Fridays for Future activists return to German streets ahead of national election
Clean Energy Wire
The student climate protest movement Fridays for Future (FfF) has announced to bring activists to the streets in 25 German cities on 18 June. As German COVID-19 pandemic restrictions start to be relaxed, the activist group said it aims to protest every Friday in the run-up to the country's federal elections, especially in larger cities like Berlin, Cologne and Hamburg. The protest is organised jointly with the German trade union ver.di. The two organisations demand policy changes that are compliant with the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C and that take social justice into account. "Climate policy must not divide us socially. That's why we need ambitious climate targets and a socially just climate bonus,” said ver.di chairman Frank Werneke, recalling the recent debate about the proposed per capita refund of the revenues from CO2 pricing to German citizens.
The groups said they expected churches, sports clubs and other entities to join in the protests, which will take on different formats, such as bicycle demonstrations or art interventions, depending on the city. In that way, the organisers said they could better comply with local social distancing regulations.
The protests on 18 June come at an important time for German politics. The national election will take place on 26 September. This week's protests come after a landmark decision from the Constitutional Court that the country's climate policies were insufficient and have led the government to raise its climate targets. Chancellor Angela Merkel has in the past credited the FfF movement for pushing the government to take bolder actions. This is not the first time that Fridays for Future calls for a big protest this year. In March, over 210 cities in 60 countries hosted protests as part of the seventh Global Climate Strike, which demanded policies compliant with the 1.5°C temperature rise limit and an immediate phase-out of natural gas. Fridays for Future emerged in 2018, when activist Greta Thunberg staged protests for carbon emission reductions in front of the Swedish parliament. Since then, the student organisation has gathered millions of protesters worldwide and helped push for more ambitious climate laws.