Climate Protesters Use an Odd Tactic

In Berlin, Last Generation members glue their hands to the roads to shut down traffic
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 24, 2023 12:01 PM CDT
Climate Protesters Use an Odd Tactic
Police remove the asphalt next to the hand of a climate activist who glued his hand on the road during a protest against the climate policy of Germany in Berlin on Monday.   (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

German climate activists temporarily brought traffic to a standstill in some parts of Berlin on Monday by gluing themselves to streets all over the capital. The group Last Generation has repeatedly blocked roads across Germany in the past year in an effort to pressure the government to take more drastic action against climate change. On several occasions, they have glued themselves to the roads, enraging some motorists and prompting accusations of extremism from conservative politicians. The activists said Monday they would also block traffic by marching very slowly through the city later in the day, as they did on Friday. In the morning, there were more than 30 roadblocks across the city, German news agency dpa reported.

"We will no longer accept that the government has no plan to stop the destruction of our livelihoods," Last Generation said in a statement, per the AP. "We are resisting now." Berlin police said up to 500 officers were on the streets in the city all day to prevent the blockades or end them quickly, dpa reported. A police helicopter was hovering over the city to alert colleagues on the ground about the blockades as well. The group said last week that its members would step up their actions in the coming days and try to "peacefully bring the city to a standstill." The protests led to traffic jams on many of Berlin's main roads and a city highway, as well as in some of the outer neighborhoods of the German capital.

While some people seemed to support the protesters' fight for climate protection, others—especially angry drivers who were stuck in congested traffic—tried to pull the activists off the roads violently, even though officials have warned motorists repeatedly not to engage in vigilantism against the group. In some cases, it took more time than in the past to detach protesters from the streets because some used a different kind of glue. Instead of using oil to detach the protesters' hands from the streets, officers had to use tools and damage the asphalt to remove the protesters.

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Last Generation wants Germany to stop using all fossil fuels by 2030 and take short-term measures, including the imposition of a general speed limit of 62mph on highways to cut transport emissions. Government spokesperson Steffen Hebestreit said Monday that the current administration has done more to curb climate change than any of its predecessors. "We are a parliamentary democracy," he said. "There are possibilities to express criticism. I have my doubts that such massive disruptions of public order and the like serve the intended purpose. Naturally, we don't support such forms of protest." (More climate change protest stories.)

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