After traffic blockades in downtown Munich, the Munich district court sentenced three climate activists from the “Last Generation” protest group to fines on Wednesday. The presiding judge sentenced two of the three climate activists to 25 daily rates of 15 euros. The third was 25 euros.
The number of daily rates was thus half as high as the public prosecutor had demanded for coercion. Nevertheless, the accused immediately announced that they wanted to appeal – their lawyers had demanded acquittal. The judge agreed with the activists that “far too little is being done by the governments of this world to combat climate change”.
But they were wrong on one point – “in their choice of means”. In a state governed by the rule of law, this fight should only be conducted through political means. On November 3, the activists and other members of the “Last Generation” had blocked traffic twice within a few hours at a protest in downtown Munich by sometimes sticking themselves to the street. Since they announced further actions at the time, the Munich district court ordered an initial 30-day preventive detention.
However, after a reassessment of the situation, the activists were released from Stadelheim Prison earlier than planned, last Saturday instead of December 2nd. The police justified this with the fact that further crimes by those affected are currently not to be expected and the conditions for custody are therefore no longer met. The three accused also spoke at the hearing. Instead of addressing the legal issues surrounding the protest, one of them said he wanted to address the question of “why.” “We are in the fight of our lives and we are about to lose.”
The 23-year-old said that unlike many other people, he lives in a democratic constitutional state “where I have certain rights even in prison”. In this “comparatively privileged position” it was “the least thing for him to offer civilian resistance”. In prison, she made a conscious decision not to mourn her freedom, the 25-year-old accused said in court. “I’m sacrificing my freedom here for a future with more freedom and less suffering.” The judge noted that the activists could have appealed while they were in police custody, but did not exercise that option.
According to the Bavarian Police Tasks Act, citizens can be detained for up to one month on the basis of a judicial decision in order to prevent the commission of an administrative offense of considerable importance to the general public or a criminal offence. This period can be extended by a maximum of one additional month. Bavaria’s Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann (CSU) had announced before the trial began that the 30-day preventive detention should only be used in rare cases.
“Detention for 30 days must also be the absolute exception in the future,” he told the “Augsburger Allgemeine” https://www.sueddeutsche.de/muenchen/ .” The aim is not to stop protests. Further protest actions by the group “Last Generation” have meanwhile become less likely – at least for the time being. After a sharply criticized action at Berlin Airport, the group announced last Friday that it initially wanted to forego further actions in Berlin and Munich. The group hopes for action in the last week of the Bundestag session in the current year – but at the same time warns against a restart of the protests with more clout.
The three defendants in Munich also announced that they wanted to continue protesting despite the verdict. According to the “last generation”, the government is demanding “simple, vital” measures such as a speed limit on motorways or a 9-euro ticket for local public transport.