegner said.

Berlin's police union also said it was the task of politicians to "secure social peace."

According to spokesman Benjamin Jendro, "The possibility of detention for four or seven days would do its part and prevent our colleagues from having to go out every day in wind and [bad] weather with plenty of cooking oil." The latter is used to loosen the adhesive on the roadway.

Currently, according to the police, activists can be taken into custody for up to 48 hours as a precaution. In Bavaria, such preventive detention is possible for up to 30 days. 

This long period has sparked a debate about the proportionality of the consequences in the two major capitals.


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