Greta Thunberg faces jail over charge of ‘disobeying police’ at climate protest as activist given court date

6 July 2023, 14:01

Greta Thunberg is to head to court at the end of July.
Greta Thunberg is to head to court at the end of July. Picture: Alamy

By Jenny Medlicott

Climate activist Greta Thunberg is to appear in court in July as she’s charged with “disobeying the police” at a protest in Sweden.

The 20-year-old environmental campaigner, known for spearheading a global youth movement on climate change action, was arrested in June after she refused to leave a protest in Malmö, Sweden.

Activists were blocking oil tankers in the city’s port on June 19 - but Ms Thunberg “refused to comply with police orders to leave the scene” during the protest, Swedish prosecutors said.

Ms Thunberg joined group Ta Tillbaka Framtiden (Reclaim the Future) for a six-day demonstration, made up of about 20 others.

The group said the demonstration was a “peaceful resistance” to the fossil fuel industry.

Reports claimed those at the protest climbed on top of oil tankers, as well as blockading them.

Ms Thunberg wrote on Instagram as she joined the protest: “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.”

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Ms Thunberg was forcefully removed after she refused to leave the road.
Ms Thunberg was forcefully removed after she refused to leave the road. Picture: Alamy

Ms Thunberg is to face trial on July 24, local newspaper Sydsvenskan said on Wednesday, alongside three other activists.

Her charge could result in a maximum six-month prison sentence or a fine, but prosecutor Charlotte Ottosen told the paper the latter is usually more typical for a charge of disobedience.

A police official also told the paper that some 30 trucks were blocked from driving through the port because of activists sitting on the road.

Of the 20 involved, four, including Ms Thunberg, refused to move from the road when ordered to, resulting in their forced removal.

Ms Thunberg’s team have not responded to a request for comment.

It comes amid a wider growing effort among activist groups across the world to demonstrate against climate change.

UK group Just Stop Oil have disrupted multiple high-profile events as part of their ongoing demonstrations, including on Wednesday when they interrupted a match at Wimbledon on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, the world experienced its hottest day ever on record, surpassing 17C for the first time.

Energy companies have faced calls to put a permanent end to new investments into oil, gas and coal projects.