Berlin (AP) - The activist group Extinction Rebellion has launched its protest in the early morning in Berlin for more climate protection.
Hundreds of supporters ran from the government district to the Victory Column in the district of Tiergarten, as the police of the German Press Agency said. Then, just before the start of commuter traffic, the activists seized the Big Star - a transportation hub in the capital. So far everything is peaceful. According to the police, some 1000 activists had gathered by 6 am.
A video released by the activists showed dozens of people walking and sitting on the pavement. Also emergency vehicles of the police were to be seen. Previously, the group had called via social media to get going quickly. The police appealed to drivers: "Please be careful and avoid the area."
The environmental protection movement wants to call attention to the impending climate catastrophe with blockades and other protests on Monday, not only in Berlin but also in other major cities around the world. There will be actions in London, Paris, Madrid, Amsterdam, New York, Buenos Aires as well as in the Australian cities of Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. The actions should last at least one week. How exactly she is going to be announced only a few minutes before the start of the largely unannounced actions.
Extinction Rebellion (in German about: Rebellion against extinction) originally comes from the UK. According to own data the group exists since November last year also in Germany. Among other things, it demands that national governments immediately declare the climate emergency. All political decisions that would stand in the way of coping with the climate crisis would have to be revised. By 2025, man-made greenhouse gas emissions would have to drop to zero net, the group demands. On the blockades, the group explains: "We disrupt the daily routine that destroys our livelihoods. We continue the protest until governments respond appropriately. "
Eva Escosa-Jung from Extinction Rebellion commented on the first action in Berlin: "Today the worldwide rebellion against extinction begins. We disturb because we see no other way to bring about the sweeping and profound change that will save the climate. "The government's climate policy has failed. "Forests are burning, sea levels are rising, oceans are over-acidating, and wildlife is dying out massively - humanity is threatened with a life-threatening catastrophe." Extinction Rebellion does not use violence, but creativity. At noon (12:05 pm) Carola Rackete, known as a rescuer of refugees, will give a speech at the Victory Column.
In Berlin, activists want to draw attention on Monday also with a march against species extinction. At noon, there will also be a central event at Potsdamer Platz, from which further actions should start. At the same time, a pink ark is to be erected at a place not yet known in the government district, which is to remember the extinction of species. U- and S-Bahn traffic should be spared. Whether Extinction Rebellion focuses on the road or even the Berlin airports targeted, the organizers did not want to betray.
Unlike other movements such as Greta Thunberg's Fridays for Future, Extinction Rebellion activists are reportedly willing to break laws to enforce their demands. Legal demonstrations and parliamentary processes have not led to the necessary changes in climate protection in the past 30 years, the organizers said on Friday. However, they always emphasized that all actions should proceed peacefully. This should be ensured, inter alia, mediators who should avoid conflicts between the activists and others - such as police or detained drivers - during the actions.
The ruling party SPD responded to the announcements. "I understand the impatience of many," said interim party leader Malu Dreyer the German Press Agency in Berlin. "I welcome early actions of any kind, which make the urgency of the task clear." At the same time she warned: "Of course, for all, that it must remain non-violent."
The FDP, however, warned against anti-democratic features of the movement. "Beyond the extreme demands for climate protection, activists of the group openly question democracy," said party leader Christian Lindner of the German Press Agency. "Climate activists and Greens should distance themselves from the anti-democratic and partly totalitarian statements from this group." Climate protection is no excuse for violence, which takes its place in blockades, said the Liberals.
Green politician Boris Palmer also criticized Extinction Rebellion. "There are good reasons to finally demand decisive action for climate protection. But whoever throws overboard democracy and the rule of law will most certainly also lose the fight against climate change. Protest yes, rebellion no, »said the Tübingen mayor of the« Bild »newspaper (Monday).
The behavior during the actions was also a topic in a so-called climate camp, the activists had already pitched on Saturday in Berlin's government district. In workshops and discussion sessions, Extinction Rebellion prepared participants for demonstrations and other forms of protest. Up to 3,000 people came to the camp between the Reichstag and the Chancellery on Sunday. For the protests from Monday in Berlin, the organizers expected "thousands of people" from Germany, Poland, Denmark and Sweden.
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