Protests against climate crisis; Pro-democracy activists attacked near Iranian Embassy; Journalists face harassment during protests
Climate activists throw mashed potatoes at Monet painting in Barberini Museum
On 23rd October 2022 two climate activists from the group “Last Generation” threw mashed potatoes on a painting by Claude Monet and glued themselves to the wall in the Barberini Museum, in Potsdam. The action was devised to catch the attention of the public on the imminent climate catastrophe and the consequences it has on “people who are starving, freezing and dying”.
The painting was protected by glass and was not damaged by the activists, as reported by the museum's spokesperson. Police reportedly intervened quickly and unglued the protesters from the wall.
Pro-democracy activists attacked near Iranian Embassy in Berlin
A group of supporters of democracy in Iran were attacked by men with covered faces during a vigil outside the Iranian Embassy in Berlin on 30th October 2022. Four activists were sitting inside a caravan covered with banners reading “Iranians want democracy” and “Women Life Freedom” in the early afternoon, when unknown attackers started tearing the banners down and tried to open the door of the caravan. Scuffles followed during which one of the activists was hit in the back with a stick, another was cut in the foot when he tried to defend himself and another man was threatened with a gun while he was taking note of the licence plate of the car used by the aggressors. Two of the activists were taken to hospital following the incident.
Woman kept in custody for being the ideological brain of far-right terror plot unveiled in April
A former teacher from East Saxony is accused of being the ideological leader of the terror plot devised by right-wing extremists and unveiled in April 2022. For this reason, the 75-year-old woman is in custody since her arrest on 13th October 2022, as established by the German federal court of justice. Four other men linked with the facts had been arrested in April.
The extremist group which she is suspected of being part of has ties with the Reichsbürger movement, as well as the anti-vaccine and coronavirus denier movements, according to investigators, and was planning to kidnap Germany’s health minister, Karl Lauterbach, even if this meant that some of his security guards would have been killed. The group intended also to attack power stations and cause blackouts in the country. Authorities are still figuring out how close the group was to realising their plot.
Journalists targeted while covering protests
Several cases of attacks on journalists while they were covering protests and demonstrations were reported in October and November 2022. Many of these incidents took place during right-wing rallies. More specifically, on 17th October 2022 reporters were verbally attacked during two AfD demonstrations in Cottbus and on 12th November in Erfurt. On 24th November, a cameraman was pushed away from one of the organisers during a right-wing Compact demonstration in Leipzig. On 12th November 2022, a journalist was harassed and prevented from covering the party chairman Matthias Fischer’s speech during a far-right demonstration in Wunsiedel.
Several demonstrations in reaction to the current cost-of-living crisis were organised across the country, known as the so-called “Monday night protests” and several episodes of abuse against journalists took place in this context. For instance, on 31st October 2022 a police officer pushed away the camera and the journalist who was carrying it while reporting on the demonstration organised by the Querdenken group in Weimar. Moreover, a journalist was physically attacked at a similar demonstration organised in Aachen and another reporter was spat on in Weimar. Similar episodes took place in Waren and in Offemburg, where journalist Armilla Brant was insulted, called Antifa multiple times and physically attacked.