MUNICH: German police officers and prosecutors conducted large-scale raids on Wednesday of properties belonging to members of the climate group Last Generation, whose members are known for gluing themselves onto roads.
A total of 15 properties, including flats and offices, were searched from around 7:00 am, according to the Munich General Public Prosecutor's Office and the Bavarian State Criminal Police Office.
The raids are related to numerous criminal charges filed against members of the group since last year. Seven suspects between 22 and 38 years old are accused of forming or supporting a criminal organisation. Initially, no one was arrested.
Last Generation has made a name for themselves in Europe with acts of civil disobedience, such as obstructing traffic, abseiling from motorway bridges and throwing food at museum artworks.
According to German investigators, two of the suspects allegedly attempted to sabotage an oil pipeline that runs from Trieste, in Italy, to Ingolstadt, in Bavaria, in April 2022.
The central accusation in connection with the searches that took place in seven states is that the suspects organised a fundraising campaign to finance further crimes for Last Generation and thus collected at least $1.5 million. The police did not say how much money was confiscated.
The goal of the investigation is to find out where the money came from and to gain insight into the membership structure, police said.
Properties in the states of Hesse, Hamburg, Saxony-Anhalt, Saxony,Bavaria, Berlin and Schleswig-Holstein were raided. According to the police, about 170 officers were deployed nationwide.
Among the locations searched included the Berlin apartment of Last Generation spokeswoman Carla Hinrichs, who is well-known in Germany due to her frequent TV appearances.
"With their guns drawn, the officers stormed into Carla's room, where she was still in bed," the group complained. Police declined to comment, claiming that police tactics must be kept secret.
In addition, the climate group's homepage was shut down on the instructions of the public prosecutor's office, according to a police spokesman.
Spokeswoman Aimée van Baalen called on all citizens to join protest marches next Wednesday.
"The 15 house searches have hit all supporters hard. They make us afraid, but we must not remain in this fear," said van Baalen.
The group plans to continue its resistance, she added. — dpa