German police conducted raids Wednesday as part of an investigation into an extreme climate activist group.
The members of the Last Generation climate activist group have been causing disruptions in German cities by blocking roads and bringing Berlin traffic to a halt almost daily, reported BBC.
German politicians are debating whether Last Generation should be legally classified as a criminal organization, with conservatives calling for harsher penalties and left-wing factions warning against an authoritarian crackdown. (RELATED: Congress Votes To Repeal Biden’s Climate Rule Targeting Trucks, Heavy Vehicles)
“Legitimate protest always ends where crimes are committed and the rights of others are infringed,” German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser told ABC News. German Police received 1,600 criminal complaints in connection with climate protests in 2022.
🤔 Haben wir ein Urteil verpasst?
Das hier versucht die Staatsanwaltschaft München, bei Besuch unserer Website anzeigen zu lassen.
Eher wird mit der „Zentralstelle für Bekämpfung von Extremismus und Terrorismus“ gegen friedlichen Protest gearbeitet, als gegen den Klimakollaps. pic.twitter.com/qDwk9xIPGf
— Letzte Generation (@AufstandLastGen) May 24, 2023
The raids involved around 170 police officers and resulted in the closure of Last Generation’s website and the freezing of its accounts. While no arrests have been made, seven individuals between the ages of 22 and 38 are suspected of orchestrating a campaign to gather at least 1.5 million dollars, primarily for further criminal activities, per BBC.
The searches were reportedly conducted to gather information on Last Generation’s membership structure and financing.
Two of the activists under investigation are suspected of attempting to sabotage an oil pipeline running across the Alps from the Italian coast to Ingolstadt in 2022, BBC reported. The group is also known for members throwing food at famous paintings, gluing themselves to the street, and most recently, dumping black dye into Rome’s Trevi Fountain.
#BREAKING: Climate activists have poured black dye into the historic Trevi Fountain, in Rome.
These acts of vandalism can potentially damage the white stone, and have been roundly condemned throughout Italy.
Will there be prosecution by the government?
— Bree A Dail (@breeadail) May 21, 2023
An overwhelming majority of Germans disapprove of the tactics used by Last Generation, reported Der Spiegel. The police response has received support from conservatives and politicians from center-left parties, according to BBC. Despite public disapproval, Last Generation has vowed to continue its activities, and some online supporters have suggested that the raids will bolster support for their cause.