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Greta Thunberg Could Face 6-Month Jail Term for Blockade of Swedish Oil Port

The climate activist was charged for a second time on September 15 for refusing to leave a protest at an oil terminal.

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg protests by blocking the entrance to Oljehamnen neighborhood in Malmö, Sweden, on July 24, 2023.

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg was charged for a second time on Friday for not leaving a protest near an oil terminal after police ordered her to do so.

The new charge comes less than two months after Thunberg, who launched the School Strike for Climate movement five years ago in August, was convicted for the same offense. If convicted again, Reuters reported, she could face up to six months in prison.

“It is absurd that those who act in line with science should pay the price for it,” Thunderg told journalists the day of her first conviction on July 24, as Reuters reported at the time.

Thunberg was first arrested on June 19 for blocking the road that oil trucks take into Sweden’s Malmö harbor to reach the oil terminal there. She acted with the Swedish group Ta Tillbaka Framtiden, or Reclaim the Future.

Thunberg pleaded not guilty to the charges from the June protest, arguing that she disobeyed the police out of necessity to stop the climate crisis, as Reuters reported.

“I believe that we are in an emergency that threatens life, health, and property. Countless people and communities are at risk both in the short term and in the long term,” she told the court.

At the time of the trial, the media was also reporting on people fleeing extensive wildfires in Greece, Reclaim the Future pointed out on social media.

However, the court convicted her and fined her a total of $244, BBC News reported.

Hours later, Thunberg and 15 other Reclaim the Future activists returned to Malmö to block traffic, the group said. Police removed them once again.

“We know we can’t save the world by following the rules, because the rules have to change,” Thunberg said at the time, in a quote shared by Reclaim the Future on social media.

It is for this second protest that Thunberg is being charged now.

“The protest was unauthorized and led to traffic being blocked. The young woman refused to obey police order to leave the site,” prosecutor Isabel Ekberg said, as The Local.Se reported. “This is therefore a case of refusal to comply.”

Disobeying police orders caries a maximum sentence of six months in prison. While prosecutor Charlotte Ottesen thought such a sentence unlikely after Thunberg’s first charge, Reuters said the sentence could be steeper after her second.

Thunberg’s second trial is scheduled for September 27.

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