Vatican court fines climate activists over museum protest

The activists were given a suspended jail sentence and a fine for gluing themselves to the base of a Vatican museum statue

Climate activists protesting in museums. (photo: DW)
Climate activists protesting in museums. (photo: DW)


Two Italian climate activists from the Ultima Generazione (Last Generation) group were given a suspended prison sentence and ordered to pay nearly €30,000 (approximately $32,300) in damages for glueing themselves to the base of a statue in the Vatican museum last year.

Guido Viero and Ester Goffi glued themselves to the marble base of the museum's timeless Laocoon statue last August.

The statue depicts sea serpents crushing the mythical priest while he was trying to warn the Trojans against accepting the Greek-gifted wooden horse.

Last Generation and other similar climate groups mostly rely on pulling similar stunts to raise climate awareness. They argue that provoking a strong reaction is an effective form of protesting.

What was the sentence?

The Vatican City State Tribunal sentenced on Monday Goffi and Viero to a suspended nine months in prison and a €1,620 fine.

They were also ordered to jointly pay €28,148 in damages, and €1,000 in legal costs.

A third activist was slammed another suspended sentence; a €120 penalty.

The group announced the verdict on Tuesday, saying it would appeal.

What did the group say?

The group condemned the sentence as "exaggerated," saying it refuses to acknowledge the "dramatic nature of the situation that motivates all our protests."

Ultima Generazione accused the Italian government of "incentivizing" fossil fuel companies which in turn it said were "bringing increasing devastation" to communities and natural and artistic heritage.

It also said the protest meant to "highlight what the pope has written and advised," thus accusing the Vatican of hypocrisy.

Pope Francis has been outspoken about his commitment to environmental concerns, regularly stressing the need to preserve the planet for future generations.

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