The monolith, Vigelandsparken | Vandalized the Monolith

The monolith, Vigelandsparken | Vandalized the Monolith
The monolith, Vigelandsparken | Vandalized the Monolith

– It seems that they were determined to punish us severely in order to send a message to activists, and in that case it is highly problematic for the right to free demonstration, says Skahjem to Nettavisen.

Together with Anne Klenge (25), he has now been sentenced to 100 days in unconditional prison and to pay NOK 10,000 in compensation. The amount was the price tag for removing the paint from the Monolith.

On Tuesday 23 April, the trial against the two climate activists from the group Stopp Oljeletingen started. The trial lasted two days, where both were accused of deliberately or negligently having committed damage to cultural monuments of particular national or international importance.

In November 2022, the two climate activists took action and poured orange paint over the Monolith and six other sculptures on the Monolith Plateau in Vigelandsparken in Oslo. In addition, they painted with brushstrokes on the base of the Monolith, which left traces of paint that could not be removed afterwards.

When the police arrived at Frognerparken, the campaigners were turned away from the scene, but they refused to leave. They were therefore also prosecuted for not complying with police orders.

They will now appeal the verdict.

– This judgment should be the “nail in the coffin” on the myth of Norway as a progressive climate-conscious nation, says Skahjem.

READ ALSO: Two accused of having littered the Monolith

No mitigating circumstance

The climate activist does not think it is surprising that the state acts in this way.

– But I find it incredibly disappointing that the Norwegian state first ignores warnings from the UN about how important it is not to continue with oil extraction, and that the Norwegian legal system then ignores the warning to the UN that severe punishments against climate activists can set a dangerous precedent, he says.

In the judgment from the Oslo District Court, it is pointed out that the Monolith has a prominent position for Oslo’s residents and visitors.

The defenders believed that Klenge and Skahjem’s climate commitment must constitute a mitigating circumstance. The court disagrees with that, and writes, among other things, that there is no justified resentment or the like towards Vigelandsparken.

– In the court’s view, attacks against cultural treasures constitute a worrying development at a time when trust in democracy is weakening, which indicates that general preventive considerations are particularly relevant, writes the district court in the judgement. The court therefore rejects that the motive for soiling the statues is a mitigating circumstance.

The district court points out, on the contrary, that it was only luck that meant that the soiling did not have major consequences.

– Fortunately, the monolith has stood up well through the soiling and cleaning (… ) it is aggravating that the action could have gone much worse and that more of the paint could have remained, had it not been for the luck that cleaning personnel were immediately available.

READ ALSO: Vandalized the Monolith – risks 120 days in prison

Acted grossly negligently

– The intention was never to damage the statues. The purpose was and is to sound the alarm about Norway’s continued extraction of fossil fuels. With this action, my client believes that they are defending basic human rights, Klenge’s lawyer Cecilie Nakstad told NTB before the trial.

The Oslo district court recognizes that Klenge and Skahjem had no desire to permanently damage the statues, and points out that during the preparation they tested different types of paint on granite, to see what kind of paint could be washed off.

This testing was still not good enough, partly because they tested on a different type of granite.

– The court believes that Klenge and Skahjem have acted grossly negligently in relation to paint stains that did not allow themselves to be removed, the judgment states.

– They should clearly have done better investigations, but the court thinks that the punishment here is somewhat lower than where permanent damage is intended.

The article is in Norwegian

Tags: monolith Vigelandsparken Vandalized Monolith


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