A German government spokesman on Friday rejected the notion that Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s comments criticizing climate activists could have prompted attacks against them this week.
Police on Wednesday searched more than a dozen properties across Germany linked to the Last Generation group, seizing assets as part of an investigation into its finances. Prosecutors in Munich said they were investigating whether the group constituted a criminal organization after its repeated roadblocks and other protests drew numerous complaints from the public.
Days before the attacks, Scholz said he thought it was “completely crazy to somehow stick yourself to a painting or on the street”.
GERMAN LEFT CHANCELOR CALLS ON ‘NUTTY’ CLIMATE PROTESTERS BLOCKING STREETS AND DEFACTING ART
Last Generation members hit back, describing the attacks as a blow to democracy and accusing Scholz of downplaying young people’s fears about global warming.
Scholz’s spokesman, Wolfgang Buechner, said he did not know whether the chancellor had prior knowledge of the attacks, but that it would be unusual if that were the case.
Asked whether Bavarian prosecutors could have interpreted Scholz’s comments as a signal to crack down on the group, Buechner vehemently rejected the idea.
“It has to be possible for the German Chancellor to answer a question about what he thinks about the protests in a frank way,” he said. “I think the chancellor has done it appropriately.”
Buechner said the German government remains committed to tackling climate change and protesters must abide by the law.
GERMAN POLICE SURROUNDED AND REWARDED CAMP OF ANTI-COAL PROTESTERS
A United Nations spokesman said on Thursday that while governments have a duty to uphold the law, “people also have a fundamental right to demonstrate peacefully so that their voices are heard”.
“And it’s clear that a lot of the progress we’ve seen in climate change awareness and the positive movement on climate change is due to the fact that people are peacefully demonstrating around the world,” Stéphane Dujarric told reporters in New York. .
“Climate advocates – led by the moral voice of young people – kept the agenda going through the darkest of days. They must be protected and we need them now more than ever,” he told German news agency dpa.
CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE FOX NEWS APP
Last Generation and other groups said they planned more protests in Germany in the coming days.