Climate protesters chain themselves to Merkel’s chancellery

June 12, 2019

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BERLIN: German police break the chains around the necks of climate activists of the “Extinction rebellion” group after they chained themselves to a fence of the Chancellery during a protest to urge the government to declare a climate emergency.—AFP
BERLIN: German police break the chains around the necks of climate activists of the “Extinction rebellion” group after they chained themselves to a fence of the Chancellery during a protest to urge the government to declare a climate emergency.—AFP

BERLIN: Dozens of German “extinction rebellion” protesters chained themselves to the fence of Angela Merkel’s chancellery on Tuesday, demanding she declare a “climate emergency”.

The activists sent the keys to unlock them to all 13 government ministries and Merkel’s office along with letters formulating their demands, including to effectively cut greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2025. However police moved in during the early afternoon and removed the protesters from the fence using bolt cutters. No clashes were reported.

“The current climate policy puts our future at risk,” said one 17-year-old demonstrator who asked not to be named. “We will have to bear the physical cost of today’s inaction.” Another, who gave her name as Natalie, said: “The goal today is to raise awareness about the climate catastrophe.” “We want the press and politicians to tell the truth about the climate crisis, and a state of climate emergency to be declared.”

Together with some 50 supporters, the chained-up protesters chanted a slogan from the Fridays for Future rallies: “What do we want? Climate Justice! When do we want it? Now!” Extinction Rebellion describes itself as an international movement using non-violent civil disobedience “to achieve radical change in order to minimise the risk of human extinction and ecological collapse”.

Germany is now set to miss its 2020 target of cutting CO2 emissions by 40 percent from 1990 levels. It is currently on course for only a 32-percent reduction.

Merkel’s government last month pledged a new climate strategy by September as it scrambles to tackle an issue that has gained urgency with German voters and has dramatically boosted support for the ecologist Greens party.

Published in Dawn, June 12th, 2019