When climate activists disrupted the Chancellor’s appearance on Friday, Olaf Scholz resorted to a historical comparison. What did he really mean?

Chancellor Olaf Scholz has reiterated his criticism of climate activists who disrupted his appearance at the Catholic Day in Stuttgart.

“I think that anyone who wants to blow up events, who wants to take the stage by force, shouldn’t complain when they’re criticized,” said the SPD politician at a press conference at the EU summit in Brussels.

During the Chancellor’s appearance at the Catholic Day in Stuttgart on Friday, an activist tried to storm the stage, but was prevented from doing so by security forces and led away. Another activist shouted “bullshit” when Scholz was talking about phasing out coal-fired power generation and the jobs that would be lost in opencast mining as a result.

Scholz commented on this with the words: “I’ll be honest, these black-clad productions at various events by the same people always remind me of a long time ago, and thank God.” Climate activists understood this as a comparison with the Nazi era.

In Brussels, Scholz did not answer the question of what time he meant in his comparison. “I find that people dressed in black who are at events behave in a way that is not right for democracy,” he said simply.

Clear criticism from Luise Neubauer

The activist Luisa Neubauer from Fridays for Future had accused Scholz of having relativized the Nazi regime with his statement “and in a paradoxical way the climate crisis at the same time”. “He stylizes climate protection as an ideology with parallels to the Nazi regime. In 2022. Jesus. It’s such a scandal,” she wrote on Twitter.

Fridays for Future has started an online petition asking Scholz to comment. The Chancellor should make it clear that he does not see the work for the Paris climate goals, “whether political or activist, as an ideology”.

The Greens member of the Bundestag Emilia Fester called on Scholz to correct his statements and criticized him for his comments. “Whatever you wanted to say: the associations that were awakened are both historically revisionist and demeaning for the young climate justice movement,” said Fester on Tuesday afternoon in the Bundestag.