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Protests around the world demand amnesty for the first scientist imprisoned in the UK
- Scientist Rebellion and other climate and human rights groups have protested in eight countries during the weekend.
- Protesters are demanding amnesty for Scientist Rebellion co-founder, Mike Lynch-White, sentenced to 23 months in prison for a peaceful action, and for others put behind bars for peaceful protest in the UK.
From the 15th to the 18th of June, scientists and activists protested in several countries over the imprisonment of Mike Lynch-White, a human rights activist and one of the founders of the science-focus climate group Scientist Rebellion. He was sentenced on the 16th of May to 27 months (later reduced to 23 months) in prison for criminal damage during a non-violent protest with Palestine Action. He is awaiting trial and potentially facing up to 18 additional months for another non- violent protest related to the climate crisis.
The wave of protests started on the 15th of June, with an action by the Spanish climate group Futuro Vegetal in which they painted the exterior of the UK embassy in Madrid with fire extinguishers and pasted posters of Mike. Three activists were arrested. Also in Madrid, the following day, Scientist Rebellion Spain gathered outside the same building to join the protests, and scientists said that they were "harassed by the police". These protests were followed by Scientist Rebellion and Extinction Rebellion Sweden, who did an occupation in Lund city centre. In Portugal, scientists met at the British embassy to do outreach about Mike's inprisonment and read a speech. The embassy was closed early that day and the British flag removed to try to avoid the protest. In Denmark, scientists joined the protests on social media. In London, several scientists from Scientist Rebellion and Scientists for XR joined the protest at the Science Museum demanding also amnesty for Mike.
Dr Elena González Egea, astrophysicist and Mike's fiancée, who joined the protests in Spain in a wedding dress, stated the following: "Governments are trying to silence scientists instead of listening to us or taking effective measures to face climate breakdown. Here in Spain, myself and other 14 people from Scientist Rebellion Spain are being threatened by the state prosecutor with up to 4 years in prison for throwing biodegradable washable paint at the Spanish Parliament building last year."
In Mexico, protesters from Scientist Rebellion Mexico gathered outside the British embassy pasting a giant image of Mike. Colombia joined the protest with a performance in which an artist dressed as an image of a "fragile justice". In California, statues in several cities appeared blindfolded and holding posters of Mike. Two more protests are planned for today, in France and in Rwanda. Palestine Action also joined this campaign with their own protests during last week. Scientists and activists over the world are demanding amnesty for Mike and the rest of peaceful protesters in the UK. Right now, 10 people are in prison in the UK for their activism, and one of them, JSO activist Marcus Decker is being threatened with deportation.
There are about 100 open cases against scientists from Scientist Rebellion for their involvement in climate protests and 20 scientists have already been convicted. In Italy, Denmark and Sweden, Scientist Rebellion members are being threatened with prison terms of up to six years. They state that "this is deeply concerning given the protests involved blindfolding statues, pasting scientific papers to the walls of a bank or blocking roads". In Colombia and Argentina, scientists demand that "they are being harassed by the army and even had to flee their countries due to death threats."
About Scientist Rebellion
Scientist Rebellion is a growing climate activist group with 1000+ scientists and academics across 32 countries. Members range from science students and professors to IPCC contributors and leading climate- related scientists. Through disruptive nonviolent action, Scientist Rebellion demands emergency decarbonization via economic degrowth. During acts of civil resistance, members wear lab coats, and volunteers organize the vast majority of the campaign activity.
The Climate Emergency Fund supports Scientist Rebellion's recruitment, training, capacity-building, and educational efforts.