Protesters including Marion Fabian (2nd, left) and Aimee van Baalen (center), spokesperson of the Last Generation group hold a banner during a march in Berlin on May 24, 2023 following morning raids by police on their activists. (PHOTO / AFP)
BERLIN – German police have conducted a nationwide raid targeting members of climate activist group Last Generation on suspicion of forming or supporting a criminal organization, the Munich State Prosecutor's Office said on Wednesday.
Following "numerous criminal complaints" from citizens, the prosecutor's office initiated preliminary proceedings against seven suspects aged between 22 and 38, the Bavarian State Criminal Police Office (BLKA) said in a statement. The investigators have searched 15 properties throughout the country.
Two suspects were also accused of attempting to sabotage the Trieste-Ingolstadt oil pipeline in April 2022, which is part of the critical infrastructure of the state of Bavaria
Two suspects were also accused of attempting to sabotage the Trieste-Ingolstadt oil pipeline in April 2022, which is part of the critical infrastructure of the state of Bavaria, according to the statement.
The authorities also seized two bank accounts and froze one asset. According to the statement, the defendants had organized a fundraising campaign, collecting at least 1.4 million euros ($1.5 million) to finance further crimes on behalf of Last Generation.
"The aim of the searches is to find evidence on the membership structure of Last Generation, to further clarify its financing, and to seize assets. No arrests have been made so far," the statement said.
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Climate activists have repeatedly blocked traffic in German cities by gluing themselves to the asphalt in order to press for tougher action against global warming. To generate as much media coverage as possible, the activists even smeared works of art in museums with color.
Major airports in Germany were also targeted. At the end of November, flight operations at the capital's airport were brought to a standstill for around two hours by activists glued to the taxiway. Last Generation has repeatedly stated that its aim was to draw attention to the climate-damaging effects of air traffic.
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The activists do not appear to find much support among Germans. According to a recent YouGov survey, 60 percent of the population strictly reject Last Generation's disruptive actions.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has sharply criticized the group's activists. "I think it's completely crazy to somehow glue yourself to a painting or to the asphalt," Scholz said on Monday in Brandenburg.