Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Swiss Judge Clears Climate Crisis Protestors, Says Actions Were ‘Necessary and Proportional’

Popular
Swiss Judge Clears Climate Crisis Protestors, Says Actions Were ‘Necessary and Proportional’
Climate protestors received a non guilty verdict from the District Court of Lausanne. stevegeer / iStock / Getty Images

A Swiss court on Monday cleared a dozen activists of wrongdoing and a hefty fine for a stunt they pulled in a Credit Suisse bank in November 2018.

The protestors had occupied the bank and played tennis to demand an end to fossil fuel funding and to ask tennis star, Roger Federer, to end his endorsement deal with the bank, as the AP reported.


The case went to court because the defendants refused to pay fines for protesting without a permit and resisting police. The protestors were charged with trespassing and ordered to pay 21,600 Swiss francs ($22,200). However, the judge in the appeal said the protestors had acted proportionately and waived the fine, as Reuters reported.

The judge, Philippe Colelough, said the protestors who wore completely white tennis outfits and wigs were justified because of the imminent threat posed by the climate crisis, according to Deutsche Welle.

"Because of the insufficient measures taken to date in Switzerland, whether they be economic or political, the average warming will not diminish nor even stabilize, it will increase," he said, noting Switzerland's melting glaciers, as Deutsche Welle reported.

"In view of this, the tribunal considers that the imminence of danger is established," the judge continued. "The act for which they were incriminated was a necessary and proportional means to achieve the goal they sought."

The packed courtroom, in a suburb of Lausanne, erupted in applause and gave a standing ovation to the judge's decision, as Reuters reported.

"I didn't think it was possible," said one of the accused individuals, Beate Thalmann, in tears of joy, according to Reuters. "If Switzerland did this, then maybe we have a chance."

An attorney, Laila Batou, representing one of the defendants, said the Judge Colelough accepted the argument that the activists had exhausted all other legitimate forms of protest like petition drives, sidewalk demonstrations and efforts with Swiss legislators, according to the AP.

"The lawyers, the clients, the audience cried," Batou said, as the AP reported. She said the "bombshell" from the judge was his acknowledgement that the climate emergency is "impossible" to block through other legal means.

Because of the heat-trapping effect of its many mountains, Switzerland is warming at twice the global average, according to Reuters. The country has pledged to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

The country, which is warming at twice the global average due to the heat-trapping effect of its mountains, has an target to cut net carbon emissions to zero by 2050 but activists with Lausanne Climate Action say that the country's biggest impact is via its financial industry, as Reuters reported.

The activists pointed out that Credit Suisse is one of the world's largest investors in fossil fuels, ponying up more than $7.8 billion to nearly four dozen companies that are "extreme" users of dirty fossil fuels. Lausanne Climate Action noted that the bank increased its financing for coal 16-fold from 2016 to 2017, as the AP reported.

However, last month, Credit Suisse announced that it will no longer invest in new coal-fired plants, according to the AP.

The protestors would like to see Swiss tennis star, Roger Federer, use his leverage to have Credit Suisse invest in sustainability or cut ties with the Zurich-based bank.

"If we get him to distance himself from the bank, we will empower our action," Batou said, as the AP reported.

Federer, for his part, sent a statement to Reuters in response to the criticism he has received from activists, especially a tweet from 350.org that was retweeted by Greta Thunberg.

"I appreciate reminders of my responsibility as a private individual, as an athlete and as an entrepreneur, and I'm committed to using this privileged position to dialogue on important issues with my sponsors," said in a statement, as Reuters reported. "I take the impacts and threat of climate change very seriously, particularly as my family and I arrive in Australia amidst devastation from the bushfires."

Florida Wildlife Federation / NBC2News / YouTube

In a dramatic rescue captured on camera, a Florida man ran into a pond and pried open an alligator's mouth in order to rescue his beloved puppy, all without dropping his cigar.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Imagesines / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Jean-Marc Neveu and Olivier Civil never expected to find themselves battling against disposable mask pollution.

When they founded their recycling start-up Plaxtil in 2017, it was textile waste they set their sights on. The project developed a process that turned fabrics into a new recyclable material they describe as "ecological plastic."

Read More Show Less

Trending

Fossil fuel companies received $110 billion in direct and indirect financial assistance during the coronavirus pandemic, including up to $15.2 billion in direct federal relief. Andrew Hart /

By Bret Wilkins

In a year in which the United States has already suffered 16 climate-driven extreme weather events causing more than $1 billion in economic damages, and as millions of American workers face loss of essential unemployment benefits due to congressional inaction, a report published Monday reveals the Trump administration has given fossil fuel companies as much as $15.2 billion in direct relief — and tens of billions more indirectly — through federal COVID-19 recovery programs since March.

Read More Show Less
Flint corn is an example of pre-contact food. Elenathewise / Getty Images

By Ashia Aubourg

As Thanksgiving approaches, some Indigenous organizations and activists caution against perpetuating further injustices towards Native communities. Indigenous activist Mariah Gladstone, for example, encourages eaters to celebrate the harvest time in ways that do not involve stereotypes and pilgrim stories.

Read More Show Less

By Alex Middleton

Losing weight and reducing fat is a hard battle to fight. Thankfully, there are fat burner supplements that help you gain your target body and goal. However, how would you know which supplement is right for you?

Read More Show Less