Germany takes action against climate activists

From throwing potatoes at art to gluing their hands to airport runways, climate activists are growing bolder by the day, but so are the governments aiming to get them under control. 

What happened: Five members of Letzte Generation, a group of climate change activists, have been charged with “forming a criminal organization,” under Germany’s criminal code for conducting more than a dozen “attacks” against oil refineries, a museum, and an airport. 

Catch-up: Letzte Generation (translation: Last Generation) brings attention to the climate crisis with direct actions that disrupt daily life, which the group justifies with the belief that its own rights are being violated by those who don’t do enough to protect the environment.

  • The group is most active throughout Europe but also has a presence in Canada — remember the topless protester who took the stage at the Juno Awards last year?

Why it matters: A guilty verdict for any of the defendants could criminalize support for the climate campaign, reports The Guardian, and establish that beliefs about the dangers of climate change will not be accepted as a defence for criminal damage across Europe. 

Big picture: Elsewhere, recent rulings have set the stage for more convictions for direct action from climate protesters. Earlier this year, a U.K. court ruled that activists were not above the law, and similar efforts are being made in Canada.—SB