Historic COP15 victory against summit repression

Tord Björk | Uncategorized | Saturday, September 4th, 2010

Tash & Noah: Freedom speech at city court from Climate Collective on Vimeo.

The court has found climate activists Noah Weiss and Natasha Verco from Climate Collective in Copenhagen innocent to all charges made by the state prosecutor. Among the charges was incitement to violence against police and disturbing the public order. Both were arrested in connection with protests during COP 15 in Copenhagen, at different dates that were not linked to the demonstrations.

Noah and Tash with the infamous bolt cutter

Trials have been a tragicomedy. The two were initially accused of guilt for almost all actions taken during the Climate Conference. This after the same pattern causing ten-double penalties for protests at the EU summit in Gothenburg 2001, where all the accused were considered to have collective guilt to all riots that motivated extra heavy penalties. In Denmark, however, some of the most extreme unreasonable charges of terrorism against the accused were dropped early in the process but the accused were anyway faced with the possibility of long prison terms according to the new Danish law against civil disobedience.

The trials reached one of its tragicomical highlights when the prosecutor pointed out that one of the notebooks seized from one of the accused contained a notice of a bolt cutter. He took this as an evidence of planning violent action in connection with protests against the policies that create climate refugees by lack of fair and effective action against global warming. After the prosecutor’s accusation members of the audience brought the bolt cutter to the court room. It was three meters long and consisted of papier-mâché and is used in symbolic protests against the refugee policies.

RELEASE THE CLIMATE ACTIVISTS – PUT THE COPS IN PRISON, banner at Solidarity action at the Danish embassy in Stockholm by Klimax before the verdict

The trials of the two accused and other preventive arrested or detained during the climate summit, have lined up many similar desperate attempts to prove activists guilt and police innocence. This was also for long the view in the media during the summit but it did not hold in the court. Denmark did not repeat the decay in a judicial system after a summit in the way it was done in Sweden after Gothenburg in 2001. The wind has turned, and the threat of 12 years in prison, hundreds of thousands of Danish crowns in fines and expulsion from the country where the two accused have their daily lives have been turned to the acquittal on all charges. Long live the Danish judiciary’s rejection of the police worldview and freedom!

Tord Björk, active in the Friends of the Earth Sweden


Climate Collective website: http://www.klimakollektivet.dk/en/start/

Danish newspaper Politiken on appeal: http://politiken.dk/indland/1048307/klimaaktivister-frifundet-for-vold/

Natasha and Noah at the demo, photo Tord Björk

Report on August 18 demonstration in support of the accused and declaring that nothing but acquittal was an opportunity if law and justice should be based on truth, according to Danish tradition since 1243:
Danish law in 1243: Truth! 2010: Power? http://www.aktivism.info/socialforumjourney/?p=1800

On the trials against the police for the detention of innocent people during the climate summit with request for damages:
Final countdown for Political Theater at COP15 Trial, http://www.aktivism.info/socialforumjourney/?p=1846

The historical mass arrest of 918 innocent demonstrators on December 12 without collective efforts by the Danish organizers to act in solidarity with their invited marchers. The Danish courts are now doing what the Danish representative organizations afraid of their reputation in mass media did not do: find the accusations against the non-violent activists and demonstrators invalid.

Background to the trials and the lack of collective protests against Danish organizations repression during the summit:
The Whole World on Trial

Denmark: Letter from two climate activists facing jail for Copenhagen protest

From Climate Collective website, see link above:

Danish Court: Climate activists are innocent
Posted on 31st August 2010

The Copenhagen City Court has today ruled that Natasha Verco and Noah Weiss are innocent. The two climate activists were charged for organizing illegal activities during the COP15 summit in Copenhagen in 2009. But the charges didn’t stand in court. The verdict discredits the violent methods adopted by police during the climate summit, when politically active people were denied their democratic right to criticize the climate negotiations.

Natasha Verco feels that the entire process has been absurd:

There has been a very clear political purpose behind these court cases, and the verdict is totally absurd. In the whole case the evidence has been related to fully legal activities, that the police has tried to manipulate, in order to make them appear illegal. It has been all from prints of posters, to finding parking lots fors sound equipments and participating in open information meetings for hundreds of people.

Both Natasha and Noah feel, that the case should put an end to the police undemocratic methods:

I see this as a victory, not only for us, but for the legal rights in Denmark. And it also means that no longer can the police use manipulation of evidence and lies to repress politically active people. I assume that also Tannie and Stine, who are going to court in October, will be acquitted as well, says Noah Weiss.

2000 people have been arrested during the climate summit in December, and many were preventively arrested during the big climate demonstration on December 12th, 2009. These incidents, has later been criticized, among others, by Amnesty International. Now there are four people charged for having, according to police, planned actions during the summit. Among them are Natasha Verco, 32 years old Australian woman, and the American student Noah Weiss.

Natasha Verco and Noah Weiss are accused to having planned violence against police, disturbance of public order and vandalism. These are the charges, that could lead to several years of prison and deportation.

Action in Sweden in support of Noah and Natasha commenting on the verdict:


Australian woman freed from Danish prison


Copenhagen protesters acquitted
Jessica Mahar, Sydney Morning Herald

“Speaking outside the court, Ms Verco, the co-founder of Friends of the Earth Sydney, said justice was served and called the outcome a win for free speech and democracy.”

Activist prepares to face court in Copenhagen
Amy Corderoy
March 12, 2010

“AN AUSTRALIAN arrested and held for nearly three weeks for organising a protest against the Copenhagen climate change conference has been charged with offences commonly used in terrorism cases.

Natasha Verco – who faces up to 12½ years in prison if convicted – said the authorities had targeted her because she was not a Danish citizen.”


12 December 2004 – Call of the Land

Natasha Verco and others on Australians’ relationship with the physical environment.

ABC production


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