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Big demos mostly peaceful: how radical is the climate protests?

2019-09-28T08:10:11.857Z

TIME ONLINE | News, backgrounds and debates



Stuttgart (dpa) - It could be a hot autumn, and not only because of the direct consequences of climate change.

The greater the environmental protest on German roads, the more the citizens get to feel it up close. One week ago activists paralyzed traffic in several major cities in the context of the global "climate strike" and angered motorists from Stuttgart to Berlin. Even water cannons moved in Hamburg, even if they were not used. In Frankfurt protesters invaded the Paulskirche. In Stuttgart supporters of an anti-capitalist subgroup blocked a branch of Deutsche Bank.

Even apart from the grand protests, civil disobedience is increasing in the name of the climate struggle in the country. Activists of "Sand in Gear" recently blocked the main entrance of the IAA in Frankfurt and smeared slogans on the street. At the Stuttgart airport, climate pilots threw paper planes through the ticket hall. In the Schwabing district of Munich, a double-digit number of SUVs was recently covered with stickers ("You stink!"). "This is a new phenomenon for us," says a Munich police spokesman.

Partly actions in the name of climate protection go even further. After arson attacks on Berlin railway facilities a few days ago, a possible letter of confession appeared on the net, which also indicates a climate action. "A real general strike also includes blockades and fierce acts of sabotage," it says. How much potential for aggression is in the fight for the climate?

The Fridays for Future movement, initiated by Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, puts considerable pressure on politics. The protest has remained largely peaceful so far. Pupils and students are dancing, drumming, singing, hoping for months in the fight against the impending climate catastrophe. With imaginative slogans ("This planet is hotter than my friend", "short-haul flights only for bees") they arouse public sympathy.

At the same time, there is growing disappointment and frustration among the activists. According to the organizers demonstrated a week ago, 1.4 million people in Germany. At the same time, the government presented key points for more climate protection - the movement then spoke of a "slap in the face". The more time that moves into the country, without the sometimes radical demands being implemented, the more radical the movement itself could become.

Carla Reemtsma is one of the most famous faces of the Fridays for Future movement nationwide. The sharpness of the protest is always a topic in the movement, she says. There is no single position. Overall, they want to continue to limit themselves to the school strike. The 21-year-old political student has, according to their own information, but understanding for people who have been striking for eight or nine months on the street and realize that climate policy, nothing happens. "We are in solidarity with people who use civil disobedience to increase their vehemence," she says.

Fridays for Future's climate activists are sympathetic to groups like Extinction Rebellion, who chain themselves to buildings and block roads. But even friendly blockades could damage the image and scare supporters. How long can car drivers who are stuck in after-work traffic be soothed with biscuits and warm words? It can not be ruled out that the pressure on the street increases, says Reemtsma - even if one squashed public sympathies with it.

"The impatience is growing and has reached a climax according to the proposals of the Climate Cabinet," says Simon Teune of the Institute for Protestant and Movement Research in Berlin. The frustration could develop in different directions. "Either demobilization - or you feel even more encouraged to increase the pressure on decision-makers. That's the more likely development. "

At the same time other groups jump on the protest. The Interventionist Left (IL) had announced for the "climate strike" a week ago "traffic blockades and radical actions" in several cities. The group has already tried several times in the wake of the Fridays for Future protests, the issue of climate protection instrumentalize for themselves, warned the Hamburg intelligence agency. It would be about the connection and the "hinge function" of left-extremist groups on the bourgeois spectrum in order to subsequently radicalize it ».

This was alarmism and the interpretation of constitutionalists and conservative circles, who tried to declare parts of the movement as illegitimate, criticized protesters Teune. The radical left has always been part of the climate movement. For the critics of capitalism, it is the exploitative world economy that is responsible for climate change. Fridays for Future activist Reemtsma sees no danger of infiltration by left-wing forces. Fridays for Future is a nonpartisan and broad movement. "It strengthens the body's defenses - the broader we are, the harder it gets to be put in one corner or the other."

Source: zeit

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