Climate activists on Saturday staged an attack on a Berlin artwork proclaiming basic human rights that were adopted as Germany emerged from the shadow of Nazism.
Protesters threw a dark-colored liquid on a work by Israeli artist Dani Karavan, titled “Grundgesetz 49.” The title of the work refers to the nation’s constitution drafted after World War II, as well as the year it was created.
The artwork, which consists of text on glass, emphasizes rights that include freedom of expression and assembly, according to the Times of Israel.
The group “Last Generation” said its supporters “soaked in ‘oil’” the outdoor artwork as part of its protest against fossil fuels.
Climate activists soak Israeli artist’s work in ‘oil’ at German parliament https://t.co/oLpEVrkIlJ
— The Times of Israel (@TimesofIsrael) March 5, 2023
Posters reading “Oil or fundamental rights?” were put over the 19 articles from the constitution that are part of the artwork.
The group alleged that “the German government is not protecting our fundamental rights,” claiming burning oil violates those rights.
The work was cleaned by the end of the day on Saturday.
Parliament Speaker Bärbel Bas said she was appalled by the protest and could not understand why it was done. She noted the work reminds Germans to respect and protect the rights of all citizens.
“Those are the fundamental rights on which the demonstrators from Last Generation themselves base the justification for their actions,” Bas said in a statement.
“I can only hope that the glass plates of the artwork were not permanently damaged,” Bas said.
Justice Minister Marco Buschmann said whatever message was intended, “it can only be wrong!”
“The Basic Law stands for freedom, democracy and the rule of law,” Buschmann said, according to The Local.
Last Generation has targeted artworks before in its protests and thrown food at well-known paintings.
In a 2019 interview, Karavan, who died in 2021, talked with Cultured about the process of creating historical artworks.
He said after his research, “I take from it the most convincing and encouraging message to bring hope to my project.”
“I try to avoid political messages as much as possible so that my work is not related to nationalistic ideas. My project is about men and mankind first. I always carry a message of peace, mutual understanding and freedom through the story of those I pay tribute to, so that they will be remembered in the future,” he said.
“Nowadays there is less and less respect between people. Less and less people care for others’ lives,” he said.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.