German climate activists glued to road in new wave of disruption

'Last Generation' protest group says it is stepping up resistance

A pedestrian tries to drag a climate activist blocking a road in Berlin. AP
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Climate protesters blocked roads across Germany on Monday as they began what they say will be a new wave of disruption.

A group called the Last Generation is stepping up its civil resistance with protests in Berlin, Leipzig, Cologne, Hannover and other cities.

Activists wearing orange high-vis jackets glued themselves to streets and stopped cars, buses and taxis from passing. Some were dragged away by police or confronted by members of the public.

The protesters' concrete demands include a speed limit on Germany's motorways and the return of a €9 ($9.71) per month transport ticket that was offered last summer.

The Last Generation, which had announced it would escalate its campaign starting from Monday, is also calling for a randomly drawn “citizen's assembly” to agree a more radical climate policy.

“I see it as my responsibility to do everything in my power to stop the climate catastrophe,” one protester who gave his name as Kevin said in a video.

“That's why I'm sitting here today and demanding the most basic safety measures such as a speed limit on German motorways or the €9 ticket.”

Climate activists blocked roads in Berlin as they demanded speed limits and cheaper public transport. AP

Road blockages in recent months have led to a debate about the Last Generation's protest tactics, especially after an ugly incident in which a cyclist died when an ambulance could not reach her in Berlin.

Some protesters threw mashed potatoes at a painting by French painter Claude Monet, in one of several climate-related art gallery stunts around the world.

Protesters last month faced off with police at the site of a coal mine in western Germany which is set to be expanded despite their objections.

“The climate radicals of the Last Generation do not care in the slightest about democracy and the rule of law,” said Torsten Herbst, the leader of a liberal group in parliament.

“It is not about protecting the climate, but about a totalitarian society in which they make decisions on other people's lives without any democratic legitimacy.”

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said at the weekend that recent acts of resistance were counterproductive.

“Many people are shaking their heads at such actions. I do too,” he told the newspaper Bild am Sonntag.

Mr Scholz's government has promised to massively increase renewable energy production to make Germany climate-neutral by 2045. However, critics say it has not gone far enough.

Updated: February 06, 2023, 10:07 AM