German police are investigating climate activists

German prosecutors say authorities have raided 15 properties across the country and seized assets in an investigation into the financing of protests by the climate activist group Last Generation.

Germany Climate Protest

Police officers use a hammer and chisel to remove a climate activist who taped himself to a road during a climate protest in Berlin, Germany, Monday, May 22, 2023. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

The Associated Press

BERLIN — Authorities raided 15 properties in Germany on Wednesday and seized assets in an investigation into the financing of protests by the climate activist group Last Generation, prosecutors said.

Munich prosecutors said they were investigating seven people, aged between 22 and 38, on suspicion of creating or supporting a criminal organization. Since the middle of 2022, the investigation has been launched following numerous criminal complaints.

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

They have stopped traffic in Berlin almost every day for the past few weeks, sticking to busy intersections and highways. Various works of art and exhibitions have also been targeted in the past year.

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

The people under investigation are accused of organizing and promoting a campaign to “finance further crimes” by the group, collecting at least 1.4 million euros ($1.5 million), according to prosecutors. The two are also suspected of trying to sabotage an oil pipeline linking the Bavarian city of Ingolstadt with the Italian port of Trieste.

Wednesday’s searches, accompanied by warrants to seize two bank accounts and other assets, were aimed at obtaining evidence of Last Generation’s membership and funding. There were no arrests.

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