BERLIN (AP) — A Jesuit priest and a scientist are appearing before a German court Wednesday charged with coercion in connection with a climate protest last year.
The Rev. Joerg Alt and Cornelia Huth, a biologist and member of the group Scientist Rebellion, blocked a road in Munich on Oct. 28.
Numerous similar protests have taken place across Germany and other countries recently as climate activists try to draw attention to the urgency of tackling global warming.
The public and political response to such road blockades has been mixed. While some German mayors have said they support the protesters’ cause, if not their means, activists have also faced violence from enraged motorists and calls for tough punishment from conservative politicians.
So far most courts have acquitted the protesters or handed down fines, though in at least one recent case a judge sentenced three activists to prison terms ranging from three to five months.
Also appearing before the Munich regional court is Luca Thomas, a student from Bayreuth.
The trial comes as Germany hosts a key diplomatic meeting aimed at paving the way for greater international efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions at this year’s U.N. climate summit.
Activists accuse the government of failing to do enough to put Germany on course to meet its goal of cutting emissions to “net zero” by 2045.