At the moment, XR Geneva are in high gear. An international capital, a long term strategy, and a whole month of actions starting in February to launch it all… the next big thing will be there! Find in this newsletter their invitation for you to take part in it.
In parallel, a large number of rebels are working to push the justice system to take its responsibilities as a counter-power. They are determined to continue appealing judgements as far as it takes to see their actions recognized as legitimate. The last few months have seen many of them acquitted! You can read more about them in this newsletter.
Finally: this is the last newsletter coordinated centrally by a national media team. Active rebel groups are now invited to share news about their projects directly. We’ll tell you how, as well as how to access all the resources produced by the former national teams.
Thank you for reading our newsletters. We look forward to joining the readership of the next ones. For us, it’s time to put down the typewriter, and get out the tube of glue.
With love, rage, and perseverance.
Anaïs, Frank, Marcus, Marie & Sanja
News from local groups & friends
Come to Geneva! join a whole month of actions in February
With the holidays over, it’s time to wish each other a happy new year. If this makes you feel a little melancholy, don’t worry: in XR Geneva, the party has just begun! 2023 is going to be a crazy year, and there’s a teaser coming shortly!
To download and read our strategy: HERE!
To understand our plan, read part 1.
To deepen the reflection behind our choices, read part 2.
In February, our local group will carry out an action campaign to promote one specific demand, which we believe is the essence of a resilient democracy: Citizens Assemblies.
A month of actions, multiple roles to be filled, a strong and determined local group… these will be our champagne bubbles to celebrate this year 2023, to imbue it with commitment and hope.
Curious to know more?
Would you like to participate?
There will be room for everyone! Register HERE!
In the form, you will find a presentation of the meaning of the campaign, a more detailed explanation of our demand, as well as the necessary information to take a role.
And to contact us: email@example.com
Get involved in Zurich or Lausanne!
Both Zurich and Lausanne local groups are planning future actions. You can get involved by joining their open meetings, checking their websites and subscribing to their newsletters:
The next meeting in Zurich is Wednesday 15.2. 19:00 in Punto d’incontro (Josefstr. 102).
The next meeting in Lausanne is Sunday 5.2. 18:00 in Espace Dickens (Av. Charles Dickens 4).
La Marche Bleue - Switzerland must respect the Paris Agreement
On April 1st, a group of women, including well-known figures from civil society, will set off from Lausanne by foot. They will rally Bern in 21 days, hoping to gather more and more women along the way, joining for one day or for many. One goal of the march is to build relationships and a feeling of collective hope, and share solutions and projects: either through conversations, or events organised in cities along the way. Visit their website to join, support, or propose events!
Meet Debt for Climate!
Debt for Climate is an international grassroots movement, demanding the unconditional cancellation of the illegitimate debts that strangle Global South countries, preventing them from investing in a transition away from fossil fuel.
The first time you might have heard of the Swiss group’s prowesses was when they blocked the entrance of the refinery in Cressier last October - or maybe you heard about their newest actions at the Altenrhein private airport in St. Gallen, during the World Economic Forum?
To meet them and hear more about the campaign, don’t miss their upcoming public events in Zürich and Lausanne!
Zürich, 21.01.2023 - 17h-20h, alter Klimaraum im 5. OG, Hardstrasse 235
Lausanne, 22.01.2023 - 17h-20h, Pôle Sud, av. Jean-Jacques Mercier 3
Bringing Justice on the right side of History
Trials in Vaud: The 200
In 2019, thousands of Swiss citizens took to the streets to protest against climate breakdown, and hundreds joined civil resistance actions to challenge the government on this disaster. In Vaud, 200 people were prosecuted for exercising their fundamental rights to demonstrate, with many of these cases still ongoing. Instead of organizing a single, largest ever trial of demonstrators in the whole of Europe, the court divided the case into multiple micro-trials.
The Federal Court has already judged that this kind of demonstration won’t be acquitted with appeals to the state of necessity. Thus, the defense pleads the rights of expression and rights of assembly, protected by the European Convention on Human Rights. On an increasingly harsh planet, with poorer and poorer access to resources and unprecedented population movements, these rights are at risk and must absolutely be defended.
A team of around 15 people has worked to support the ongoing trials for the past two years, connecting the defendants to the 31 volunteer lawyers dealing with the cases. There have been dozens and dozens of hearings at the Lausanne District Court since September 2021, with six different judges in the first round and nine different judges in the second round. The fines and legal costs in total for all the people together reach to just a smidge under 100 000 francs.
So far five people have been acquitted in the first round, with a call to be heard again, and three have received final acquittals on the second round. The court judged that the police had violated the right to demonstrate of these three people who sat on the Place St-François for only a few minutes before being removed. However, most people have received letters of conviction, eerily similar, almost copy-pasted, so the work continues…
You can follow the future news of the trial of the 200 here: https://leprocesdes200.ch/
Trials in Zurich: Rebellion against Extinction
In October 2021, hundreds of ordinary people joined civil resistance on the streets of Zurich, many getting arrested for calmly protesting for what is right. The actions spanned a whole week, and created such a pressure on Zurich authorities, that especially towards the end the suppression got unnecessarily strong. Many of the citizens are now taking the fight for their right to defend a livable planet to court. If necessary, all the way to the Federal Court or even to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
Last year, out of 23 trials for coercion, which leads to a criminal record,
- Nine people were acquitted, with the judges highlighting abuses by the prosecuting authorities. In five cases, the judges also found that the acts (staying on the road for three minutes, or bringing water to a person sitting on it) were not worthy of punishment.
- Especially triumphant were the two cases, where Judge Harris specified that the actions of concerned citizens are protected by the freedom of peaceful assembly. He described the actions of the police during the demonstrations, and the subsequent prosecution “as violations of the fundamental freedom of the participants”.
- Fourteen people were convicted. Half of them are continuing the legal process to the next level, while half have decided to accept the decisions.
- Also eight out of the nine acquittals were appealed by the Public Ministry, so the fight continues for them, and all the cases not yet handled.
A serious consequence of these trials is that last November the Zurich Cantonal Court decided to remove Judge Harris from all future climate-related cases, accusing him of being biased, because he was “not willing to […] question his interpretation of the case law of the European Court of Human Rights”. Removing a judge that is known to be sympathetic to the right to demonstrate, is yet another way of coercion of the climate movement, and does not speak well of the state of democracy in Switzerland.
You can follow future news of the Strasbourg group at: https://www.xrebellion.ch/fr/news/strasbourg/
Acquittals in Fribourg, Biel, all around the country…
Different local groups of Extinction Rebellion have kept busy for the past four years, and some of this excellent work still keeps popping up in the courts of various cantons.
Acquittals in Fribourg: Block Friday!
In November 2019, on Black Friday, Extinction Rebellion Fribourg blocked the entrance of the Fribourg Centre, as a demonstration against overconsumption and climate breakdown. The first trial of this action was the biggest so far for the Swiss climate movement, and scandalously did not allow any climate experts to appear in front of the court for defense. All the 31 activists were convicted, but 27 of them appealed the decision, and were acquitted in November 2022. The judges ruled that even though the demonstration was not authorized, it cannot be justified to convict the people seeking to contribute to the social debate on climate change.
A documentary State of Necessity also discussed this action and its trial:
Acquittals in Biel: H&M
In August 2020, fifteen people denounced overconsumption and the capitalist system in a demonstration at H&M store. For five of them, the case was taken to the court, and they were all acquitted in November 2022. The judges ruled that a short, completely nonviolent action that caused no damage and where the law enforcement was in no way opposed, should not be punished.
Acquittals in several cantons, Rebellion of One
On May 2021, people sat peacefully on the roads all over Switzerland, to rebel alone against the destruction of our beautiful planet. In Jura and in Lausanne, the court cases against these brave people are still in progress. In Geneva, two of them were found not guilty of any crime in June 2022.
How to keep accessing resources from national teams?
In the absence of a centralized project to support, most of the national teams have closed shop (as explained in the last newsletter). Legal and Finance remain in operation, supporting rebels engaged in court cases.
The resources developed by the national teams remain at the service of the rebels and the rebellion, but their members are now engaged elsewhere and no longer have mandates or responsibilities.
More information and a link to a public folder of resources can be found on the website. To give you an idea of its contents: guides, briefings, trainings and resources for different roles; feedback and technical debriefings of actions; graphic kits and songbooks; strategic reading lists; a host of documents that were used to organize all aspects of the October 2021 rebellion, and can be used again to organize mass disobedience events…
When a new group of rebels embarks on a nationwide project: they will also find on the page a procedure for regaining access to certain other resources.