Advertisement

Last Generation climate activists plan to bring Berlin to a 'standstill'

Author thumbnail
The Local ([email protected])
Last Generation climate activists plan to bring Berlin to a 'standstill'
Last Generation members glued themselves by Berlin's Ernst Reuter Platz at the end of March. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Paul Zinken

Starting on Wednesday, April 19th, climate activists from the group Last Generation (Letzte Generation) are gathering members from across Germany for a series of actions attempting to bring the capital to a “standstill”.

Advertisement

"We will come to Berlin and bring the city to a standstill in order to get the government to move forward," Lilly Schubert, the press spokesperson for Berlin, told The Local.

As of Monday, more than 800 people from around the country had signed up, with the numbers continuing to grow, according to Schubert.

Starting on Wednesday, the activists are planning protests and "civil resistance" in the capital’s government district (Regierungsviertel). 

READ ALSO: Climate activists glue themselves to roads across Germany

A rally at the Brandenburg Gate is then slated for Sunday, April 23rd, followed by "blockade actions" throughout the city in the coming week

"We will be everywhere in Berlin with as many people as possible - in the first days mainly in the government district and in the core of the city," said Schubert.

The climate activists have earned the nickname ‘climate stickers’ (Klimakleber) due to frequently gluing themselves to roads and infrastructure in an attempt to stymie traffic and gain attention. 

The goal of the upcoming actions, as with their other protests, is to convince the government to enforce a speed limit of 100 kilometres per hour on the Autobahn, and issue a nationwide €9 ticket that can be used on all local and regional transport. 

The activists are also calling for an emergency 'social council of experts' to figure out a plan to end the use of fossil fuels in Germany by 2030, and stick to the limits of the Paris climate agreement

How effective will the protests be?

The group, which says it has 300 members in Berlin, have already carried out several actions in capital, ranging from climbing the Brandenburg Gate to unfurl signs to gluing the themselves to the ground at BER and stopping planes from landing.

Mobility researcher Andreas Knie from the Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB) told Morgenpost he did not think that the climate protesters would be large enough in numbers to stop all traffic amid their upcoming actions, even if they caused an inconvenience.

However, he added that, "if politicians continue to refuse to find compromises and instead decide to save internal combustion engines, only reduce CO2 emissions to a limited extent and dismiss climate activists as criminals," the Last Generation movement will only grow larger.

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

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

A Last Generation activist glues his hand to the street in Munich in November.

A Last Generation activist glues his hand to the street in Munich in November. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Lennart Preiss

According to Last Generation on their website, at least five people are needed to block an eight-metre wide road with three lanes.

For smaller roads with two lanes, they called on at least four people to fully stop all traffic.

With 160 people, depending on the distribution, between 32 and 40 blockades could take place at the same time or spread over the day, according to Last Generation. 

PODCAST: Has a decade of the AfD changed Germany, and why is Berlin repeating elections?

Advertisement

The duration of a blockade usually lasts between 15 minutes to more than an hour, depending on how long it takes the police to intervene.

Berlin's fire brigade said it is already preparing for potential public safety hazards.

"We have discussed distributing the rescue vehicles differently in the city," says Manuel Barth, spokesman for the German firefighters' union in Berlin-Brandenburg.

"Even if the vehicles are distributed in various locations, the fear is there that the city motorway will still be blocked at some point," says Barth. "The action is likely to significantly hamper Berlin in terms of safety."

Activists of the “Last Generation” movement stuck to the A100 and A115 in Berlin on Monday.

Activists of the “Last Generation” movement stuck to the A100 and A115 in Berlin.
Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Jörg Carstensen

‘Solutions for society’

Advertisement

Fellow climate protest movement Fridays for Future also criticised the group for "creating divisions."

"The climate crisis needs solutions for society as a whole, and we can only find and fight for them together, not by turning people against each other in everyday life,” said spokesperson Annika Rittmann.

In Hamburg, for example, the blockages particularly affected low income earners who can’t afford to live in the centre of the Harbour City, and who have limited options to get there with public transport due to its lack of expansion, she said.

"Something similar is to be feared in Berlin," amid the upcoming actions, added Rittmann.

READ ALSO: Fridays for Futures criticises Berlin's Letzte Generation climate protesters

More

Comments

Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also