Controversial coal mining project: fff protests against siemens

Activists from Fridays for Future Berlin spontaneously gathered in front of Siemens in Moabit on Monday evening. They want to stop the Adani project.

"How dare you?", Greta Thunberg would probably also ask Siemens Photo: taz

Actually, the activists of Fridays for Future (FFF) Berlin wanted to take a break from the strike. But then Siemens intervened, or more precisely, CEO Joe Kaeser. He announced on Sunday evening that the company was sticking to the controversial Adani coal mining project in Australia. So everything remains the same as far as Siemens is concerned, although Kaeser had met with FFF activist Luisa Neubauer as recently as Friday, chatted about the climate and offered her a job on the supervisory board of the future company Siemens Energy (which she turned down).

Reason enough for Berlin activists to spontaneously demonstrate in front of the Siemens gas turbine plant in Moabit on Monday evening and interrupt their strike break. "Coal companies are destroying our environment," the estimated 150 participants loudly intoned, "just for a chunk of money."

Siemens is to supply the signaling technology for Adani’s rail lines so that coal from the Australian mine can first be transported by train to the port 189 kilometers away, then shipped across the ocean to India. For Siemens, this involves an order volume of 18 million euros, but above all Australia and India as possible future markets.

Coal is a climate killer, the FFF activists criticized. With chants, banners and a huge "How dare you?" poster under the Siemens logo in Huttenstrabe, they drew attention to themselves. An activist at the megaphone delivered a speech on the "double standards of Siemens": The corporation wants to achieve climate neutrality, she said, but at the same time is promoting a project that will continue to emit billions of tons of CO2 for decades.

"We demand that this technology not be delivered," said Pia Haase, 19, a spokeswoman for Berlin’s FFF movement. "Profit should not be about our future. We can’t accept that." Above all, the evening was about venting frustration and anger. The activists had no choice but to demonstrate spontaneously, Haase stressed – even if the movement was ignored by Siemens, as it has been by politicians so far.

Heads peeked out of the multi-story office building from time to time.

Heads peeked out of the multi-story office building. Then windows closed, lights went out. "Better make a song about Kaeser, he deserves it more," someone shouted as the Fridays for Future chorus against lignite grew loud.

A human chain formed on the sidewalk. Demo participants surrounded the entrance area. "In Australia, an area as big as the Netherlands is burning," 13-year-old Luis von Randow said over loudspeakers. "It’s like Australia doesn’t exist for Siemens."

To him, it’s inconceivable that Siemens is promoting the coal project despite the ongoing fires in Australia. "Siemens is putting money above climate justice. I think that’s a pretty shitty move," he summed up. The crowd joined in with boos. Almost all the lights are now off in the Siemens office building.

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