In April 2023, activists occupied a forest to protect it from deforestation. Now a landmark court case may jeopardize the right to protest in Switzerland.

CHF 36’380

121% of CHF 30’000

121 %
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The «all or nothing» principle applies: The project only receives the funds if the funding target is reached or exceeded.

430 backers

Successfully concluded on 14/1/2024

Forest not construction waste

In the midst of the climate and biodiversity crisis, almost 10 hectares of forest are to be cleared in Rümlang, Zurich, to enlarge a dump for construction waste. Last spring, courageous people took a stand against this and occupied the threatened forest to protests against the impending deforestation. The occupation continued for almost two weeks and the expansion of the landfill was discussed in the general public. In the meantime, the expansion has even been adapted to the extent that some of the old and ecologically valuable oak trees are now protected. Despite constant dialogue with the municipality, great public interest and no escalation from the activists, the occupation was cleared in mid-April with a huge police presence.

  • Banner in the forest
    Banner in the forest
  • No demolition of forests and houses
    No demolition of forests and houses
  • People need houses and an intact nature
    People need houses and an intact nature
  • Shall we really destroy a forest for more of this?
    Shall we really destroy a forest for more of this?
  • If there is a plattform a tree can't be cut down
    If there is a plattform a tree can't be cut down

Wave of repression

The 14 activists controlled on the day of the eviction are now facing a wave of repression. Although they have not yet been found guilty in court and the majority of those accused have complied with the eviction order and are only accused of offences in the area of infractions (i.e. in the order of magnitude of illegal parking), they are now being obliged to pay for the eviction costs and are demanded by the forest owners to pay a five-figure sum for damages.

Passing on the costs to the activists threatens to create a landmark judgement that would serve as a template for loading off police costs to activists regarding many forms of protest in the future. This is a threat to the right to freedom of assembly and freedom of expression. Especially in times of increasing crises and social polarisation, these rights must be protected.

Protect the protestors

The right to freedom of assembly is a central pillar of a free society. Protest confronts grievances, gives a voice to the oppressed and forgotten and transforms individual powerlessness into collective strength. However, there is a worrying global trend towards more and more restrictions, repression and violence against people who exercise their right to freedom of assembly. There are also numerous examples of this development in Switzerland.

One of them is referred to as the «chilling effect», which discourages people from taking part in protests that are protected by fundamental rights. There is therefore a risk that in the future all participants in every demonstration, every unannounced vigil and every sit-in blockade will have to reckon with costs of several thousand francs. Now is the chance to prevent such a precedent!

We therefore want to take action against the passing on of costs and support the people affected in these legal cases. We are prepared to take this all the way to Strasbourg and the European Court of Human Rights. In addition to commitment, perseverance and a lot of work, such a project also requires a lot of money. That’s where you come in!

Your support helps us to:

  • Pay legal fees so that we can defend the right to protest in court.
  • Provide a deficit guarantee for legal costs & fines so that all affected activists can contest the accusations and cost transfers without having to fear that they will not be able to afford the next instance.
  • Print flyers, organise information stands and create a video to spread the word of the Forest not Repression campaign. The right to protest concerns us all.

The 30,000 francs that we aim to raise with this crowdfunding will give us a solid start to this campaign. It will give the affected activists a certain amount of security so that they will not be left alone with legal costs and it will enable us to pay lawyers for the first instance of the proceedings. However, the sum will most likely not be enough. Forest not repression is a long fight, but we are already grateful for any support!

  • Solidarity print
    Solidarity print
  • Board Game
    Board Game
  • Solidarity calender
    Solidarity calender
  • Solidarity calender
    Solidarity calender
  • Key ring from old climbing ropes
    Key ring from old climbing ropes
  • «Wimmelbild»
  • Pin
  • Stickers
  • calender
  • Pin
  • Key Ring
    Key Ring
  • Key Ring
    Key Ring
  • Postcard set
    Postcard set