Greta Thunberg Charged With Disobeying Swedish Police During Climate Protest

The 20-year-old climate activist is accused of refusing police orders when she and other activists participated in a protest aimed at blocking fuel transports.

Famed climate activist Greta Thunberg has been charged with disobeying police in Sweden after she participated last month in a protest that aimed to block fuel transports, according to local media.

The 20-year-old Swedish native and at least one other climate activist are being prosecuted for refusing to obey law enforcement when they were ordered on June 19 to halt their blockade of oil tankers in Malmö, according to an indictment obtained Wednesday by Sydsvenskan, a daily newspaper based in southern Sweden.

“Today, for the third day in a row, young activists … blocked oil tankers in the Malmö oil harbour,” Thunberg wrote on Instagram two days before police forcibly removed her and other demonstrators.

“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.”

Thunberg joined about 20 teenagers and young adults associated with Take Back the Future, the youth-led climate justice group that organised the protest. The organisation said the blockage was part of a “peaceful resistance” to the fossil fuel industry.

A police official who was at the scene said about 30 trucks were prevented from driving through the port because Thunberg and other activists were sitting on the road, according to Sydsvenskan. Both police and Take Back the Future confirmed that at least one activist climbed on top of a truck to stop it from moving forward.

The protesters were eventually ordered, in English and in Swedish, to move from the road to a lawn so that the trucks could pass, according to the newspaper. All obeyed but four, including Thunberg, and were dragged from the scene.

Police officers carry Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg away from a protest June 19 that was blocking oil tankers in Malmö, Sweden.
Police officers carry Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg away from a protest June 19 that was blocking oil tankers in Malmö, Sweden.
Johan Nilsson/TT News Agency/AFP via Getty Images

Take Back the Future spokesperson Alma Laudon said on June 20 that the fossil fuel industry “has life on its conscience.”

“The warming it causes risks even more lives and it tears apart the future of young people,” an English translation of Laudon’s statement says. “Blocking fossil fuels is thus both an act of solidarity and of self-defence.”

A hearing for Thunberg’s charges is tentatively scheduled for the end of the month in Malmö district court, according to Sydsvenskan. Disobeying police orders carries a maximum sentence of six months in prison under Swedish law, but the prosecutor in the case said that those convicted are usually punished by fines.

Thunberg did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment. But the activist has continued to post on social media about climate justice initiatives, including her visit to Switzerland to march with other activists to demand regulators and central bankers stop financing the fossil fuel industry.

June was not the first time Thunberg has clashed with law enforcement during climate protests. In January, the activist was detained twice in three days after participating in an anti-coal demonstration at the abandoned western German village of LĂĽtzerath, which was scheduled to be destroyed to make room for a coal mine expansion.


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