Disgraced works of art, blocked roads: Not only is the climate on the brink of collapse, the nerves of some drivers are also on edge in the face of radical climate protests. The police union in the south-west calls for a tough treatment of the activists.

Stuttgart (dpa / lsw) – On Monday morning they struck in Ulm: shortly before 9 a.m., in the middle of rush hour, young activists in orange safety vests stormed one of the most important intersections in the city center, at the municipal theater. They sit in front of the cars waiting at the traffic lights, holding their banners directly in front of the hoods. “What if the government doesn’t have it under control?” It says, for example.

The activists are demanding the 9-euro ticket and a speed limit of 100 kilometers per hour. An activist tapes his left hand to the asphalt. A traffic jam quickly forms in the center of Ulm and an angry horn concert. Motorists get out and yell at the activists that they have to go to work. The nerves are on edge again.

The more radical the protest of the climate activists, the more radical the call for countermeasures to stop the protest. The German Police Union (DPolG) in Baden-Württemberg is now demanding police custody as in Bavaria in the fight against climate protesters. Union boss Ralf Kusterer believes that anyone who wants to stick an announcement on the street in Baden-Württemberg and block traffic should be locked up in prison for a certain period of time without a trial.

“I think that’s a good tool to ward off crime,” he told the German Press Agency. If politicians were to introduce this in the southwest, they would have the DPolG on their side. Without the possibility of preventive detention, the hands of the police are tied to a certain extent when dealing with the activists, and then you always have to wait until something happens, says Kusterer. He considers such a measure to be proportionate in the fight against climate activists.

According to the Bavarian Police Responsibilities Act, citizens can be detained for up to a month on the basis of a judicial decision in order to prevent the commission of an administrative offense of considerable public importance or a criminal offence. This period can be extended by a maximum of one additional month. In Bavaria, 19 climate activists were recently imprisoned. They were released from police custody over the weekend.

Kusterer receives applause for his demand from the AfD. “Damage to property and coercion are not tolerable means of protest,” said the security policy spokesman for the parliamentary group, Hans-Jürgen Gossner, on Monday. Gossner called the term used by the activists belittling: “What is happening here is “terror light”.

The “last generation” often makes the headlines with their blockade actions or attacks on works of art. The activists want to draw attention to the destruction of the environment and climate change. Kusterer condemned the protests. “These are mostly crimes that happen there,” he said. “Anyone who restricts other people’s freedom of movement has no sympathy from me.” In its effect, this is not a peaceful protest. However, Kusterer also expects a rather temporary phenomenon with a view to the winter. “Even if you put on thick underpants – at some point it gets uncomfortable on the street.”

The other police union in the country, the Police Union (GdP), is also very critical of the protests. “We strongly condemn these actions,” said GdP country chief Gundram Lottmann. He understands the intention. But it cannot be that crimes are committed and the infrastructure is blocked. “Our infrastructure is simply the heart of our economy and industry.” He also understands if affected citizens react aggressively to the activists. “If you show radical protest, you shouldn’t be surprised if the citizens react accordingly,” said Lottmann. The police must protect both sides and stand between the chairs.

Lottmann believes that police custody is only the last resort in taking action against the activists. There are certainly radical people who are no longer open to any arguments, he said. But before that, all other options would have to be exhausted in order to find an amicable solution. He sees other problems in connection with police custody like in Bavaria: “We would not have the detention facilities and certainly not the staff,” he said. “We couldn’t do that.”

Activist Solvig Schinköthe, who herself was already in prison due to blockades, was outraged by the German police union’s request: “The government can decide at any time to fight for the lives of all of us instead of locking us up, the messengers of the bad news “, she told the dpa. “Longer preventive detention will not prevent us from protesting against the deadly business-as-usual of the federal government.”

Schinköthe criticizes that the tightened law on police duties in Bavaria is supposed to protect society from Islamist terror. “Now this law is being misused to lock up peaceful climate activists. In Baden-Württemberg, too, we will continue to take to the streets peacefully and resolutely to preserve what we all hold dear.”