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At the frontline of an Extinction Rebellion climate protest in Berlin

by ace

A group of climate change activists, part of the international movement Extinction Rebellion, boarded a high-speed train bound for Berlin to block the German capital. The protest was part of many global demos in October. The group was on a secretly planned civil disobedience mission called "Ark of the Rebels." A wooden ark replica is set to block a road, but it is not yet known what it will be.

The movement's plan was to block capital around the world, to convince governments to act to save the planet.

Extinction Rebellion was founded almost a year ago (October 31st) in the UK and quickly spread around the world. In Germany there are now about one hundred local groups.

Activist: "Time is running out"

On the train journey, Euronews spoke to Norman Schumann, who is a mathematician and one of the climate protest group's decision makers. He took a year off to devote his time to the movement.

"Last summer, I saw nature dying from the heat wave. I understand: time is running out. We have to act urgently. We have to act now," Schumann said.

Activist: "I'm deeply shocked"

People from all walks of life and from many political parties joined the Extinction Rebellion. From German society there are nurses, teachers, artists, carpenters, editors, bankers and IT developers such as Tobias.

"I am deeply shocked and dismayed at how most people treat our planet," said Tobias, "we are still eight years old (before it is too late for a change). I believe the Extinction Rebellion should move on in this violence." – but radical way. At least we should try to save something. "

At Berlin Central Station, Norman and his protest group were closely watched by the police.

Schumann told Euronews: "We will launch civil disobedience actions and block Berlin. We will put up barriers to express our discontent with climate policy. Governments are guilty of not acting."

Activists place their tents in front of the Bundeskanzleramt, Angela Merkel's workplace.

Meanwhile, activists from Poland and Scandinavia came to support the movement in Berlin. Jorgen and Ronn are from Norway.

"We're here in Berlin to take a stand," said Jorgen, "to wake people up, to see the truth being told, and everyone sees how critical this is."

Ronn said, "Join the movement to stop using fossil fuels."

Early start

At two in the morning, everyone gets up to find out where to go. The activist's "Ark of the Rebels" operation is secretly carried out to prevent early police interception and the scene is revealed only at the last minute when protesters discover that Berlin's huge five-lane roundabout that links north to south and east to east. west is to be completely locked in Thicker stern.

This map shows the main routes that were affected.

Activists tried to block police officers so that the group could unload the wooden blocks to build the ark, but authorities intervened.

Joergen said, "Well, we were hoping to build the ark as a symbol, a boat that is saving the species. Well, we'll still try, but I'm not sure if we can make it yet. We're chaining ourselves here to make the building possible."

"The government must absolutely declare a state of climate emergency," Schumann said. "We need a citizens' assembly to have the least chance of dealing with these incalculable consequences triggered by the climate crisis."

Police negotiate with activists

When dawn comes, police and protesters calmly discuss the situation and the Extinction Rebellion group agrees to move the ark and agree to the limits.

Protest movements like Fridays for the Future demonstrate with billboards, Extinction Rebellion opts for direct action without violence against people or things. The rapidly growing movement refers to passive resistance strategies.

Meanwhile, Berlin police and local government decided not to intervene and told the group not to speak at airports or affect vital infrastructure, but they tolerated the main obstacle in the capital.

Is the German government listening?

Schumann and other leading activists were invited to a confidential tete-a-tete at the German environmental ministry. It will be an informal two-hour discussion.

Other protests took place in other significant parts of the city at the same time; blocking traffic on Potsdamer Platz; blockade of the Ministry of the Environment; blockade of several crucial bridges in central Berlin and at symbolic sites such as the headquarters of the Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU).

Volker Quaschining is the German social media science star and renewable energy teacher and founder of the group "Scientists for Future". He said the government's climate package does not meet the needs to combat global warming.

"See other countries, for example Sweden, which have a CO2 tax, currently above 100 Euros per tonne of CO2. That's ten times the proposed tax in Germany," Quaschining said, "and even in Sweden. ., they must slow down to meet their climate protection goals. "

Extinction rebellion demands a Citizens' Assembly

Extinction Rebellion wants governments to create a Citizens' Assembly. He wants people from all demographic backgrounds to make recommendations for governments to respond to climate change. This is a system already used in Europe, the Netherlands, Ireland, Belgium, Poland and other countries.

This system allows citizens to work together and take responsibility. Assembly members hear balanced information from experts and those most affected by the emergency. Members are heard openly and honestly in small groups, along with professional facilitators, and are run by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) for independence.

The second night of protests

As the sun went down, the protesters braced themselves for a second night outside, continuing to block the five lanes of the roundabout.

Schumann is happy with the protest and said, "Today was absolutely a big hit. It's still a big hit. We are here to stay. And we are still here. The ark is up. That was our plan. And the ark will be." . Now we prepare for the night, we are looking to the future, whatever happens, we will persist. "

The group stayed for 58 hours and left for another protest.

While there is criticism of the movement's actions preventing people from reaching hospitals or work, Extinction Rebellion said it will continue to organize mass peaceful disruptions until the government of the world declares a climate and ecological emergency.

. (tagsToTranslate) Activism (t) Extinction rebellion (t) Environmental protection (t) Ecology (t) Protest (t) Germany

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