There are more than 140 active investigations into alleged attacks on radical climate protesters in Germany, authorities there have said.
So-called “Last Generation” protesters have been regularly blocking roads in the country over the past two years, a practice that has increasingly prompted violent reactions from German commuters.
According to a report by national broadcaster RBB, there are currently 142 ongoing inquiries into alleged attacks on climate bactivists by passers-by, ranging from verbal abuse to physical assault.
The majority of these investigations are said to be taking place in Berlin, where RBB says 99 inquiries are presently under way.
More attacks against the climate protesters are thought to have gone unreported, with the broadcaster saying many “green” activists often do not contact the police regarding incidents of violence for a variety of reasons, some of which may be ideological.
Von der Straße gezerrt & an den Haaren weggezogen!
❓ Sind wir diejenigen, gegen die sich gerichtet werden sollte, wenn wir uns friedlich auf die Straßen setzen, um darauf aufmerksam zu machen, dass die Zivilisation in der Klimakatastrophe versinken wird?
— Letzte Generation (@AufstandLastGen) July 14, 2023
The news comes amid growing public disquiet in Germany regarding the level of disruption caused by activists from Last Generation, with 85 per cent of the public saying the radicals have gone “too far” with their protests.
Recently published data now shows the movement has had a negative effect on public support for green activism, with backing for the climate movement falling from 68 per cent in 2021 to just 34 per cent this year.
Only one in four Germans now believe that the demonstrators have the “well-being of society as a whole” in mind, down from 60 per cent in 2021.
The developments have upset other green activists in Germany. The country’s climate minister Robert Habeck decried the group’s activities as “self-destructive” earlier in July.
“Anyone who really wants to campaign for climate protection must keep an eye on social acceptance,” he said, criticising Last Generation as “massively damaging” support for climate action.
Some legal experts in Germany have suggested that certain physical attacks on radical climate activists may be justifiable in German law, with three lawyers telling Die Zeit media outlet such incidents may fall “under self-defence”.
Although possible “in theory”, RBB said, the plea of self-defence regarding attacks on activists has yet to be successfully used in a German court.