An activist who participated in a street blockade organized by the Extinction Rebellion movement in 2019 was acquitted on Thursday. The Tiergarten district court did not see the allegation of coercion fulfilled.
She had been accused of forcing car occupants to stop during a blockade of seats on the Oberbaum Bridge and thus compelling them. The allegation was not confirmed in court.
It was about an incident in April 2019. Around 300 activists kept the bridge occupied for about two hours and thus affected the rush hour traffic to draw attention to the climate crisis. Most were carried away by the police. A total of 400 police officers were deployed. The protest remained non-violent.
In order for the fact to be forced to exist, there must be a violent physical prevention of car occupants. According to the case law of the Federal Court of Justice, this is only possible for cars that are in the second row.
However, there was only one car on the video from the moment of the cast that was in court. The activists took it up and presented it themselves.
Even the two police officers who were invited as witnesses could not say with certainty whether there were vehicles in the second row. Possibly affected drivers could not be determined. In this respect, there was “no coercion” according to the BGH case law, as the prosecutor also emphasized. You requested acquittal.
The judge noted that the drone recording “clearly shows that a moment with little traffic was waited for”. And when he justified the verdict, he showed sympathy for the activists’ concerns: “In fact, humanity is heading for a fiasco,” he said.
The biology doctoral student was then welcomed in front of the courthouse with applause and “extinction rebellion” calls. In court, she had stressed that because of the climate crisis, she “saw no other way out” than civil disobedience. According to the XR, further proceedings on the Oberbaum Bridge are ongoing, and the first case of blockages in October will be negotiated in July.