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German police raid climate activists’ properties in investigation into financing

Police officers use hammers and chisels to remove a climate activist who has glued himself to a road during a climate protest in Berlin, Germany, 22 May 2023.
Police officers use hammers and chisels to remove a climate activist who has glued himself to a road during a climate protest in Berlin, Germany, 22 May 2023. Copyright AP Photo/Markus Schreiber
Copyright AP Photo/Markus Schreiber
By Angela Symons with APTN
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German police are conducting searches in investigation of climate activist group Last Generation.

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German police conducted searches of climate activists' properties on Wednesday.

Authorities raided 15 properties across the country and seized assets in an investigation into the financing of protests by the Last Generation climate activist group, prosecutors said.

Munich prosecutors said they were investigating seven people, ranging in age from 22 to 38, on suspicion of forming or supporting a criminal organisation. They launched the inquiry following numerous criminal complaints they received since mid-2022.

Why are German climate activists being investigated?

Members of Last Generation have repeatedly blocked roads across Germany in an effort to pressure the government to take more drastic action against climate change.

In recent weeks, they have brought the traffic to a halt on an almost daily basis in Berlin, gluing themselves to busy intersections and highways. Over the past year, they have also targeted various art works and exhibits.

Their tactics have drawn sharp criticism. On Monday, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said he thought it was “completely nutty to somehow stick yourself to a painting or on the street."

Prosecutors said the people under investigation are accused of organising and promoting a campaign to “finance further criminal offences” by the group and collecting at least €1.4 million. 

Two of them also are suspected of trying to sabotage an oil pipeline that connects the Bavarian city of Ingolstadt with the Italian port of Trieste.

Why does Last Generation carry out disruptive protests?

Last Generation has acknowledged that its protests are provocative, but it argues that by stirring friction it can encourage debate within society about climate change.

In a Twitter post on Wednesday, the group wrote: “Nationwide raid. #completelynutty.”

“Searches of lobby structures and seizures of government's fossil money - When?” it said.

Wednesday's searches - accompanied by orders to seize two bank accounts and other assets - aimed to secure evidence on the membership structure of Last Generation and on its financing. There were no arrests.

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