Process after climate protest in Berlin – Gysi stands up for the latest generation
The left-wing politician and lawyer represented one of the accused activists in court. At first he was unsuccessful.
BERLÍN taz | A flurry of flashbulbs erupted when Gregor Gysi appeared in front of courtroom A101 of the Tiergarten district court in a black robe, a former GDR opposition lawyer and later the Left Party’s public favourite. On the other hand, nobody pays attention to 24-year-old Lukas P. at first. Disinterested, a judicial officer asks him if he also belongs to the press. “No,” P. replies succinctly. “I’m being charged here.” The young man is a student, a trained carpenter, a climate activist – and part of the Last Generation group .
Actually, processes against the protesters, who are best known for their street blockades, are now boring everyday life at the district court. More than 170 proceedings are said to be pending in Berlin alone – and the trend is rising. The political celebrity Gysi is a new show factor. He represented P. as a lawyer. About two dozen of his supporters couldn’t even get in, having to wait outside the court in the cold due to the media rush.
P. is accused of numerous road blockades and occupying an anteroom of the Federal Ministry of Justice. Legally, this means the allegation of coercion in 8 cases, resistance against law enforcement officers in 6 cases and once trespassing. P. makes no move to deny his actions.
Instead, Gysi requested that renowned climate and protest researchers be called as witnesses – not for the deeds, but for the urgency of the climate crisis , the inaction of politicians and the legitimacy of civil disobedience. This is intended to prove that the climate crisis represents a justifying emergency for certain crimes .
P. has to pay a fine
He doesn’t have any success with it. The judge dismisses the application because the witnesses are “not necessary for investigating the truth”. P. had previously made a plea himself. “Millions of people suffer from water shortages, drought, crop failures and floods,” he explains through tears. It is visibly difficult for him to speak, and he falters again and again. For his tears, the judge has to offer him a handkerchief.
P. continues that the government is demonstrably doing too little, so civil disobedience is a “democratic duty”. He is afraid of every action, says P.. But he accepts that: “But the impending escalation due to the climate crisis is so great that I think my actions are the right ones.”
Gysi will later explain to reporters that although he himself criticizes the Last Generation, the group convinced him in a conversation to represent one of their activists.
In his plea, Gysi says that the climate crisis is being “managed terribly badly” and that the younger generation has to fight to survive. “Should punishment be the answer of our generation?” asks the 74-year-old. The allegations of coercion and resistance are also not applicable because P. did not use violence – both criminal law paragraphs require it. “You cannot simply declare non-violence to be violence.” Gysi says to the judge: “You should have the courage to challenge the accused to acquit.”
But the judge apparently cannot muster this courage. He sentenced P. to 90 daily rates of 15 euros each. There is neither a justifying state of emergency nor were the blockades non-violent. An appeal can be lodged against this – which Gysi promptly announces. “We will go as far as the Federal Constitutional Court,” he told reporters.
The case could keep the courts busy for a while. Despite the setback in court, P. wants to continue to take part in actions of the last generation: “I will continue to stand up for what we humans need to live. Also there, where it disturbs.”