Climate activists deface constitutional monument in Germany with black paint, posters

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Climate activists defaced a work of art near Germany’s Parliament Saturday in the latest act of vandalism by protestors concerned with environmental policy.

Members of The Last Generation threw black liquid over a series of glass plates displaying 19 articles of the German constitution. The protestors then affixed posters to the facade that read, “Oil or fundamental rights?” in German.

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Climate activists of the "Last Generation" attend a protest at the Jakob-Kaiser-Building in Berlin, Germany, Saturday, March 4, 2023. Climate activists on Saturday splashed a dark liquid over an artwork near the German parliament building engraved with key articles from the country's constitution, drawing condemnation from the speaker of parliament and other lawmakers.

Climate activists of the “Last Generation” attend a protest at the Jakob-Kaiser-Building in Berlin, Germany, Saturday, March 4, 2023. Climate activists on Saturday splashed a dark liquid over an artwork near the German parliament building engraved with key articles from the country’s constitution, drawing condemnation from the speaker of parliament and other lawmakers. (Sven Kaeuler/dpa via AP.)

The artwork, created by Israeli artist Dani Karavan, was on display outside the German Parliament and is meant to convey the importance of free speech and free assembly.

The group said in a statement that the German government was not protecting citizens’ “fundamental rights” due to the country’s continued use of fossil fuels. 

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Visitors stand inside the cupola of the German Bundestag (lower house of parliament) in Berlin.

Visitors stand inside the cupola of the German Bundestag (lower house of parliament) in Berlin. (AFP)

The vandalism drew strong criticism from German officials, who questioned the message being sent by the act.

“Those are the fundamental rights on which the demonstrators from Last Generation themselves base the justification for their actions,” Parliament Speaker Bärbel Bas said in a statement. “I can only hope that the glass plates of the artwork were not permanently damaged.”

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Climate change activists vandalizing a painting to bring awareness to climate change. 

Climate change activists vandalizing a painting to bring awareness to climate change.  (Letzte Generation)

The glass artwork was cleaned up by the afternoon.

The Last Generation is only one of multiple climate activism groups that have demanded media attention in the last few months by defacing public artwork.

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