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Grand Canal in Venice colored green: Harsh punishments for environmental activists

Grand Canal in Venice colored green: Harsh punishments for environmental activists
Five activists were banned from living in Venice for four years.
Image: MARCO SABADIN (AFP)

Image: MARCO SABADIN (AFP)

A fine of 1,250 euros was imposed on 28 people, for a total of 35,000 euros. The 28 activists were also charged with disrupting public life, as water bus services were suspended throughout the Rialto Bridge area for about an hour and 20 minutes as a precautionary measure. Five activists have been banned from living in Venice for four years, the police said on Sunday.

Some of the activists are students at the Venetian University of Ca’ Foscari. You will therefore no longer be allowed to enter your university in the future. The environmentalists are also accused of an unannounced demonstration and of spraying dangerous substances, despite having assured that the liquid used “is not harmful to the environment, people or animals, and dissolves in a maximum of 48 hours.”

  • The background: Activists are turning the famous Grand Canal in Venice green

“Penalties disproportionate to the crimes committed”

The “Extinction Rebellion” movement, to which the activists belong, emphasized that the punishments were disproportionate to the crimes actually committed. Among those taken to the police station were a tourist and four employees of Extinction Rebellion’s press office, including photographers and videographers. With the exception of the tourist, all other people were charged, including those who simply distributed leaflets or took photos and videos, criticized Extinction Rebellion.


Image: MARCO SABADIN (AFP)

Venice mayor: “Enough is enough”

Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro sees the situation differently. “We had to suspend public transport services and navigation on the Grand Canal, carry out environmental controls on the water and check the recently restored columns of the Rialto Bridge. Venice is a fragile city that needs to be loved and respected! Enough is enough,” said the mayor.

The environmental activists of “Extinction Rebellion” dumped dye into the Grand Canal in Venice and several Italian rivers on Saturday to protest against the “failure” of the ongoing international climate negotiations. At the same time, hanging from ropes and straps, they unfurled a banner reading “COP28: While the government talks, we are hanging by a thread” from the Rialto Bridge.

The group announced on the online service X (formerly Twitter) that it had used a “harmless” dye. “The climate crisis is already having a catastrophic impact on Italy, science tells us it will get worse and politicians are wasting their time on a farce,” said the activists at the UN climate conference currently taking place in Dubai. “We rebel against this inaction, we cannot remain silent while our future is sold to the fossil fuel industries!”

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