French court overturns government decree to disband 'Earth Uprising' climate group

© Stefano Rellandini, AFP

France's top administrative court overturned the government-ordered dissolution of a climate activist group, Les Soulèvements de la Terre ("Earth Uprising", or SLT) on Thursday, ruling the group had not provoked violence.

"The dissolution of SLT did not constitute an appropriate, necessary and proportionate measure to the seriousness of the disturbances likely to be caused to public order," France's Council of State said in a statement.

The group was shut down in June by a government decree that accused it of encouraging violence and of causing material damage.

The government cited protests that resulted in clashes with police against a sand quarry in western France where protesters tore up fields and equipment at a farm.

SLT is a coalition of several activist associations and was behind the protest, which opposed a giant reservoir for storing water pumped up from the underground water table.

Many in France were shocked by the scenes at Sainte-Soline, where around 5,000 protesters battled with more than 3,000 police officers. Two protesters were left in a coma afterwards, while around 30 officers were injured.

The group was also one of several organisers of a banned demonstration in June against a new rail link between the eastern city of Lyon and Turin in Italy.

(FRANCE 24 with Reuters)

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