Yesterday, Letzte Generation climate activists forced their way through the fenced perimeter of the international airports at Hamburg and Düsseldorf with bolt cutters.
They then used rented bicycles to make their way onto the tarmac where they glued themselves to taxiways, causing multiple flight cancellations and considerable delays precisely at the start of the school holidays.
Ordinary travellers experience airports as bizarre fortresses. They’re routinely subject to arbitrary and invasive screenings by security personnel on the pretence that policing the amount of liquid in carry-on luggage is necessary to prevent terrorism. Apparently, though, even the most naïve and inexperienced university students can just break into these terror-proof airfields with nothing more than standard tools available at every home improvement store, and move freely within them while wearing high-visibility orange reflective vests.
A look at the Letzte Generation website suggests we can expect more of this. Its online recruitment form asks respondents what they’re willing to do in order to combat climate catastrophe. Roles are listed in order of escalation – you can volunteer “in the background” or participate in “protest marches,” which involve “minimal risk”. The more daring can “block streets”, which interestingly is said to entail “limited risk,” but that’s not all. There’s a still greater level for truly insane activists who wish to contribute “spectacular” acts of resistance involving “high personal risk”. We can presume that the taxiway gluers represent the debut of the spectacular Letzte Generation high-risk commando.
The action was a prelude to the midsummer blitz Letzte Generation has planned before some of them depart for their three-week holiday tomorrow. Today we got the frontal attack, a coordinated campaign of street blockades in 26 cities, including Berlin, Dresden, Leipzig and Munich. Activists wore printed masks to assume the personae of Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Economics Minister Robert Habeck and Transport Minister Volker Wissing, and with their unglued hands unfurled banners declaring “Wir brechen das Gesetz” – “We’re breaking the law”. The message is that the Scholz Government, by not doing more to combat emissions, are guilty of violating the climate legislation and the German constitution. Sudden interference with traffic is dangerous, and today’s protests have already contributed to at least one serious accident in Nuremberg.
The political establishment, including the Greens, have widely condemned the protesters, and I continue to insist that this is a hint as to their real purpose. Their insane demands allow radical politicians like Robert Habeck to pose as moderates, while they fight to impose climate legislation opposed by three-quarters of the citizenry and a majority even of their own party. If the German state really wanted this to stop, the protesters would all be in jail and their movement under investigation by the political police. Certainly, state media wouldn’t be granting extended interviews to Letzte Generation spokesgirls like Lina Johnsen, allowing them to rehearse their doubtful and oblivious talking points mostly unchallenged before an audience of millions.