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Greenpeace activists face Copenhagen court for 2009 peaceful climate protest


Copenhagen - A year and a half after two Greenpeace activists unfurled a banner urging for climate action at a state banquet attended by over 120 heads of state at the Copenhagen climate talks, 11 Greenpeace activists [1] from eight countries are appearing today in a Danish court where they face serious charges for their peaceful protest.

“A year and a half after world leaders failed to take climate action in Copenhagen, the wrong people are still getting locked up”, said one of the activists, Nora Christiansen. “Greenpeace International Executive Director Kumi Naidoo is currently under arrest in Greenland for delivering the names of 50,000 people opposed to the Arctic destruction, not only from oil exploration and oil spills, but from the melting of sea ice from the burning of yet more of the fossil fuels that got us into this climate change mess in the first place [3]”.

On the night of December 17, 2009, as the Copenhagen Climate Summit talks ground to a halt, three activists posing as a ’Head of State of the Natural Kingdom’, his ’wife’, and a ‘security escort’ walked up the red carpet and into the Parliament building. As world leaders arrived, the activists unfurled banners reading: ’Politicians Talk – Leaders Act’, urging the gathered politicians to save the climate. Christiansen and three others were arrested and imprisoned for nearly three weeks following the protest.

The activists are charged with trespass, falsification of documents, and impersonating a public official, as well as having committed an offence against Denmark’s Queen [2], which is related to the trespass charge. Greenpeace Nordic has also been named under the charges, and the activists may face fines and jail sentences.

“Not only are these charges completely out of proportion to our peaceful protest, the very threat of these charges could deter others from taking part in peaceful protests, which are an important and integral part of any healthy democracy,” continued Christiansen.

“The real criminals here are not people like Nora, Kumi or the many other activists willing to stand up and make their voices heard, it is our world leaders who keep failing to take action to protect the climate”, said Mads Flarup Christensen, Executive Director of Greenpeace Nordic. “With this year’s climate summit in Durban fast approaching, world leaders must repair the mistakes of Copenhagen, and live up to their responsibilities and promises by making a strong climate agreement”.

Today is the first day out of two days in court, the next being August 19th. All defendants are present in court, while Executive Director Mads Flarup Christensen is representing Greenpeace Nordic.

Greenpeace is an independent global campaigning organisation that acts to change attitudes and behaviour, to protect and conserve the environment and to promote peace.


Karen Albertsen, Greenpeace Nordic Communications, +45 28359130 (in Copenhagen)

Dave Walsh, Greenpeace International Communications +31 4619 7327 (in Amsterdam)

Notes to editors

1) On December 17th 2009, as the COP15 Climate Summit in Copenhagen limped towards failure - but still had the chance to deliver a global climate deal, Juan Lopéz de Uralde (Spain) dressed as a head of state of “The Natural Kingdom”, Nora Christiansen (Denmark/Norway) as his wife, and Christian Schmutz (Switzerland) as their bodyguard entered the royal dinner for more than 120 heads of states. The three activists, along with and climate campaigner Joris Thijssen (Netherlands) were detained for 20 days over Christmas and New Year. The other defendants took part in the limousine convoy: Morten Rasmussen (Denmark), Victor Rask (Denmark/Sweden), Guilhem de Crombrugghe (Belgium), Anders Redelius (Sweden) and Thomas Müller (Switzerland). Climate campaigners Melanie Francis (UK) and Dima Litvinov (Sweden/US) are also charged.

2) Bringing the extra charge required the personal approval of Denmark’s Justice Minister in March 2011; it is particularly obscure provision that has never been used before. Paragraph 115 is a provision of the Danish Criminal Code has not been used since it was enacted in 1930 (it was first called Paragraph 114). The provision doubles the penalty of the charges to which it is applied.

3) On Friday 17 June 2011, Greenpeace International Executive Director Kumi Naidoo and one other activist climbed on board the oil rig Leiv Eiriksson, operated by Scottish oil company Cairn Energy, off the coast of Greeland to deliver the names of 50,000 people calling on Cairn to make public its oil spill response plan for the Arctic. Naidoo and his colleague were subsequently arrested, and as of June 20th, were being held in custody in Nuuk, Greenland and charged with trespass. In previous weeks, 20 other Greenpeace activists had occupied the rig More at


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