Environmental activists spared jail after quarry squat

Supporters of the accused activists gathered outside the court in the western Swiss city of Nyon. © Keystone / Laurent Gillieron

A Swiss court has ignored prosecution demands to jail seven environmental activists who were accused of trespass and assaulting police during a demonstration at a quarry.

This content was published on January 24, 2022 - 19:06

They were instead found guilty of lesser offences and fined. They were among dozens of protesters who were arrested last year as they were removed from the site owned by cement maker Lafarge-HolcimExternal link.

The sentences were closely watched by around 40 more defendants who are due to appear before the court in the coming weeks.

Prosecutors had asked the judge to impose jail sentences of between two and six months for a range of civil disobedience offences.

But the court found insufficient evidence for the more serious charges and opted to issue the defendents suspended fines for obstructing police by tying themselves together with ropes or refusing to come down from rooftops.

One of the accused was acquitted of assaulting police officers with stones because he could prove he was not at the scene at the time.

Around 150 activists had occupied the Mormont quarry in western Switzerland in October 2020 to protest a decision to expand the site. The demonstration was eventually broken up six months later.

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