Climate activists face imprisonment

The question of how far protests can go when it comes to drawing attention to the climate catastrophe and those who caused it will in all likelihood soon be discussed before the district court in Fürstenfeldbruck . Because the Munich II public prosecutor’s office has brought charges against two 25-year-old students from Passau, who abseiled down a motorway bridge near Germering a year ago to demonstrate against the International Motor Show. She accuses the two and a 39-year-old, who is said to have helped plan and photographed the action, of coercion in 1296 cases because there was a kilometer-long traffic jam at the time. According to the public prosecutor’s office, the proceedings should be conducted before the lay judges; then the accused face up to three years imprisonment. However, the district court has not yet decided on the admission of the indictment.

The IAA 2021 was accompanied by numerous protest actions, all of which aimed to draw attention to the role of motor vehicle traffic in the climate catastrophe. The international fair was disrupted by demonstrations, sit-ins, bicycle rallyes and activists who lowered themselves or banners from motorway bridges.

On the opening day, two demonstrators abseiled down the A96 at the Germering-Süd exit in the morning and unrolled a banner with the words “Block IAA”. The 39-year-old is said to have photographed her and published the photos. The police closed the highway, the fire brigade came with a turntable ladder vehicle and spread out a safety cushion under the bridge. After about an hour and a half, the two activists, who apparently belong to the “last generation”, ended the action, climbed back onto the bridge and were taken away by the police. According to a report by the BR magazine “quer”, the 25-year-old was in custody in Stadelheim for three days. A court later found this measure illegal.

According to a spokesman for the district court in Fürstenfeldbruck, the public prosecutor’s office brought charges against the two students and the 39-year-old in June because of this action. The court has not yet decided on their approval. “The files are currently with a defense attorney for inspection. After the files have been returned, a decision will be made promptly on the admission of the prosecution,” he reports. The decision also includes whether the trial will be conducted before the criminal or jury court, with the latter being able to impose the heavier penalties.

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