Berlin urges hunger strikers not to put own lives at risk

The German government has appealed to a group of climate change activists to end their hunger strike in Berlin, and  not to endanger their health.

“That’s when you start to worry,” government spokesman Steffen Seibert said in Berlin on Wednesday. “In the political debate on climate protection – which is the most important one we have – every suggestion is welcome, every approach. But please, without endangering yourself.”

Seibert wished a speedy recovery to a 27-year-old hunger-striker who was taken to a Berlin hospital on Tuesday after refusing food for more than two weeks.

The protest organizers say he had fainted and was unresponsive for some time. After his release from the hospital, he told a press conference on Wednesday afternoon that he would continue the hunger strike.

The activists rejected an offer by the three candidates for chancellor – Armin Laschet from the centre-right Christian Democrats (CDU), the centre-left Social Democrat (SPD) Olaf Scholz and the Greens’ Annalena Baerbock – to hold individual talks after the election.

Protest spokesperson Hannah Luebbert said that an honest public exchange about the climate crisis during the election campaign was vital. The three candidates had been invited for talks on September 23 at 7 pm (1700 GMT), she said, and the hunger strike would continue until all three accepted.

The second demand of the participants is the establishment of a “citizens’ council” to decide on immediate measures to tackle  climate change.

The hunger strikers have set up a camp near the Reichstag building in central Berlin where the lower house of parliament is located. Of the original seven people refusing food, one young woman gave up last week for health reasons.

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