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Greenpeace calls for end to Berlin climate hunger strike

Published September 18,2021
Hunger striking climate activists are seen in a protest tent camp near the German parliament in Berlin. (Odd ANDERSEN/AFP)

Environmental organization Greenpeace has appealed to climate activists staging a hunger strike at the Reichstag in Berlin to immediately end their protest.

"We share the protesters' concern for their future," Greenpeace chairman Martin Kaiser wrote in a statement on Friday, "but we appeal to them, out of concern for their health and well-being, not to put that future and their young lives at risk."

The climate protestors began what they call "an indefinite hunger strike" on August 30. Their goal is a public discussion with the three candidates for chancellor in the forthcoming German elections, as well as the establishment of a "citizens' council" to agree immediate measures against climate change.

The three chancellor candidates - from the CDU/CSU, SPD and Greens - have already appealed to the activists to end the strike and not to put their lives at risk.

An offer by the candidates - Armin Laschet from the centre-right Christian Democrats (CDU), the centre-left Social Democrat (SPD) Olaf Scholz and the Greens' Annalena Baerbock - to talk to the activists after the election was rejected by the strikers, who have insisted the discussions must take place during the campaign.

"I have come to an understanding with Annalena Baerbock and Armin Laschet - we are ready to talk to the hunger strikers individually after the federal election," said Scholz on Friday at a panel discussion in Potsdam.

He called on the activists to end the hunger strike, which he said "can have very dire consequences for life and that should definitely be avoided."

The Greenpeace chairman's statement calls on the hunger strikers to stop endangering their lives and to save their energy for the global climate strike on September 24. He points out that "at least in one case" there had already been talks with politicians and that a Citizens' Climate Council also already existed.

"We therefore hope that the young people will not continue to put their lives at risk," Kaiser wrote. "We encourage them to recover and strengthen themselves to use their strength and determination in the coming weeks and months to bring about a climate change in Germany."