Prievidza, Slovakia –  12 Greenpeace activists from Slovakia, The Czech Republic, Finland, Germany and Belgium were detained on Wednesday, November 28th, on the mining tower of the Slovak coal company HornaUpper Nitra Mines (Hornonitrianske bane Prievidza, HBP). Greenpeace has since learned that they will be detained for another 48 hours after they had peacefully protested against destructive coal mining and burning — a major driver of climate change and local pollution.

The 12 Greenpeace activists displayed banners calling for an end to the era of coal following a UN report about the dire effects of unchecked climate change and a bad deal between the Slovak Government and the coal mine was reached. [1] They have now been held for over 48 hours and were criminally charged with threatening the ‘operations of a facility of public interest’ which can lead to a jail sentence of 1 to 5 years.

Greenpeace Slovakia is surprised by these charges, as the activists did not endanger the operations and the safety of the miners, and cooperated with authorities on the spot. The prosecution’s argument for continued detention —  that the young activists will continue their protest if released and thus are a threat — is not valid.

Greenpeace CEE’s political advisor Julia Sokolovicova  said:

“We stand with these brave women and men who risked their freedom to warn the world about another coal company complicit in damaging our health, the environment and fuelling climate change. We ask everyone who cares about the planet to join us. Following the recent UN report and the upcoming international conference on climate change, they were not afraid to act when our governments have not.

“Bringing criminal charges against non-violent protesters who are standing up on behalf of all of us is wholly unreasonable and raises questions about the right to peacefully protest in a democracy. The real threat is submitting to the interests of the coal industry.”

ENDS

Photos and video of the protest can be accessed here

Notes:

[1] “Phaseout” deal developed between the Slovak Government and the lignite mining company HBP can be read here in full (Slovak language only).

Contacts:

Julia Sokolovicova, Political Advisor, Greenpeace in Central and Eastern Europe, Julia.Sokolovicova@greenpeace.org, +420 608 071 134

Greenpeace International Press Desk: pressdesk.int@greenpeace.org, +31 (0) 20 718 2470 (available 24 hours)

 

Update: edited on 2 December to include all nationalities of the detained activists. The activists are from Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany and Belgium.