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Greta Thunberg Found Guilty of Criminal Activity for Malmö Harbour Anti-Oil Protest

CRISIS - Atmospheric CO2 Levels by Martina Igini Europe Jul 25th 20233 mins
Greta Thunberg Found Guilty of Criminal Activity for Malmö Harbour Anti-Oil Protest

The 20-year-old climate activist has been fined $240 in connection to an anti-oil protest in Malmö last month.

Climate activist Greta Thunberg has been sentenced by a Swedish court to pay fines totalling 2,500 kronor (US$240) after she was found guilty of disobeying police orders to leave an anti-oil protest in Malmö last month.

Thunberg had joined a group of around 20 protesters from the Swedish group Reclaim the Future at the city’s oil terminal, climbing on tankers and blocking the entrance to the port to prevent trucks from entering or leaving the harbour.

“The climate crisis is already a matter of life and death for countless people. We choose to not be bystanders, and instead physically stop the fossil fuel infrastructure. We are reclaiming the future,” Thunberg said in an Instagram post on the day she joined the Malmö protest.

After failing to comply with police orders to leave the site, Thunberg – who in 2018 became the face of the global youth climate movement Fridays for Future – and three fellow activists were taken away and charged with disobeying police orders. 

Within the past five years, Thunberg and her army have made their voices heard, helped shape public opinion and challenged world leaders to take immediate action in climate change mitigation. Despite losing momentum during the Covid19 pandemic, Thunberg kept joining international talks and traveling around the world to speak with world leaders. Last year, she called out COP27 for allowing representatives of oil, gas, and, coal industries to join the summit that brings together almost every country on Earth to discuss ways to halt global warming. 

“The real crime is inside the gates we blocked,” said the group’s spokesperson, Irma Kjellström, who had also been charged in connection to last month’s protest. “We will continue our opposition to this type of activity. We are not going to wait and contribute to the fossil fuel industry continuing to take our dreams away from us.”

Monday’s court decision is Thunberg’s first conviction linked to a climate protest. The prosecution argued that the right to demonstrate does not include the right to cause a disturbance to others. 

“We know we can’t save the world by following the rules, because the rules have to change,” Thunberg said following the verdict.

Speaking to the BBC, the activist said she was not surprised and was aware that her actions could lead to consequences, adding that it was “absurd” that those aligned with science have to pay the price for it. “We know that our laws right are not designed to protect people long term but rather it seems more like to protect economic interests and destructive industries and companies,” she commented.

“Today, Take Back the Future had its first trial. Media from around the world were on site in Malmö because Greta Thunberg was the accused,” the group behind the protest said yesterday in a Twitter post. “What if they could put the same resources into exposing the fossil fuel companies’ and those in power’s betrayal of young people around the world?”

According to the group, just hours after Thunberg’s sentence announcement, she and 15 other young activists returned to the oil port for a new blockade. “The resistance continues despite fines,” said the group.

Climate protests and public disruption acts have been on the rise in recent years among climate activists. In January, Extinction Rebellion, a notorious climate protest group known for civil disobedience actions such as occupying roads and bridges in central London and blocking oil refineries, announced that it would “temporarily” move away from disruptive tactics and instead “prioritise attendance over arrest and over roadblocks.” In May, German police cracked down on ‘Last Generation’ activists following repeated roadblocks and other disruptions aimed at raising awareness about global warming.

You might also like: Environmental Group Extinction Rebellion UK Quits Public Disruption Tactics

About the Author

Martina Igini

Martina is the Managing Editor at Earth.Org. She holds two BA degrees, in Translation/Interpreting Studies and Journalism, and a MA in International Development from the University of Vienna. After working at the United Nations Global Communication Department in Vienna, she joined a newspaper in Italy as a reporter before moving to Hong Kong in 2020. Her interests include sustainability and the role of public policy in environmental protection with a focus on developing countries.

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