heute journal vom 23.04.2023 Kritik an Klima-Protesten, Kampf um Bachmut, Krieg im Sudan (english)

And now, the "heute journal"
with Heinz Wolf and Marietta Slomka. Good evening. Operations to evacuate Germans
and other foreign nationals from Sudan have been underway since this afternoon. The first Bundeswehr plane
landed there around 4 PM. According to the crisis unit
at the German Foreign Office, German and French officials
are working closely together in this risky mission to get people
to an airfield outside the city. The Bundeswehr
sent soldiers to Khartoum, including elite units
from the Rapid Forces Division and the Special Forces Command,
who specialise in extracting civilians from these sorts of situations. Andreas Kynast reports. Leaving is fraught with risk, but it's even more risky to stay behind
in the eerily quiet Khartoum, a city that has suddenly become
the most dangerous capital in the world. Europeans fleeing
have been instructed by their embassies to weigh up the risks,
to choose a different route if necessary, to travel light
and take no pets with them.

The 300 or so German nationals still in Sudan
received word from the embassy this morning to proceed to a designated collection point. Germany and France are coordinating
their evacuations closely. Because there is still fighting
at the main airport despite the ceasefire, the convoy is heading
for an airfield in the surrounding area. Its name and location remain secret. For days now, dozens of states
have been waiting for a ceasefire that is stable enough
to attempt an evacuation. The Dutch military has even set
these preparation videos to music. We're in the starting blocks,
waiting for an opening that will allow us
to carry out our operations amid the dangerous situation in Sudan.

Germany is staging
its evacuation mission from Jordan. Two A400Ms from the Al Azraq air base there landed near Khartoum this afternoon. The aim is to fly out
as many German nationals as possible. Paratroopers and Special Forces troops
are involved in the operation. Western governments are working on
the basis that the ceasefire will not hold, meaning that evacuees not already
in Khartoum today will not make it to the planes. The only way out for these evacuees is over land.

Hundreds are already on the road. Europe's defence ministries
are urgently dispatching ships to Port Sudan. Left behind
to fend for themselves in Khartoum are 2.6 million Sudanese,
for whom there are no evacuation plans. The best we can do to protect
British citizens and everyone in Sudan is to urge the generals involved
to bring this conflict to an end. And that will remain the priority
of our diplomatic focus in the region. The crisis committee in Berlin
is still holding its breath. No official comment has been made. Parliament has yet to discuss the mandate
for the operation and make a decision on it.

Time is of the essence. Understandably, there has so far been
virtually no footage of this evacuation operation. Theo Koll, is there any word
from Berlin on the situation so far? Let's start with the good news. The first German evacuation flight
apparently left Sudan this evening. That was confirmed to dpa here in Berlin. The A400M military aircraft used
generally have room for 114 passengers, or up to 200 in emergencies. In total, just over 300 German nationals
are to be airlifted out, that's embassy staff,
aid workers and business people. The second Airbus is also on site. Many foreign nationals in Sudan
obviously didn't want to wait for the air evacuation
and are trying to flee Sudan over land. Yesterday, many Saudi citizens
succeeded in doing just that. They made it onto a naval vessel
in Port Sudan, 800 kilometres from the capital. Germany had to abort an initial
evacuation attempt on Wednesday, right? Yes, there were assurances
of safe passage, or rather, a ceasefire
for the first attempt.

But because the fighting continued,
Germany's operation was halted on Wednesday. The current view here in Berlin
is that the latest ceasefire will hopefully hold until
noon or evening tomorrow. That would be the end
of the three-day post-Ramadan holiday. Overall, however, the situation
is considered very dangerous. And the rhetoric on both sides
points to renewed fighting. In any case, the Bundeswehr is preparing
for more "robust" evacuation efforts, potentially involving rescue
by force of arms, if necessary. Numerous troops have been deployed to Jordan. A total of about 1,000 soldiers
are reportedly involved, including paratroopers
and Special Forces, as we just heard. But Berlin seems to have been
taken by surprise by the escalation in Sudan. Yes, but then again,
so too were many other governments.

The view here in Berlin
is that the situation developed suddenly after the integration of the powerful RSF militia
into the regular armed forces failed. By the way, Bundeswehr missions
like the one currently underway actually require a Bundestag mandate. Due to the urgency of the situation,
this mandate must now be issued retrospectively. So, it will have to go through cabinet
and then the parliament as quickly as possible. Theo, thank you for this information.
-My pleasure. It's been one of Germany's
most difficult pay disputes in a long time. The federal and municipal governments
argued with the unions Verdi and DBB for months until arbitration
became necessary. The success of this arbitration is,
for now, cause for relief. However, public sector employers
are complaining at the cost of this compromise. This is helping the unions
to frame the result as a success. The conflict was motivated in part by the unions' need for
a solid, hard-fought win to boost their image and address
dramatic declines in membership numbers. That doesn't mean that all their members
are now happy with the settlement.

This is quite clear in Katrin Lindner's report. Nurse Roberta Marchel Toth in Hamburg, on her way home from her early shift. For her, next year's pay increase
is too little, too late. It's disappointing and frustrating. I work in nursing. We worked throughout the pandemic
as an essential service. So, I really expected more. She and the teacher Katharina Doll organised labour strikes in recent months. Katharina, too, had hoped for more.

We fought for more than that.
We wanted 500 euros, and a 10.5% increase over twelve months. But instead, our wages
have effectively been frozen for 12 months. The negotiators announced
their result at midnight. A one-off inflation compensation
of 3,000 euros, a 200 euro monthly pay rise
starting in March 2024, then an increase of 5.5%,
or a minimum of 340 euros more, which is to be paid out
over a period of 24 months. The unions had wanted
a bigger increase for lower-paid workers rather than a one-off inflation compensation. But now, they're emphasising: This is the biggest public-sector
pay rise in post-war history. And, despite the complexities, which are not always easy to understand, this is undoubtedly a sustainable
improvement in people's incomes. We have reached
a good and fair collective agreement for more 2.5 million
federal and local government employees. Here in Göttingen,
they have to drive on a very tight timetable because of staff shortages
and very high sickness absences. The wanted a pay rise backdated
to January 1 of this year.

One-off payments
don't increase pension points and are not reflected in sick pay. For many colleagues,
that one-off amount won't go far at all. It's a discretionary payment
over and above the base pay, so, I don't thing it's legitimate
to include it in a collective wage round. This is Eichwalde near Berlin. How are the 6,000-resident municipality's
finances looking for the year now? The municipal treasurer
is checking the budgets. As well as higher personnel costs,
the council is expended to fund a constantly growing range of services. If it's not digitalisation, it's refuges, or more childcare facilities
and primary schools.

And so, I really would like
more support here from federal and state government. The Verdi union's membership
is due to vote on the agreement by May 12. The Last Generation protest group
has announced that it will bring Berlin
to a standstill tomorrow. It'll be interesting to see whether
Berliners motorists will notice any difference from the city's usual gridlock. The announcement alone
has already created considerable ill-feeling. That's arguably
a defining feature of this group: they're there to disrupt,
not to win over hearts and minds.

They don't block things like spent fuel transports
as the anti-nuclear movement of years past did. Instead, they disrupt everyday life,
especially the routines of car drivers, and succeed in striking a nerve. Whether this helps the cause
is a matter of debate in the climate movement. More on that in a moment. But first,
this from Henriette de Maizière in Berlin. Is this the calm before the storm? The Last Generation, as they call themselves,
want to paralyze the capital starting tomorrow. Blocked streets, provocation,
civil disobedience: All in the hope of raising
awareness and forcing politicians to act. Partly what motivates me is despair
at the dereliction of responsibility shown by those in positions
of political responsibility. They're leaving us
to deal with the climate crisis on our own, and pushing us further towards the abyss. Today, a solidarity rally at the Brandenburg Gate
for a fractious movement. The fact that it's so polarizing makes an incredible number
of conversations possible. with people with whom
I would never normally discuss climate policy. If you look at it in perspective,
a blocked street pales into insignificance compared to the effects of climate change.

Yesterday, the activists attacked luxury stores in Berlin's affluent west with paint out of a conviction that rich people account for a disproportionately high share
of CO2 emissions. The protests, the issue of climate protection
and its consequences are apparently no longer
winning hearts and minds. According to the ZDF "Politbarometer",
a sizeable 82% majority of Germans are against illegal actions
such as blocking highways. Every second person fears
heavy or very heavy personal financial impacts from climate protection measures. The Greens seem to have gone on the defensive
on the issue of climate protection, explicitly distancing themselves
from radical climate protest in an interview with "Berlin direkt".

I don't think it's productive if,
at the end of a protest, the nature of the protest gets more attention
than the issue at hand. Our realisation that the climate crisis
is real shouldn't depend on whether or not we like some protest or other. We need to do more. Yes, more. The Last Generation had hoped for more from the Green Party members
in the traffic light coalition, only to be disillusioned.

This is a pattern that
we've seen elsewhere too. If people have big expectations
of their government that go unmet, that's a major threat
for the political parties concerned and may even result
in the emergence of new parties. The announced protests by
The Last Generation, and a threat
of gridlock in the capital. It's a lightning rod. Just how far should protest go? We are joined now by Felix Anderl,
professor of conflict research at Marburg University, specialising
in social and protest movements.

Leave a Reply