Stuck to the roadway: court condemns highway blockers

At the end of June, a climate activist got stuck on a freeway ramp in Berlin, disrupting traffic.

Stuck to the roadway: court condemns highway blockers

At the end of June, a climate activist got stuck on a freeway ramp in Berlin, disrupting traffic. Now a judge is making the verdict in the first nationwide trial in connection with the "last generation" road blockades.

In the first nationwide trial in connection with blockade actions by the group "Last Generation", the Berlin-Tiergarten district court sentenced a 20-year-old climate activist to 60 hours of leisure work. The court found Nils R. guilty of coercion because of his participation in a road blockade in the capital. On the morning of June 29, R. sat down with other activists from the group on a driveway to Autobahn 100 and stuck it there.

This is "legally to be assessed as a coercion," said the presiding judge Günter Räcke. Others should not be used as a means of exerting political pressure. The court was not allowed to evaluate the goals of the group, such as the fight against the climate crisis. "Of course it's scary what's happening," Räcke said in reference to climate change. But there must be other ways of using it.

R. was also charged with resisting law enforcement officials. However, Räcke did not see this accusation as fulfilled. R. did not use violence against the police officers who had loosened his hands with oil from the street. The conviction took place - as suggested by the youth welfare service - according to youth criminal law. Among other things, Räcke justified this by saying that R. had only recently left his parents' house. The 20-year-old moved to Leipzig last year to study philosophy there. "I hope he understood a lot today," said the judge.

At the beginning of the several-hour hearing, the 20-year-old read out a statement in which he justified his participation in the blockade. "I'm sorry that we have to disturb, but we have to disturb," it said, among other things. The federal government is not acting according to the situation. This was followed by a discussion between the judge and the defense attorney, Lukas Theune, about the legality of the blockade. Theune has repeatedly called for the proceedings to be discontinued. "I've never had such a long legal talk," said Räcke afterwards.

The court's verdict fell short of the prosecutor's request, which had requested that the activist be tried as an adult and that a fine of 1,500 euros be imposed. His defense attorney, on the other hand, pleaded for an acquittal or, in the case of a conviction, for the application of juvenile criminal law.

According to a court spokeswoman, the public prosecutor's office in the capital applied for 116 penal orders against road blockers, 66 of which have already been issued. Objections have been filed against 24, so there will be negotiations. According to the spokeswoman, however, more appeals are expected.

The first hearing in this context has now taken place in Berlin. R. had also lodged an objection against his penalty order in the amount of 450 euros. According to the group "Last Generation", it was also the first nationwide process after the blockade actions. The second trial will take place on Thursday. A 59-year-old is accused of participating in three road blockades in the capital.

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