Merkel
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Merkel made her remarks about the protests as part of an answer to a question in which she addressed hybrid warfare
Chancellor said demonstrations couldn't have happened without 'outside influence.'

Angela Merkel's spokesman said she supported climate action protests by schoolchildren after the German chancellor said the demonstrations could not have taken place without outside influence.

In remarks at the annual Munich Security Conference, Merkel mentioned the protests after talking about hybrid warfare from Russia. Hybrid warfare uses techniques including cyberwarfare and disinformation to destabilize an opponent.

"In Germany now, children are protesting for climate protection. That is a really important issue," she said. "But you can't imagine that all German children, after years, and without any outside influence, suddenly hit on the idea that they have to take part in this process."

For several months, students around the world have been taking to the streets to demand action on climate change, following the example of 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg who started the demonstrations last summer.

In Germany, 30,000 students organized into 155 local chapters demonstrated earlier this week, according to an organizer of protests in Berlin.

Merkel said Europe had "opponents" and the threat of a "hybrid warfare from Russia can be felt every day in every European country."


Merkel said that "this hybrid warfare in the internet is hard to detect, because you suddenly have movements that you wouldn't have thought would appear."

She then went on to comment on the student climate movement, but did not go into further details.

Her spokesman, Steffen Seibert, later said on Twitter that Merkel had used the example of the climate protests to show how campaigns can be mobilized on the internet.

"The pupils' commitment to climate policy is something she expressly approves of," he said.