Conflict over climate protests intensifies after the death of a cyclist in Berlin

The cyclist died of her injuries in hospital on Thursday evening.

Conflict over climate protests intensifies after the death of a cyclist in Berlin

The cyclist died of her injuries in hospital on Thursday evening. A special fire brigade vehicle was stuck in a traffic jam on Monday due to a road blockade by activists of the last generation and therefore arrived late at the scene of the accident. The Berlin police therefore filed criminal charges against two protesters for, among other things, failure to provide assistance. Politicians from various parties criticized the protests after the accident.

Commitment to climate protection "must unite us socially" and should "not happen outside the framework of our laws," said Deputy Government Spokesman Wolfgang Büchner on Friday. FDP deputy leader Wolfgang Kubicki called the protests of the last generation "illegal and senseless actions" in "Spiegel". Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck (Greens) told the newspapers of the Funke media group: "Forms of protest that endanger people are wrong."

The Last Generation, for its part, was harshly critical of the media. Since Monday, "a wave of accusations, untruths and hate speech has swept over us," the group said. It was terrible that the cyclist had an accident on the road. But the media public exploited the accident.

The German Association of Journalists rejected this criticism. "I don't see any agitation in the reporting," spokesman Hendrik Zörner told the AFP news agency. The last generation had to put up with the fact that the accident was reported in the media.

A report in the "Süddeutsche Zeitung" said on Friday that the treating emergency doctor had already decided on Monday not to use the special vehicle. This emerges from an internal memo from the fire department. Accordingly, the doctor, who was not hindered by the traffic jam, briefly considered having the concrete mixer raised. That "would probably have taken longer and the medical situation would have gotten worse," the newspaper quoted from the note.

The Berlin fire brigade did not want to comment on this. Prosecutors did not confirm the existence of the note when asked on Friday. The letter "was not available here, nor is it known," said the Senate Interior Administration. After the report became known, the last generation called for a correction to the fact that the climate protest in Berlin had "no influence whatsoever on the care of the accident victim". In view of the new findings, Fridays for Future spoke of a "hasty condemnation of the protest action". This is inappropriate given the seriousness of the situation.

The last generation also criticized an intensified course against them. On Friday, the Munich district court ordered twelve climate activists to be held in police custody without a trial until the beginning of December. The protesters are said to have blocked traffic twice in a row on Thursday. The police said they wanted to prevent further announced blockade actions with the detention.

According to judicial information, there have been six trials against members of the last generation in Berlin, four of them against adults. Fines were imposed in each of these four cases. A seventh trial took place on Friday - a 56-year-old activist was also fined for taking part in three blockades in January and February.

The last generation has now called on the federal government to have a conversation. Negotiations about a speed limit of 100 kilometers per hour and the return to a nine-euro ticket in local transport are necessary, she explained. The group intends to continue protesting until a solution is found.