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Germany: ‘Extinction Rebellion’ to Start New ‘Rebellion Wave’

After keeping a low profile for months, the radical left-wing group Extinction Rebellion is about to become active again. With its ‘Critical Mass’ activities, it intends to disrupt traffic in 42 cities all over Germany.

On Sunday, Extinction Rebellion’s (XR) followers received a list of activities the group is planning, all of which are part of what XR calls “the next Rebellion Wave”. Those include a registered protest in front of the Berlin Ministry of Economy on June 15th, 2020, and a “bike rally and Critical Mass with the Rebel Riders” on June 17th.

‘Staying Alive’

On the 20th and 21st of June, XR intends to stage even more protests, including a boat rally on the Spree river and a “dancing parade with Civil DiscObedience” at Hermannplatz square the title for which was borrowed from the Bee Gees. It is ‘Staying Alive’.

Extinction Rebellion was founded in the United Kingdom two years ago. Once millions of school kids had gained a lot of attention in Germany with their large ‘Fridays for Future’ protests against climate change, the free riders of XR jumped in, but with a far more combative approach. Last year, XR’s ‘Rebellion Waves’ shut down part of Berlin for days by blocking important intersections and bridges.

Fighting ‘the System’

The group’s concept is smart. On the one hand it is known for an aggressive approach. At the same time non-violence is one of their ground rules. It makes them less attackable. And disobedience is an important aspect. For instance, members would chain themselves to bridges or lamp posts on intersections and stay there until police officers free them using welders and carry them away.

In 2019, Berlin police officers are removing XR protesters from a guardrail they had chained themselves to. Photo: Imanuel Marcus

Getting media attention and disrupting city traffic is the main part of what XR does. It’s actors stage themselves as revolutionaries, mixtures of Che Guevara, Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Theresa. Of course they have no choice but to fight “the system”. So they sacrifice themselves for something they are selling as a noble approach.

‘Extremist Ideology’

Apart from “swarming out” to their protests, they set up panels of “experts” who are supposed to decide about the climate policies the state they are in should take. The fact that there are things called governments and parliaments in the democratic states they try to disrupt is largely being ignored.

The British police sees Extinction Rebellion as an “extremist ideology”, as The Guardian recently reported. The publication says XR had been put on a list of groups that should be reported to the ‘Prevent’ program. The latter “aims to catch those at risk of committing atrocities.”

Daily Activities

In the U.K.’s south-east, the counter-terrorism police authority believed young people needed to be safeguarded from the extremist group, The Guardian writes. In its article on the matter, it says XR was “featured alongside threats to national security such as neo-Nazi terrorism and a pro-terrorist Islamist group.”

In Germany, the group just announced “daily big and small activities” that are part of the new “Rebellion Wave”. A “Digital Climate Festival” will take place from June 12th to 14th, according to their latest newsletter. Additional action in Berlin will be announced on their channel on the communication app Telegram.

All Major Cities

On their nationwide channel in Germany, the radical group listed 42 German cities, from Aachen to Wiesbaden, in which they are planning “activities” from June 12 to June 21st, 2020. The list pretty much includes all major cities in the country.

Extinction Rebellion is offering “disobedience training”, “action training” and “onboard events” again. In Berlin, the first training event of the season took place yesterday. It was about the “history and pros and cons of Lock-On & Glue-On” activities. It can serve as a preview of what the German capital will have to expect starting on Friday of this week.

Patient Police

Last year, the Berlin Police Department was patient for a while. When XR refused to vacate the intersection at Potsdamer Platz after their registered protest was officially over, they gave them a few more hours. At the Victory Column, they even let them stay the night. But the Berlin police became active when the traffic disruptions caused by XR just would not end. Most Berliners were annoyed, but many residents in this city of protests with a large far-left community supported them and took part in those “Rebellion Waves”.

These times are difficult for the police too. Protests staged by conspiracy theorists, Nazis and other extremists are a regular challenge. The same applies to rallies with good causes like the one against racism and police brutality last Saturday. The problem was that nobody there followed the distance rules. Now the Berlin Police will be confronted with the activities of extremist XR “rebels” yet again.

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