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.

SkryťTurn off ads
Article continues after video advertisement
SkryťTurn off ads
Article continues after video advertisement

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.

SkryťTurn off ads

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.

SkryťTurn off ads

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.”

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

I already have subscription - Sign in

Subscription provides you with:
  • Immediate access to all locked articles (premium content) on
  • 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 and

Top stories

Lutheran High School in Tisovec, known better as EGT.

News digest: School wants US teachers but they fear war in Ukraine

Tax offices' extended opening hours, major development in the Daniel Tupý murder case, and another Slovakia Matters edition.

15 h
Filip Toška holding chard in the hydroponic Hausnatura farm.

How a Mayan doomsday prophecy took a Slovak to hi-tech agriculture

Hydroponic farm run out of former telephone exchange.

9. mar
Index magazine, The Slovak Spectator's sister publication, looked at the stories of the ten biggest defaulters of the Financial Administration.

Who are the biggest tax debtors?

Single-use companies laundered millions of euros.

20. mar
Some Ukrainian students report being bullied due to their nationality. UNICEF works with schools so that they can provide a tolerant and respectful environment as well as activities that facilitate positive relationships and promote inclusion.

The silent toll of the war in Ukraine is on minds

Friends are essential for mental health, but only one in three Ukrainian children in Slovakia are currently enrolled in school.

20. mar
SkryťClose ad