The Daily Telegraph
Put the glue away and I’ll back you, German mayor tells eco warriors
HANOVER has been accused of “giving in to blackmail” after it agreed to lobby for the demands of climate activists in return for them not disrupting the city.
Manuel Höferlin, a senior figure in the governing Free Democrats, said it was “naive and dangerous” for local municipalities to accede to the demands of the climate activists, warning that this would only encourage them to “escalate” their tactics.
Last week, Belit Onay, Hanover’s mayor, said that he had written to the heads of the parties in the German parliament urging them to take up three central demands of the climate group Letzte Generation. In return, the group, whose members block traffic by gluing themselves to roads, said it would “completely cease” protests in the city.
The letter called on the parties to bring in a 100kmh (62mph) speed limit on the autobahn, subsidise a €9 (£8) rail ticket, and set up “people’s assemblies” to make the country carbon neutral by the end of the decade. Mr Onay, of the Greens, conceded that he had met the group for talks after their repeated blockades of the city’s streets had led to “extreme polarisation” among locals.
He denied that he had caved in to blackmail, saying that he shared the group’s conviction that more needed to be done to cut carbon emissions. “You only get blackmailed if you do something you don’t want to do,” he said, adding that the group’s demands were “all absolutely understandable”.
Senior figures in several factions in the Bundestag, Germany’s parliament, criticised the letter, saying that it would encourage that group to continue lawbreaking until its demands were met.
Andrea Lindholz, deputy faction leader of the conservative CDU, said: “Mr Onay and the Greens are supporting a movement that continuously and deliberately commits crimes in order to push their agenda.”
“Crimes are no more a part of achieving an objective than are threats of violence or extortion.”