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German police conduct raids in probe of climate activists

German prosecutors say authorities raided 15 properties across the country and seized assets as part of an investigation into protest funding by climate activist group Last Generation

Police use hammers and scissors to remove a climate activist who stuck 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 across Germany and seized assets on Wednesday as part of an investigation into the funding of protests by the climate activist group Last Generation, prosecutors said.

Munich prosecutors said they were investigating seven people, aged between 22 and 38, suspected of forming or supporting a criminal organization. They launched the investigation following numerous criminal complaints they have received since mid-2022.

Last Generation members have repeatedly blocked roads across Germany in an effort to pressure the government into taking more drastic action on climate change.

In recent weeks, they have brought traffic to a halt almost daily in Berlin, sticking to intersections and busy highways. Over the past year, they have also targeted various artworks and exhibitions.

Their tactics have drawn heavy criticism. On Monday, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said he thought it was “completely crazy to somehow stick to a painting or the street”.

Prosecutors said those under investigation are accused of organizing and promoting a campaign to ‘fund further criminal offences’ by the group and raising at least $1.4 million. euro ($1.5 million). Two of them are also suspected of having tried to sabotage an oil pipeline that connects the Bavarian city of Ingolstadt to the Italian port of Trieste.

Wednesday’s searches – accompanied by orders to seize two bank accounts and other assets – were aimed at obtaining evidence about Last Generation’s membership structure and funding. There were no arrests.

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

In a Twitter post on Wednesday, the group wrote: “National Raid. #totally crazy.

“Searches of Lobbying Structures and Seizures of Government Fossil Money – When?” It said.

ABC News

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