05 Jun 2023, 14:23
Benjamin Wehrmann

Last Generation activists say next round of protests will target “the rich”

The climate protest group Last Generation (Letzte Generation) has announced that in the coming weeks its protest activities will target “the rich” and “symbols of modern wealth” in order to raise awareness in Germany of the “reckless squandering” of the richest members of society, news agency dpa reported in an article published by public broadcaster ZDF. In its “Summer Plan 2023,” the activist group said, “every single day, the super-rich are destroying the foundations of our lives,” singling out the well-to-do as the social group contributing most to the climate crisis. After a planned break between mid-July and early August, the group would start to focus its activities in the southern state of Bavaria, where a new state parliament will be elected on 8 October.

Meanwhile, chancellor Olaf Scholz renewed his criticism of the activist group, whose disruptive activities - such as blocking roads by gluing themselves to the asphalt - have caused a stir in Germany in recent months. Activists should not glue themselves anywhere, but “tackle” challenges, the chancellor argued in an article by newspaper Die Welt. Members of the Last Generation group are wrong if they say that climate change means “everything is over” soon, Scholz argued, adding that the criticism voiced by the activists often lacked substance. He instead called for a “positive agenda” that sparks optimism about the effectivity of climate action efforts.

Last Generation’s protests have led to controversy over the legitimacy and effectiveness of such disruptive actions, with both the chancellor and top Green Party politicians distancing themselves from the group. The conservative opposition party CDU/CSU has also heavily criticised the activists and a recent police raid on the Letzte Generation signalled that authorities were ready to take resolute action against them. However, in an unusually direct response to the crackdown, UN Secretary-General António Guterres’s spokesman subsequently stressed the protesters’ right to hold demonstrations.

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