Paramedics struggle to reach injured cyclist after climate activists glue themselves to nearby road

Federal interior minister has demanded tougher crackdown on criminal offences committed during climate protests

Berliners were shocked but not surprised to hear on Monday that a 44-year-old Berlin cyclists had been knocked down and seriously injured by a concrete mixer. Four days later the reality of life as a Berlin cyclist hit home when the woman was declared brain dead. The public fury is directed less at the driver of the truck and more at radical climate activists.

The cyclist was knocked down in Berlin’s western city centre shortly after a group of activists glued themselves to a road nearby as part of their campaign for radical action against climate change. Unlike other protests in recent months, which also caused major traffic jams, this time saw paramedics struggling to reach the cyclist, administer emergency treatment and transport her to hospital.

As news of the incident began to spread on Monday, a Berlin climate activist told fellow campaigners on Twitter: “This is a climate battle, not a climate cuddle & sh*t happens.” He subsequently deleted the tweet and apologised.

Now two activists from the Last Generation group involved in Monday’s protest, aged 59 and 63, face criminal charges for failing to provide assistance or for hindering assistance from others.


Berlin police say they are investigating whether there is a causal connection between the nearby protest and the paramedics’ delay in reaching the crash site. Last Generation has admitted it cannot rule out that the rescue vehicle delay “is due to a traffic jam caused by us”.

“So there are no misunderstandings it is terrible that the cyclist had a traffic accident, we are shocked and saddened,” the group said in a statement, before warning supporters that the situation had been “sensationalised against us”.

Spokeswoman Carla Hinrichs told broadcaster WDR the “crisis for people today in the global south, and tomorrow with us here in Germany, is so severe that we have to resist, the injustice is that great”.

Echoing other politicians, federal interior minister Nancy Faeser has demanded a tougher crackdown on criminal offences committed during climate protests. “None of this has anything to do with a democratic debate. When crimes are committed and other people are endangered, the limit of legitimate protest has been crossed.”

Similar to other countries, radical climate activists have stepped up their visible protests in Germany in recent months. Last weekend two protesters threw mashed potatoes at a Monet painting in a Potsdam museum. On Thursday a dozen protection activists glued themselves to a street in central Munich.

Derek Scally

Derek Scally

Derek Scally is an Irish Times journalist based in Berlin