The Munich I Regional Court has classified the climate protection group »Last Generation« as a criminal organisation. Deniz Yücel, spokesperson for PEN Berlin, commented on this legally binding decision:
»You don’t have to like Last Generation. You can agree with their drastic warnings of an imminent climate catastrophe, or you can regard them as an exaggerated form of apocalypticism. You may find some of their demands, such as the establishment of a ›climate council‹, anti-democratic, and you may blame them for ensuring that social support for climate policy measures is lower today than it was a few years ago, through their street blockades and other actions. However, their protest, always peaceful, should not be criminalised in this way.
Classifying the Last Generation as a criminal organisation – and thus making mere membership a punishable offence – is completely excessive. Other European countries have also managed to impose legal penalties for individual offences without classifying comparable climate protection organisations as criminal organisations.
In principle, an open society must be able to tolerate that political discourse sometimes takes the form of a melee, which – without using violence against people – may include one or two minor breaches of the law. For their part, activists must accept that criminal offences such as damage to property will be punished. And they must come to terms with the fact that they will be heavily criticised for actions such as smearing the monument called ›Basic Law 49‹, in reference to West Germany’s 1949 constitution. But to put it in Bavarian: A Depp is no lång koa Bandit (A mug is still no villain).«
PEN Berlin. We stand by our word.