About 22 Extinction Rebellion activists have been fined for failing to comply with police orders during a protest in the capital last summer.
The activists blocked a busy street in the center of Helsinki and wanted to get the government to declare a climate and ecological emergency and bring forward Finland’s carbon neutrality target from 2035 to 2025.
When the activists claimed that their actions were justified due to the urgency of the climate crisis, the Helsinki District Court ruled that both the closure of Mannerheimintie and the ban on leaving the group were illegal.
Police said protesters had not sought permission for the June 20 protest and had not named the organizers.
The Constitution says that everyone has the right to assemble without formal permission. While the demonstrations may be held on a public street, the disturbance caused by the district court should not be unreasonable.
According to the law, the police had the authority to assess the harm caused to the traffic by the demonstration. A police order to transfer the protest to Unioninkatu meant that return to Mannerheimintie was not allowed.
Activists have said they are considering appealing the decision.
"If we cannot trust the police to safeguard our fundamental right to demonstrate when it is done in a way that is proportionate to the threat of an environmental crisis and the magnitude of the change it requires, how can democracy and future generations have hope?" Liok Aalto-Setälä, a representative of Elokapina, wrote in the group’s press release.
Source: The Nordic Page
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