German climate activist receives record prison sentence

BERLIN, Sept. 21 (Xinhua) -- A climate activist from the environmental group Last Generation was sentenced to eight months in prison without parole in Berlin on Thursday, a court spokesperson has confirmed to local media. The judgment is still pending.

The 41-year-old woman had participated in several roadblocks in October 2022, in two cases attaching herself to the road with glue. During the hearing, she sought to continue the protests.

Although the public prosecutor's office had only requested a fine, the court imposed the highest sentence ever for a crime of this kind in Germany. In previous convictions for similar crimes, prison sentences of only three to four months have been handed down, while other cases have been dropped altogether.

"These differences in sentences for the same thing are absurd," Last Generation said via X, formerly Twitter. The members of the group are known in Germany as Klimakleber (climate stickers), for frequently gluing themselves to roads and infrastructure.

The majority of Germany's population does not support the activists' measures. Videos on social media show increasing violence against environmentalists, including cars running into them. Individual police officers are also being investigated for the use of violent force to clear roads.

Other climate protection groups are also criticizing the Klimakleber for this form of protest. A "social backlash that you produce yourself and then fail to recapture will eventually become a problem for all of us," Fridays for Future activist Luisa Neubauer recently told Stern magazine.

According to local media, Last Generation has already started to change the way it protests. Instead of gluing themselves to the roads, activists are now obstructing traffic by walking in the road. However, this has already resulted in attacks by motorists in Berlin.

Police have warned against pursuing vigilante justice. "Our colleagues will try their best to stop the illegal actions beforehand," a spokesperson for the police union said.

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