Greta Thunberg stands with other climate activists

Greta Thunberg stands with other climate activists outside Westminster Magistrates Court in London on February 2, 2024.

(Photo: Vuk Valcic/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

'Climate Protesters Are Not the Criminals': Case Against Greta Thunberg Thrown Out

"The actual crime is committed by the very industries and companies we are acting against," said Thunberg, one of five activists charged after protesting a fossil fuel industry summit in London.

A British judge on Friday tossed a case against Swedish climate campaigner Greta Thunberg and four other activists accused of not complying with police orders under an anti-protest law while peacefully demonstrating last year at a fossil fuel industry summit in the U.K. capital.

Thunberg along with Peter Barker and Jeff Rice of Greenpeace, and Fossil Free London's Christofer Kebbon and Joshua James Unwin were among over two dozen arrested at a protest against the Energy Intelligence Forum in October. The five were charged with "failing to comply with a condition imposed under Section 14 of the Public Order Act" and faced a two-day trial at the Westminster Magistrates' Court this week.

"Judge John Laws threw out a public order charge due to 'no evidence,'" the BBCreported. "The judge said that the conditions imposed on protesters were 'so unclear that it is unlawful.' He added that it meant that 'anyone failing to comply were actually committing no offense.'"

Welcoming the development, Greenpeace U.K. declared on social media, "This is a VICTORY for the right to protest!"

"It is ridiculous that more and more climate activists are finding themselves in court for peacefully exercising their right to protest, while fossil fuel giants like Shell are allowed to reap billions in profits from selling climate-wrecking fossil fuels," the group said.

"Thankfully the judge has today recognized that brave activists should not be in court," Greenpeace continued. "But let's be clear: It's the fossil fuel CEOs who should be in the dock moving forwards!"

Fossil Free London also celebrated the win, saying: "This is a rare glimmer of justice, in a rising sea of repression. Climate protest is not a crime but it is still treated as such. We resist!"

Ahead of the decision, Thunberg—who at age 15 began solitary school strikes for the climate that grew into the global Fridays for Future movement—noted on social media that she wouldn't be striking this Friday due to the trial. However, the 21-year-old still took aim at fossil fuel companies that she and the other activists were protesting last fall.

"These companies are destabilizing the biosphere and climate, the life-supporting systems we all depend on to survive," she said. "They have displaced and destroyed countless people's lives and livelihoods. We don't have the laws to keep the carbon in the ground and ensure safe lives for present and future generations."

Thunberg stressed that "even though we are the ones standing here, and climate-, environmental- and human rights activists all over the world are being targeted for their activism, prosecuted, sometimes convicted and given legal penalties for acting in line with science, we must remember who the real enemy is."

"The actual crime is committed by the very industries and companies we are acting against," she added. "We have the truth on our side, and we have morality on our side. In time, this will be revealed."

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