A judge has acquitted climate activist Greta Thunberg of a charge that she refused to follow a police order to leave a protest blocking the entrance to a major oil and gas industry conference in London last year.
The 21-year-old was arrested during a demonstration near the InterContinental Hotel in Mayfair, London, on October 17 as oil executives met inside for a conference.
The gallery erupted with clapping on Friday as Judge John Law told Thunberg and her four co-defendants that they were cleared of breaching the Public Order Act on the grounds that there were “significant deficiencies in the evidence” presented against them.
Breitbart reports: Law said the police could have taken less restrictive measures, didn´t properly define where protesters should move and the order to disperse that was given was “so unclear that it was unlawful” that those who didn´t comply committed no offense.
The judge said he would grant defense lawyer Raj Chada’s request for the government to pay his legal fees and Thunberg’s travel costs after they submit those bills.
The Swedish environmentalist, who inspired a global youth movement demanding stronger efforts to fight climate change, was charged in Westminster Magistrates´ Court with violating the act that allows police to impose limits on public assemblies. She had faced a fine of up to 2,500 pounds ($3,190) if she had been convicted.
Thunberg, 21, was among more than two dozen protesters arrested on Oct. 17 after preventing access to a hotel during the Energy Intelligence Forum, attended by some of the industry´s top executives.
Thunberg and other climate protesters have accused fossil fuel companies of deliberately slowing the global energy transition to renewables in order to make more profit. They also oppose the U.K. government´s recent approval of drilling for oil in the North Sea, off the coast of Scotland.