After the protests by climate demonstrators in art museums, Federal Minister of Justice Marco Buschmann (FDP) is examining whether tougher penalties are necessary. He told the "Bild am Sonntag" that his ministry would closely monitor how the judiciary dealt with the attacks on cultural treasures. "If I come to the conclusion that the legal framework is not sufficient, I will act. I will have my house checked carefully to see whether we have a legal deficit here," said Buschmann.
In recent weeks, climate demonstrators in Germany and other European countries have stuck to paintings or sprayed them with food, such as in the Barberini Museum in Potsdam. There, a Monet painting had been thrown at with mashed potatoes. However, none of the paintings had been damaged as they were protected by glass. With their actions, the climate activists want to emphasize their demand for a more decisive fight against climate change.
At the beginning of November, Buschmann told the "Bild": "Anyone who throws works of art can be punished for damage to property. A road blockade can be punished as coercion. And if ambulances are slowed down, criminal liability for negligent bodily harm can also be considered." In addition to fines, the law also provides for imprisonment in certain cases. These laws also need to be enforced.
Buschmann now told the "Bild am Sonntag" that in an open society everyone is allowed to promote their concerns, criticize things and demonstrate. This is not only required by law, but makes up a diverse society. "But throwing food at art has little to do with it," he said. "Anyone who attacks and endangers our cultural treasures crosses a red line." The people who did this also harmed their own cause, said Buschmann. "Because they play off climate protection and the enjoyment of culture against each other. If you want to protect the climate, you shouldn't fight against our cultural treasures."