German Police Stage Nationwide Raids Against Climate Activists

Kate Connolly / Guardian UK
German Police Stage Nationwide Raids Against Climate Activists A police officer carries materials gathered during the search of a building in Berlin's Kreuzberg district in connection with the Letzte Generation group. (photo: John MacDougall/AFP)

Raids targeting members of Letzte Generation are carried out at 15 properties in seven German states

Nationwide raids against members of the German climate protest group Letzte Generation (Last Generation) have been carried out at the behest of authorities in Munich investigating charges that the group is a criminal organisation.

Launched at 7am local time on Wednesday, 170 police officers took part in the raids, which targeted 15 properties in seven German states, including Bavaria and Berlin.

According to the Munich general public prosecutor’s office, the searches took place at the request of the Bavarian state criminal police office (LKA), which is in the preliminary stages of an investigation, based on “numerous criminal complaints received from the population” against seven people, members of Letzte Generation aged between 22 and 38, who are suspected of “forming or supporting a criminal organisation”, according to prosecutors.

On a police directive, the homepage of the group was shut down and possessions belonging to members were seized. There were no arrests.

The seven individuals are accused of setting up a donation campaign with funds of €1.4m (£1.22m) to finance the group’s future legal battles, in order to allow the campaigners to continue their protests, including gluing themselves to roadways and bridges, more recently to vehicles, and holding up traffic, as well as throwing substances at paintings in art galleries and other activities. There have been mixed reactions to their protests by the public.

The LKA said two of the defendants were also suspected of having tried to sabotage the Trieste-Ingolstadt oil pipeline in April 2022.

The group, akin to the UK’s Extinction Rebellion group, wants to draw attention to what it perceives as the government’s lack of urgent action over the climate emergency. Among their demands are a 100km/h speed limit on German autobahns as well as a permanent offer of a €9 a month ticket to use public transport.

Letzte Generation first came to prominence before the last federal election in 2021, when participants in the group went on a hunger strike, camping outside the Bundestag, demanding to talk to prospective government members about their demands.

In its first reaction to the raids on Twitter, Letzte Generation wrote: “When will they raid the lobby structures and seize the government’s fossil fuel money?” followed by the hashtags “Nationwide raid” and “VölligBekloppt” – “completely idiotic” – a reference to recent condemnation of the group by the German chancellor, Olaf Scholz.

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