Slovak court saw threat in Greenpeace activists

Greenpeace activists were released from custody after the general prosecutor said there was no reason keep them in detention.

The banner Greenpeace activists placed on the Nováky mine tower.The banner Greenpeace activists placed on the Nováky mine tower.(Source: Greenpeace)

Dozens of people gathered in front of Prievidza district court in Sunday 2, shouting “activism is not a crime”. The mood was good and most of them expected their friends, colleagues and family members to be home soon.

The court was deciding on the twelve Greenpeace activists who on November 28 snuck into the area of Hornonitrianske Bane Prievidza mines, climbed the mining tower and hung a 15-metre-long banner with the words: “End the Coal Era”. They pointed out that coal mining is an obsolete and expensive way of producing energy, which is harms nature.

As a result the miners shut down the tower and declared a critical state, which meant that all the mine departments ceased to work.

The Prievidza district court ruled that these dozen activists will be prosecuted while in custody.

"I was standing with the families of the arrested activists in front of the court and not one them expected that they would end up in custody," Nina Vidovencová, who is a friend of one of the detained activists, told The Slovak Spectator.

A ruling surprised top state representatives, activists and inspired December 3 protest in Bratislava.

“These decisions are only logical if everybody who is obviously dangerous and who commits crimes is in custody,” PM Peter Pellegrini (Smer) wrote on Facebook, adding that he is against such a ruling despite supporting the mining.

All 12 Greenpeace activists were released from custody on December 4, following the order of General Prosecutor Jaromír Čižnár.

“There are absolutely no reasons for the so-called continued detention,” Čižnár said, as quoted by the Sme daily.

Potential harm

Greenpeace has been criticising mines for several years and eventually decided to take more invasive action. They entered the mining area through the open entrance without security.

They split into two groups. The first group created an exclamation point on the ground, and the second climbed to the tower and spread out the banner.

“In this case, they waited a few hours on the tower to display a large protest banner,” former director of Greenpeace Juraj Rizman told the Sme daily. “The weather conditions were bad, and they did not want to endanger themselves or their facilities. Only when the wind stopped and cleared, did they place a banner on the tower.”

Read more: - What will happen to the prosecutor? - Slovak taxpayers pay for mining

The rest of this article is premium content at Spectator.sk
Subscribe now for full access

I already have subscription - Sign in

Subscription provides you with:
  • Immediate access to all locked articles (premium content) on Spectator.sk
  • Special weekly news summary + an audio recording with a weekly news summary to listen to at your convenience (received on a weekly basis directly to your e-mail)
  • PDF version of the latest issue of our newspaper, The Slovak Spectator, emailed directly to you
  • Access to all premium content on Sme.sk and Korzar.sk

The processing of personal data is subject to our Privacy Policy and the Cookie Policy. Before submitting your e-mail address, please make sure to acquaint yourself with these documents.

Top stories

Owls indicate spring is coming

Male owls lured by bird calls fly in to take a look at the intruder.

Long-eared owl

“By a sharp knife” cuts through the heart of injustice in Slovakia

A film inspired by the 2005 murder of student Daniel Tupý will be premiered to the Slovak public on February 21.

Director Teodor Kuhn behind the scenes of Ostrým Nožom.

The moment that changed my perception of the media

One flew over the newsprint: Images from the history of the Sme daily

Alexej Fulmek (right) and Karol Ježík in the early days of Sme.