Extinction Rebellion activists had blocked an oil train last year by building a garden over the tracks in NW Portland. Five out of the eleven that were arrested had to go to trial being charged with criminal trespassing.
Last week, in a landmark victory, the Portland jury refused to convict these five environmental activists who had presented the climate necessity defense at their trial.
“When citizens are told the truth about the climate crisis—which is the first of Extinction Rebellion’s demands—they take appropriate and responsible action, as our jury did, and we thank them,” said valve turner Ken Ward.
According to Common Dreams, activists emphasized that the win was only partial because the criminal trespassing case ended in a mistrial rather than a full acquittal. Just one of six jurors voted to convict the activists while the five others voted to acquit.
“Zenith Energy Corporation, and the city’s inability to shut it down, is the poster child for what is wrong with our system. We need to take note of the lessons learned by the labor movement—mass civil disobedience works. The climate crisis is a workers issue, we need to unite to shut down business as usual. Right now,” defendant Margaret Butler said.
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