13 Apr 2023, 12:59
Benjamin Wehrmann

Greens and Fridays for Future denounce radical climate protests by Last Generation group

dpa / Der Spiegel / Clean Energy Wire

Ahead of a major protest in Berlin announced by the climate activist group Last Generation (Letzte Generation), the Green Party and climate movement Fridays for Future have distanced themselves from the controversial group, which has caused a stir in the country with its uncommon and often disruptive forms of climate protest. Green parliamentary group leader Irene Mihalic said Last Generation’s “elitist and self-righteous protest achieves the opposite of what we need in the current situation.” The activist group undermines social unity regarding climate action and “alienates people by making their already difficult everyday life even more difficult,” Mihalic said in an article by news agency dpa published in Der Spiegel. Last Generation has become notorious for its repeated acts of disruptive civil disobedience, such as blocking roads during rush hours. Climate movement Fridays for Future, which managed to generate broad societal support for stronger climate action with street protests led by school students, also criticised the more radical climate activist group “for setting people against each other.” Tackling the climate crisis “requires solutions that include all of society – and we will only find and agree on them together,” spokesperson Annika Rittmann said.

The group earlier this month called to make Berlin “grind to a halt” for several weeks to protest against the government coalition’s climate policies. Instead of enforcing effective emissions reduction, the coalition formed by the Greens, the Social Democrats (SPD) and the Free Democrats (FDP) “protects business profits, breaks its own promises and our democratic constitution,” the group said in a statement.

Last Generation’s demands include a speed limit on highways, cheap public transport tickets for everyone and other resolute climate action measures. Its protest tactics, that started around early 2022, include activists gluing themselves to roads and vandalising artworks in museums to generate attention for their demands, an approach that has led to widespread condemnation not only from conservative politicians, but also by chancellor Olaf Scholz of the center-left SPD. Surveys suggests that a majority of people in the country believe the radical protests are obstructing acceptance of effective climate action rather than supporting it.

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