Selin ATAY-TDO-Two French environmental activists charged for taking down portraits of President Emmanuel Macron in town halls to protest government policy on climate crisis were released by a court in Lyon, which found that their action was legitimate given the "serious, current and imminent danger" of climate change.
A Lyon Court ruled at a verdict hearing on Monday that global warming concerns all humanity and, in the face of the urgency of the situation, the activists ' motivation was "legitimate," stressing that there was no criminal element.
The ruling states that "given the State's lack of respect for goals perceived as minimal in a vital area, the way citizens express themselves in a democratic country cannot be reduced to the ballot box only but must extend to new forms of participation."
It adds that taking down the President's portrait in town halls “Must be interpreted as the necessary substitute for the impracticable dialogue between the President of the Republic and the people."
Thomas Fourrey, a lawyer defending the environmentalists who took the action, said: “As the debate over judicial independence continues, the coming of such a decision is promising for our democracy and environmental activists.”
The Prosecutor's Office had demanded the two activists — Fanny Delahalle and Pierre Goinvic — be fined €500 each for the theft. The Prosecutor's Office has announced that it will appeal the court's decision.