‘Not going to back down’: Greta Thunberg faces new trial over Swedish protest

Disobeying a police order can carry a maximum sentence of up to six months in prison in Sweden.

Greta Thunberg has been charged with disobeying a police order, just months after she was convicted for the same offence.

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The Swedish climate activist was fined 2,500 Swedish krona (around €200) in July for not leaving a protest when ordered to by police.

She admitted during court proceedings that she had disobeyed a police order but pled not guilty, saying she was acting out of necessity.

Thunberg told reporters at the Malmö district court that it was “absurd that those who act in line with science should pay the price for it”.

When asked if she would be more cautious after the fine, she said that climate protesters were “definitely not going to back down”.

Just hours after the verdict, Thunberg and other activists from ‘Ta tillbaka framtiden’ or Reclaim the Future returned to Malmö harbour and blocked a road for oil trucks in protest of fossil fuel use.

The activists, including Thunberg, were again forcibly removed by authorities.

In a statement, prosecutors said this demonstration on 24 July “did not have a permit” and had disrupted traffic to the busy port. They add that the climate activists “refused to obey police orders to leave the site”.

“This is therefore a case of refusal to comply.”

The second trial is scheduled for 27 September and Thunberg could face a harsher sentence if convicted for a second time. In Sweden, failure to obey a police order can carry a maximum sentence of six months in prison.

Why did protesters block the harbour in Malmö?

Starting on 15 July, Reclaim the Future staged a multi-day protest blocking roads to the port of Malmö in the south of Sweden and preventing tankers from entering or leaving.

The group said that it was a “peaceful resistance to the fossil fuel industry that threatens the future of young people”.

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Around 20 members of Reclaim the Future – including Thunberg – returned to Malmö in July and were once again carried off by police.

“The climate crisis is already a matter of life and death for countless people,” Thunberg said in an Instagram post on the day she joined the first Malmö protest.

“We choose to not be bystanders, and instead physically stop the fossil fuel infrastructure. We are reclaiming the future.”

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