CGTN reports approvingly Climate activists win landmark case over Federer demo at Credit Suisse. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.
Swiss climate protesters have won a landmark legal battle against investment bank Credit Suisse, which could transform the way that climate activism is prosecuted in Switzerland in future.
A judge ruled on Monday that the danger posed by climate change means activists from the climate group Breakfree were not guilty of trespassing when they occupied a branch of the Swiss investment bank two years ago to demonstrate against the financiers’ funding of fossil fuel projects.
In November 2019, a group of young people wearing tennis kits and wigs staged a tennis-themed sit-in at a Credit Suisse branch in Lausanne. Their goal was to convince Swiss tennis player Roger Federer to end his sponsorship deal with the investment bank and highlight what they said was Credit Suisse’s investments in industries which are seen as adding to climate change.
The group was charged with trespassing and slapped with a 21,600 Swiss franc fine ($22,200), but during their appeal hearing on Monday, Judge Philippe Colelough stated that the activists had acted proportionately and ruled that they did not have to pay the fine.
The judge agreed with the protesters that they had entered the bank in the face of an “imminent danger” from climate change.
“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. Adding that: “In view of this, the tribunal considers that the imminence of danger is established.
“The act for which they were incriminated was a necessary and proportional means to achieve the goal they sought.”
The ruling, given in the Lausanne municipality of Renens, was greeted with cheers from the crowded court room. The Swiss state will cover the cost of the fine instead.
“I didn’t think it was possible,” said Beate Thalmann, one of those accused in the trial. “If Switzerland did this, then maybe we have a chance.”
Credit Suisse said last week that, while it respected the protesters’ cause, it considered the occupation of the bank’s property unacceptable.
“Combating global warming is important,” the financier said in a statement. “Credit Suisse respects freedom of expression as a fundamental democratic right. [However,] to protect its clients, employees and branches, it does not tolerate unlawful attacks on its branches, irrespective of the perpetrators and their motives.”
Since the decision from the court, there has been fresh Swiss climate activism.
On Tuesday, protesters dumped coal inside a branch of bank UBS in the same city of Lausanne, while carrying a banner reading: “We will leave when you quit fossil fuels.”
Bullying in the name of Climate is now sanctioned by the courts How many more times will CO2 Hystericals be allowed to overthrow others’ rights? Thanks a lot Judge Colelough.
Given how much Switzerland depends on the financial industry, this is looking like the barbarians attacking the main gate. That didn’t work out so well for Rome in 410: