Nonviolent Climate Protest: How Extinction Rebellion blocked Berlin’s Oberbaum Bridge

Extinction Rebellion
:Climate activists paralyzed the Oberbaumbrcke with a sitting blockade

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  • Annika Leister

After two hours, the police asked, "Do you want to go or should we wear you?" A non-violent climate protest.

After two hours, the police asked, “Do you want to go or should we wear you?” A non-violent climate protest.

Photo:

dpa / Christoph Soeder

Berlin –

The protest of the climate movement in Berlin is becoming more extreme: for two hours around 200 members of the climate initiative Extinction Rebellion and other ecological groups blocked the Oberbaum Bridge on Monday afternoon. From 4.30 to 6.30 pm, in the middle of the rush hour traffic, they formed seating circles on the carriageways of the central landmark in the district of Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg. The police locked the driveways from both sides. There were 400 policemen in total. Instead of volunteering to clear the road, most of the activists ended up with two policemen at the end of each crossing. The traffic jammed meanwhile on the Warsaw and the Skalitzer road. As angry as some drivers might have been in front of the bridge, the mood in the sit-down was solved.

Again and again, the protesters sang or chanted. Most of them are known from the Fridays for Future student protests or from the demonstrations in the Hambach Forest: “We’re here, we’re loud because you’re stealing our future,” “Hambi stays” or “On the barricades, against lignite in this country”. Activists distributed pumpkin soup and vegan spelled biscuits.

In the middle of the sitting blockade: Friederike Schmitz, one of the initiators of the Berlin spin-off of Extinction Rebellion. For the 36-year-old, the action was successful: “The bridge is dense, that was our goal,” she said. “The action has already attracted a lot of attention.” What should the bridge blockage effect? “Above all, we want the movement to get bigger and more people to become active.

Demo Extinction Rebels

Protesters take part in a rally of Extinction Rebellion Germany in front of the Reichstag building.

Photo:

dpa

Climate change is to become the top issue. “Extinction rebellion on the one hand seems to be a radical catch basin for people who have long been active in climate protection – but on the other hand also attractive for newcomers. The 45-year-old artist Urzula Amen has only been active in Extinction Rebellion since February, was previously a member of no other initiative, and sits on the bridge next to a 25-year-old craftsman, also a newcomer. The Extinction rebellion she had just addressed because of their radicalism: “We are the formation of the climate organizations that dares more, who wants to do more to build even more pressure,” said Amen. “To make citizens aware that it is close.”

Non-violent climate protest: No fights between police and protesters

But what about the laws that are being broken here? And those who have to make sure they are respected? For the Berlin police, the protest of the climate activists was a massive show of strength. At noon, Extinction Rebellion had held a rally outside the Reichstag and repeatedly called for “rebellion” and civil disobedience in several speeches.

Extinction Rebellion:Bridge blockade for the climate

Many Berliners came to the rally of the movement Extinction Rebellion at the Jannowitzbrcke.

Many Berliners came to the rally of the movement Extinction Rebellion at the Jannowitzbrcke.

Photo:

Christoph Soeder / dpa

"Rebellion for the next generation" is on a poster.

The environmental activists around the movement Extinction Rebellion are demanding from the federal government the proclamation of a climate emergency. “Rebellion for the next generation” is on a poster.

Photo:

Christoph Soeder / dpa

A climate protector appeared at the rally of Extinction rebellion in the Raubkatzenkostm.

A climate protector appeared at the rally of the Extinction Rebellion Costume.

Photo:

Christoph Soeder / dpa

Sitting blockade for the climate.

Sitting blockade for the climate.

The Oberbaumbrcke is blocked by participants of a rally of the movement Extinction Rebellion.

The Oberbaumbrcke is blocked by participants of a rally of the movement Extinction Rebellion.

Photo:

Christoph Soeder / dpa

Climate activists of the movement Extinction Rebellion occupy the Oberbaumbrcke in Berlin.

Climate activists of the movement Extinction Rebellion occupy the Oberbaumbrcke in Berlin.

Afterwards, a spontaneous group moved to the station Friedrichstrae, from there it was for most activists by train to the Jannowitzbrcke – always accompanied by some police officers. At the Jannowitz bridge, a rally was held until the afternoon, during which artists and musicians performed. And finally the sitting blockade on the Oberbaumbrcke, whose eviction drove the police sweat on the forehead.

“We were there with several hundreds,” said a police spokesman for the Berliner Zeitung. “A total of 400 police officers were needed to regulate the traffic, to block the route, to clear the bridge.”

However, the police spokesman does not want to speak of a “peaceful” protest, as activists do in every one of their speeches. “Peaceful? The road was blocked. I say: non-violent. “

More blockades could come soon. Friederike Schmitz: “There will be more actions.”