— Voice of Europe 🌍 (@V_of_Europe) October 12, 2023
Is it really “non-violent” to throw yourself in front of moving cars?
It can certainly result in violence. People can accidentally run you over in this situation, very easily.
Human rights experts and campaigners have warned against an intensifying crackdown on climate protests across Europe, as Guardian research found countries across the continent using repressive measures to silence activists.
In Germany, France, Italy, Sweden, the Netherlands and the UK, authorities have responded to climate protests with mass arrests, the passing of draconian new laws, the imposing of severe sentences for non-violent protests and the labelling of activists as hooligans, saboteurs or eco-terrorists.
The crackdowns have come in spite of calls by senior human rights advocates and environmental campaigners to allow civic space for the right to non-violent protest, after a summer of record-breaking heat in southern Europe that is attributed to the effects of climate breakdown.
The UK has led the way in the crackdown, experts say, with judges recently refusing an appeal against multi-year sentences for climate activists who blocked a motorway bridge in east London. The three-year jail terms for Marcus Decker and Morgan Trowland earlier this year are thought to be the longest handed out by a British judge for non-violent protest.
The ruling came as protesters in the UK try to navigate a new legal environment that includes significant limits on the right to protest, including two wide-ranging new laws passed in the past two years giving police the discretion to ban protests regarded as “disruptive” and criminalising a host of protest tactics.
Michel Forst, the UN rapporteur on environmental defenders since June last year, described the situation in the UK as “terrifying”. He added that other countries were “looking at the UK examples with a view to passing similar laws in their own countries, which will have a devastating effect for Europe”.
“Since my appointment I have been travelling to many countries in Europe and there is a clear trend,” Forst told the Guardian. “We can see an increasing number of cases by which these climate activists are brought to court more and more often and more and more severe laws being passed to facilitate these attacks on defenders.”
No, no – they’re the ones attacking. The drivers are the ones on the defensive. They are the ones forced to stop.
He added: “I’m sure that there is European cooperation among the police forces against these kinds of activities. My concern is that when [governments] are calling these people eco-terrorists, or are using new forms of vilifications and defamation … it has a huge impact on how the population may perceive them and the cause for which these people are fighting. It is a huge concern for me.”
Climate cultist arrested in the Netherlands
Amnesty International said it was investigating a continent-wide crackdown on protest. Catrinel Motoc, the organisation’s senior campaigner on civil space and right to protest in Europe, said: “People all around the world are bravely raising their voices to call for urgent actions on the climate crisis but many face dire consequences for their peaceful activism.
“Peaceful protesters are left with no choice but to stage public protests and non-violent direct actions because European countries are not doing enough to tackle the climate crisis.
“There’s alarming evidence of criminalisation, harassment, stigmatisation and negative rhetoric towards environmental defenders.”
People have problems in their lives. No one actually cares about global warming. It’s not a legitimate concern. It’s something people can worry about when they don’t have real problems. It’s the fundamental boomer “boutique problem.”
Climate activist Matilda ‘Tilda’ Lane-Rose made headlines after a protest outside the house of an oil and gas CEO.
She’s now facing the threat of three years in prison.
— ABC News (@abcnews) October 9, 2023