Germany has recorded 580 criminal offenses committed by the climate activist group Last Generation, or Letzte Generation, German weekly Bild am Sonntag reported.
The group has been raising climate awareness by using controversial protest methods in Germany, including gluing themselves to streets.
Since the beginning of 2022, "740 people have come to the attention of the police" said Interior Minister Nancy Faeser to the newspaper.
Activism at crossroads with law
Most of the offenses the group's members have been accused of relate to coercion and damage to property.
Defending the police intervention, Faeser made it clear that activists were not above the law and cannot "violate the rights of others."
Last Generation members counter that their rights are violated by companies, officials and individuals who take inadequate steps to protect the environment and increase the likelihood of catastrophic future effects of climate change.
Referring to the protest methods used by the group, she said "It does not help climate protection at all."
On the contrary, she said the activists are doing "massive damage" to being accepted or raising awareness.
A checkered history
The Last Generation has made headlines with street blockades where activists glued their hands to the road and threw soup on famous artwork. The artworks were protected by plastic or glass and were not damaged.
A member of the group was issued a €400 ($430) fine last Thursday for damage to property after a protest at the Audimax of Hamburg University.
The German police, in May, conducted multiple raids in different places linked to the Last Generation as they were suspected of helping finance a criminal enterprise.
The group is demanding that the German government act faster and formulate a plan to meet an international goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial times.
ns/sms (AFP, DPA)