UK: Greta Thunberg trial highlights 'alarming crackdown' on climate protesters

Greta Thunberg rose to prominence after she organised a series of school strikes in Sweden about the climate crisis under the banner of Fridays for Future. © Third party

‘Greta Thunberg should be applauded for her peaceful climate protests, not put in the dock’ - Sacha Deshmukh

The trial of climate activist Greta Thunberg in London today is part of an alarming crackdown on climate protesters in the UK, said Amnesty International. 
  
Thunberg has been charged along with four other protesters with an alleged public order offence at a climate crisis protest outside an oil and gas industry conference in London on 17 October. 

The activists were charged with “failing to comply with a condition imposed under section 14 of the Public Order Act” to move from the road to the pavement. 

Police powers to impose conditions under Section 14 have been significantly broadened under recent anti-protest legislation to the point where they can now be used in relation to almost any protest. 

Sacha Deshmukh, Amnesty International UK’s Chief Executive, said:

“Greta Thunberg should be applauded for her peaceful climate protests, not put in the dock. 
  
“The charges against Thunberg and all the activists highlight everything that’s wrong with the policing of protests in the UK today. Police are increasingly using their expanded powers to silence legitimate protests. 
  
“Thunberg is one of scores of activists to be caught up in the UK’s alarming crackdown on climate protesters. Our rights to peaceful protest and freedom of expression are under sustained attack, with the authorities trying to muzzle non-violent protests.  
  
“From the anti-slavery movement to the Suffragettes, the UK has a long and proud tradition of protest which this Government must protect. 
  
“The draconian anti-protest powers in the Police Crime Sentencing and Courts Act and the Public Order Act should be scrapped, and our basic right to peacefully protest fully restored.”

Climate activists under attack 

Last week, the UN Special Rapporteur on environmental defenders’, Michel Forst, published a scathing review documenting attacks that environmental activists in the UK have faced. 

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