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Protest in Göttingen: With masks of Scholz and Habeck and banners with the inscription "We break the law"

Photo: Stefan Rampfel / dpa

Activists of the Last Generation used sit-ins to obstruct traffic in numerous major cities on Friday – two people were injured. In cities such as Berlin, Leipzig, Dresden and Braunschweig, protesters glued themselves to the road. Some wore masks showing Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD), Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) and Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens). They held up banners with the inscription "We break the law".

An injured motorist, an injured activist

According to the Last Generation, at least 36 sit-ins were planned in 26 cities throughout Germany. The overview:

In Nuremberg, a blockade of the Autobahn 73 led to a traffic jam in which a motorist was injured. According to police, the 31-year-old was apparently inattentive and had seen the trailer of a truck too late – he was trapped with his vehicle under the trailer. How badly the man injured himself, the police could not say at first.

In the Franconian city, demonstrators blocked traffic at three locations. The police dissolved the blockades with activists stuck to the street after about 30 minutes, a spokesman said. The activists are now being investigated for coercion – and for a violation of the general decree of the city of Nuremberg, according to which unannounced sticking actions by climate activists were prohibited.

In Potsdam, activists glued themselves to a bridge. There were also sit-ins in Dresden and Leipzig – both were stopped by the police. In Munich, eight activists paralyzed traffic in the city center for about two hours in the morning.

During a road blockade in Bottrop, an 18-year-old activist is said to have injured herself slightly in the morning. According to her own statements, she suffered the injury when she was pulled off the street by a woman by the hair, a police spokeswoman said. A video circulated on Twitter shows a scene to this effect. However, there was probably no sticking action in the first place, according to the police, traffic was only significantly affected for a short time. The 18-year-old and two other activists were taken to the police station. According to the police spokeswoman, they were reported for coercion in road traffic. In addition, a complaint is being filed against unknown persons for bodily injury to the activist.

In Berlin, among other things, more than a dozen activists protested at the roundabout around the Victory Column. Several people glued themselves to the roadway there. According to the dpa news agency, numerous motorists tried to avoid the blockade by driving over sidewalks. After about an hour, however, traffic at the Victory Column was back to normal.

In Braunschweig, activists blocked a street in the city center during rush hour. Criticism of this came, for example, from the Lower Saxony state government. "In the opinion of the Prime Minister, this harms climate protection," said a spokeswoman for Stephan Weil (SPD). Climate protection is a major task for society as a whole. "If you then turn large parts of society against you, that's not conducive to the cause."

According to the group, the reason for the protest was the "breach of the climate protection law by the government". According to the Last Generation, spokeswoman Carla Hinrichs confronted Chancellor Scholz in Berlin on the street with the fact that the government was breaking the climate protection law. A video of the confrontation was shared by the climate protection group afterwards.

In it, Scholz defended the government's climate protection policy. Germany will be "CO2040-neutral" in 2, which is a "great burden" as the "fourth largest economy in the world".

The activists accuse Transport Minister Wissing (FDP) of not having presented an immediate programme to comply with the maximum levels of climate-damaging greenhouse gases set out in the Climate Protection Act, despite being legally obliged to do so. "The federal government is breaking the law and leading our society to collapse," said the group's spokeswoman, Carla Rochel. "It is our democratic duty to resist this peacefully."

Deadline expires July 17

A spokesman for Wissing said of the ministry's efforts that the Federal Cabinet had set the course for a reform of the Climate Protection Act in June and had also presented a draft climate protection programme. It provides for far-reaching measures for the transport sector. It is the "common view" of the Federal Government that the Ministry of Transport has thus fulfilled its obligation to submit additional climate protection measures.

In 2022, the legally prescribed amount of greenhouse gases had been exceeded in the transport and building sectors. According to the current Climate Protection Act, the responsible ministries must submit immediate programmes for improvements. The deadline for this is July 17.

Already on Thursday, activists had paralyzed the airports in Hamburg and Düsseldorf for several hours. In Hamburg, air traffic was completely suspended for a few hours on the first day of vacation, and in Düsseldorf, several flights were diverted or delayed.

"Must be punished with the utmost severity"

Transport Minister Wissing strongly condemned the blockades at the airports. "The whole thing is an imposition on the entire population, completely unacceptable and must be punished with all severity," said the FDP politician of the "Rheinische Post" on Saturday.

The Last Generation wants to reduce its blockades in the next three weeks. They now want to use three weeks of time "to integrate new people who have joined," said a spokesman for the group. We want to gather strength for the upcoming protests in August and September.«

Those affected by the protests are reacting increasingly aggressively to the activists. At a climate protest in Stralsund in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania on Wednesday, an activist was hit by a truck.