German climate activists bring 10th day of gridlock to Berlin

Activists glue themselves to roads days before Germany hosts climate conference

An activist is unglued from the road by police officers in Berlin. AP
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German climate protesters declared a 10th straight day of gridlock on Friday as they once again glued themselves to Berlin's streets.

Activists from the group the Last Generation blocked major roads during rush hour before some were forcibly removed by police.

The group's latest stunts have divided opinion in Germany but activists have promised to continue their civil resistance for an 11th consecutive day on Saturday.

The protests come at an awkward time for the government, which is hosting an international climate meeting in the capital next week.

Germany will aim to help galvanise global climate action even as it stands accused by activists of doing too little at home.

Government spokeswoman Christiane Hoffmann said Germany “fundamentally shares the goals” of drastically reducing carbon emissions to tackle climate change.

“We merely think that the path taken by these activists is the wrong way to draw attention to it,” she said.

Activists have brushed off a campaign by Germany's conservative opposition to bring in tougher prison sentences of between three months and five years for disruptive activities.

MPs rejected the centre-right's push on Thursday, with members of Chancellor Olaf Scholz's coalition saying current laws were sufficient.

Most activists hauled into court have received fines, although some have received short prison sentences.

“The strategy of locking us away in police cells has clearly failed,” said Raphael Thelen, a spokesman for Last Generation.

“Today I am once again sitting on the street and blocking traffic, because the climate catastrophe has long since begun.”

Activists from Extinction Rebellion meanwhile staged a protest on Friday outside the Danish parliament in Copenhagen.

Their goal was “to pressure the government to bow to our simple demands for more protected nature and less industrial agriculture in Denmark”, the demonstrators said in a statement.

Updated: April 28, 2023, 3:50 PM