Swedish authorities have charged 20-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg for disobeying police orders to leave a climate protest in the southern city of Malmo.
The arrest took place in June at an oil port, where Thunberg participated in the disruption of shipping in the harbour alongside protest organizers from Ta Tillbaka Framtiden (Take Back the Future). Thunberg and others were arrested on June 19, after they succeeded at blocking traffic at the facility.
Today, for the third day in a row, @TTFramtiden blocked oil tankers in the Malmö oil harbour. The climate crisis is a matter of life and death for countless people. We choose to physically stop fossil fuel infrastructure. We are reclaiming the future. #TaTillbakaFramtiden pic.twitter.com/CTXVKR0Qsi
— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) June 17, 2023
At the time, she wrote on Instagram: “We choose to not be bystanders, and instead physically stop the fossil fuel infrastructure. We are reclaiming the future.” As reported by BBC, Thunberg is now expected to appear at the Malmo District Court before the end of July. Charges for the crime of disobeying police in Sweden can carry sentences of up to six months in jail, but according to multiple sources, the charges almost always end in fines.
Thunberg has been a prominent face in environmental activism in recent years and has been an outspoken advocate for the planet since she was 15 – boycotting things like the aviation industry and making speeches at music festivals to communicate the urgency of the climate crisis.
Thunberg first gained attention in August 2018 when she started skipping school on Fridays to protest outside the Swedish Parliament, demanding stronger action on climate change from the government.
Her actions inspired students from around the world to join her in what became known as the “Fridays for Future” movement. Students started organizing strikes and protests, demanding that governments take urgent action to address the climate crisis. Thunberg’s activism quickly gained widespread media attention, and she became a prominent figure in the global climate movement.
Since then, Thunberg has delivered powerful speeches at numerous international forums, including the United Nations Climate Action Summit in 2019. She has also participated in various climate marches and protests worldwide, urging world leaders to take immediate and drastic steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate the impacts of climate change.
In January, authorities arrested her while she was protesting a coal mine in Germany, and later in February, Thunberg and other activists blocked the entrance to Norway’s energy ministry in Oslo to protest a wind farm they say hinders the rights of the Sami Indigenous people to raise reindeer in Arctic Norway.
She was TIME’s Person of the Year in 2019, the youngest person to earn the title in the magazine’s 92-year history. At the time, Thunberg’s confidence in the face of world leaders made her famous, she has not shied away from calling out governments for their lack of action towards climate change. Last year, she shunned the annual U.N climate conference calling it blatant ‘greenwashing’. Speaking at a panel at the United Nations climate conference in Bonn, Germany, Thunberg weeks ago, she said that politicians are more concerned with “false solutions and finding and creating loopholes which maintain business as usual.”
Despite her years of activism, alongside other youth activists – climate change deniers persist. Many have questioned the legitimacy of Greta’s detainment after images of her arrests went viral on Twitter. On the other hand, global temperatures are breaking records every other day, and there is a 98% likelihood that at least one of the next five years, and the five-year period as a whole, will be the warmest on record. The UN general secretary has declared that at this point, climate change is likely ‘out of control’.