German police have launched a nationwide raid against members of the Last Generation climate group, as the activists continue to protest in an effort to pressure the government to take more drastic action against climate change.
Bavaria’s police and the Munich State Prosecutor’s Office announced in a joint statement on Wednesday that 15 properties were searched across seven German states, adding that two accounts were seized and an asset freeze was ordered.
The statement further pointed out that the raids were ordered in a preliminary investigation “due to numerous criminal complaints from the population” against a total of seven people aged 22 to 38 years, over suspicions of “forming or supporting a criminal organization.”
The defendants are accused of organizing a fundraising campaign to finance “further crimes” for the Last Generation group, advertising it on its website and collecting at least 1.4 million Euros ($1.5 million) in donations.
“These funds were according to current information mostly used for the committing of further criminal action of the association,” German authorities said.
Two of the suspects are also accused of having attempted to sabotage the Trieste-Ingolstadt oil pipeline that runs across Italy, Austria and Germany in April 2022, according to the LKA.
Climate activists of the Last Generation have been blocking roads across Germany for about a year by gluing themselves to streets.
Dozens of climate activists from the group have found themselves before the courts in recent weeks over their traffic blockade actions.
Most have received fines for disrupting traffic or obstructing police work but some courts have begun toughening their sentences to also hand down jail convictions.
Earlier this week, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz blasted the group’s protests as “completely nuts,” while expressing frustration at the activists for their tactics such as blocking streets or gluing themselves to famous paintings in museums.
Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck of the Greens also said the street blockades are “not a helpful contribution to climate protection, because they don’t win consensus but they “irritate people”.
Germany has seen a host of other climate activist groups carrying out protests in the last years.