German leader urges climate activists not to endanger others | WGN 720 Radio

BERLIN (AP) — German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Monday urged climate activists to be “creative” and not put others at risk after attacks on artworks and road blockades allegedly delayed a special rescue team from arriving at the crash site.

Germany, like some other countries, has seen a series of high-profile protests in recent months against what activists say is the government’s failure to adequately deal with the threat of climate change.

Actions by the Last Generation group have included blocking streets, throwing mashed potatoes at a Claude Monet painting at a museum in Potsdam and an incident on Sunday in which two activists taped themselves to a dinosaur exhibit at Berlin’s Natural History Museum.

On Monday, the group blocked several roads in Berlin, including a major thoroughfare. Fire department spokesman Rolf Erbe said the blockades left officers with special rescue equipment stuck in traffic as they rushed to help a critically injured cyclist trapped under a concrete mixer. The crew notified first responders and “there was no other option but to use other methods” to help the woman, he said, without elaborating.

In a statement, Last Generation said it could not rule out the cause of the congestion, but insisted it was ensuring the safety lanes were maintained during the lockdown. It expressed the hope that the condition of the cyclist did not worsen as a result of the delay in the arrival of rescuers.

Spokesman Aimee van Baalen said “the safety of everyone on our roads, also in the future, is a fundamental motivation for our actions” and that the protests would be stopped once the government took action against the looming “climate collapse”.

When asked about the incident at a previously scheduled press conference, Scholz said: “My appeal can only be that in all the decisions that people make about political demonstrations, they always make sure that they don’t create danger to others. And if that’s the case, it’s a shame.”

“We have to take critical positions and critical protests,” Scholz added, though he noted that blockades and stunts “obviously don’t get very broad applause — they don’t get mine either.”

“I think there are other ways in which people can express themselves and maybe a little creativity would be useful,” the chancellor added.

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