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We do not recommend underage persons to take part in civic disobedience!

Why civil disobedience?

Civil disobedience is a direct way to reclaim climate justice. We do not have time for calm conversations with politicians. We will not wait for political parties make a choice that will suit their short-term interests. We are taking matters into our own hands!

Civil disobedience is our way of demanding system change. We will not stop the climate catastrophe without shutting-down coal-fired power plants and open-pit mines. Climate change can only be combated by fighting a destructive economic system based on unlimited profit.

Civil disobedience allows us to exercise the right to take action, democratically. When we self-organise towards a political goal, we prove that democratic ways of making decisions are possible.

GRASSROOTS, TOGETHER AND DIRECTLY - WE TAKE BACK THE ENERGY - WE FIGHT FOR CLIMATE JUSTICE

We have action consensus!

This means that we have agreed to the boundaries of our action and have together found methods that we consider to be right and effective. During the civil disobedience we will:

  • act in a non-violent way, including verbal violence;
  • block the coal infrastructure without destroying or damaging it (or any other devices);
  • avoid the blockades and obstacles present to prevent civil disobedience.
  • act with care for nature, paying attention to the effect our presence brings to the environment wherever we find ourselves.

Possible legal consequences of participating in civil disobedience actions

Entering an unenclosed areay

Most of the infrastructure related to coal mining and transport is on open, unenclosed territory. Entering this area or remaining close to it does not constitute any crime or offense. The only misdemeanor threat is for ‘not allowing the site to call the authorized person’ which can receive a fine of up to 500PLN. The condition of the misdemeanor is that there is a request to leave the area (e.g. through a megaphone). Only after such a request, if you still do not leave the area (which should be conducted in a safe manner), the police may issue fines WHICH YOU WILL NEVER HAVE TO ACCEPT. It is likely that the police will want to hold people who have not accepted the fines. You should not take them - either at the action site or at the police station. Accepting a ticket is tantamount to admitting guilt and closing any legal path.

Entering an enclosed area or building

Entry to the enclosed area or building may be treated as a crime of ‘violation of the home’, threatened by imprisonment for a year, a fine or social work. Activists are regularly charged with this but they often end up being dismissed as there was no harm, or the punishment results in social work, or a small fine. For this charge, the area must be enclosed by human-made devices, not by nature. For crossing the boundary it must be clear that the enclosed boundary is human-made and intentional (there must be a fence or a wall). The mere presence of ‘No entry’ signage or a natural obstacle, such as a trench, rampart or bushes, is not recognised as though that person crossing such a barrier has committed any crime.

Contact with the police

It is very likely that there will be allegations of physical violation of a public official (physical injury or harm), which the police often treat as auxiliary charges and treats as extraordinary charges. This is a serious criminal charge, which is why you must protect yourself against it at all costs. It is best to avoid contact with the officers, and in the event of detention - do not resist and avoid violent gestures towards the police officers. If you can, document the procedure of detaining people from your group. Recording from detention often helps defend a detainee from a false accusation on the part of the police. If you can bypass the intervening officers or move away from them without physical contact, you are not committing a crime.

Destruction of property

The destruction of property is a serious criminal charge and is inconsistent with our action consensus. When close to any infrastructure, avoid activities that could permanently affect its condition. Fortunately, the infrastructure associated with mining and transporting coal is not made of porcelain, so with good judgement it will be enough to avoid this type of implication.

Liability

There is a likelihood of civil liability for losses that activists bring to companies from the fossil fuel sector. It is a fact that climate activism is about inconveniencing companies that are actively destroying the planet. Individuals recorded as bing on the site of the action can be sued by the company, and the company can demand compensation from them to compensate for its losses resulting from the suspension of the destruction of our planet for several hours. In such a situation, the persons sued collectively (eg 30 people in one blockade) are jointly liable, i.e. they must collectively pay the entire amount awarded and the court will not differentiate between who paid how much. First, however, a sentence must be passed, which will recognize that it is actually the person concerned, not someone else, that caused a loss to a certain amount and that it is reasonable to request that they pay the company compensation. Lawyers working for the Climate Camp will defend such people and we will regularly collect money for legal support.

Preparation for the action

Before the action, be sure to take part in an action workshop. They are organized daily - check the program or infopoint! Take part in the plenum and/or make sure that at least one person from your affinity group goes to them and gives you all the information.

Affinity groups

  • The affinity group is a small group of people working together during the action. The size of affinity groups may vary, but due to the conditions we suggest that they consist of 4 to 8 people.
  • Before leaving the camp, exchange personal information (name and surname, PESEL number/national ID number). In the event of detention, those in the group who are free will be able to pass on the data of the detained to someone in the anti-rep group, who will be at the appropriate police station and provide the necessary support.
  • Determine what your limitations are in participating in the action, how long you can stay, whether you can be stopped and in what situation you leave the action. Tell us about your physical abilities, weaknesses, diseases, fears, anxieties, how you react to difficult situations and how others can help you in this situation, also share your strengths.
  • Think of a slogan that you will be shouting, if you can not find each other in a crowd of people. You can also give yourself nicknames to make it harder to identify you.
  • As part of affinity groups, pair up - find a buddy - look after and support each other. It is easier to check where one person is and what is happening to them than to look after the entire affinity group.

What to take for the action?

Take a bottle of water, food, something sweet, clothes suitable for the weather (assuming you can stay outside for a long time, without shelter from the sun, rain and other conditions), a sleeping bag and a mat, full shoes, a first aid kit (at least 1 per group) saline solution (available at any pharmacy), sunscreen (preferably based on alcohol), medicines that you take on a permanent basis, telephone number of the anti-rep group (preferably written with a marker on the body). A set of items will be issued in the camp, this will include: a dust mask, a white coverall for industrial safety and a rescue blanket. Retrieve your set and take it for the action. We also recommend taking a personal ID or passport, because people who do not have documents can be detained for longer. You can find more in the section on refusing to give an identity.

If you decide to take your phone, ensure it has a security code, If it is a smartphone, make sure it is encrypted. Consider taking a phone that you do not use on a daily basis, without a contact list, messages, anything personal, etc.

What's better left behind?

All dangerous objects, illegal substances, alcohol, unnecessary items that can help identify you in photos, personal notes, notebooks, any other data bank. If you have a serious eye defect, wear glasses instead of contact lenses, it is safer in case of contact with pepper spray.

Can I cover my face?

In Poland, covering the face is not a separate offense or crime, both at the demonstration and outside it. We strongly recommend using dust masks, hoods and goggles, preferably throughout the duration of the action, but especially near cameras. It may also be a good idea to paint your face, especially around the eyes with a marker, or with makeup as this can significantly hamper the work of automatic face recognition programs.

During the action

During the action stay together, pay attention to each other, take care of your health and well-being. In the event of anyone from your group being detained, inform the anti-rep group by giving the name and PESEL/ID number of the detainee. If you know that this person has health problems, was injured, needs to take medication, suffers from allergies, etc., be sure to pass this information to the anti-rep group along with the personal information. After the action, support people in a worse mental or physical condition.

Safety

Remember that you are responsible not only for your own safety but also that of others around you. Be calm and analyze possible threats. If you do not know what to do, think and act calmly. It is better to give up further participation in the action than to expose yourself and others to serious risks. Remember that safety (as always) should be a priority for every person taking part in the action.

If for some reason you are close to working industrial machines (conveyors, excavators, etc.) keep a safe distance. Remember that such devices have many fast moving elements and approaching them can be dangerous. Industrial machines have emergency switches, but do not try to use them if you do not know how to do so. If an accident occurs, call for help and try to turn off the machine, taking care of your own safety first and foremost.

If you find yourself in an open-pit mine, remember that the steep sides of the open-pit can slip, resulting in a potentially fatal threat. Water flows on the mine's slopes, constantly reducing their stability. Do not walk on steep and very steep slopes, and if you happen to be in this area, keep distance from people around you and never, absolutely never, move above other people that you can fall on or drop something on.

How to behave in the action?

Stick with your group. Take care of the people around you. Stay calm, try to avoid violent reactions that can cause panic or escalate police violence. Avoid physical contact with police officers and other services, especially moving your arms and legs towards them, because any such contact can be enough basis for them to charge you.

Recording police activities

The presence of the camera irritates the police so they may try to force you to turn it off. However, there are no grounds for the officer to take any particular action towards you due to the fact of recording. In particular, the mere filming or photographing of a public official cannot be regarded as disrupting order or hindering interventions.

Identification

We recommend having a personal ID or passport for the action and giving it to the police when evacuated. The police can also identify us on the basis of another document with a photo or the statement of another person, but it is better to have an ID card. The authenticity of other documents may be more easily undermined and the police may treat this as an excuse to keep you for longer. If you cannot prove your ID, you will certainly be subjected to a personal (physical) examination. Providing false data, as well as refusing to provide a document if you have one, is an offense with risk of a fine. If you decide not to take your identity card, or anything else that can identify you and refuse to give your details, you will also commit an offense and the police may stop you until you have established your identity.

Refusal to provide identity

Activists in the Czech Republic and Germany successfully avoid criminal and civil sanctions by not taking ID cards and refusing to provide their data. In this case, it is also important not to disclose your data in a different way, e.g. by phone from the station, or by having a library card, credit card, etc. We do not recommend this strategy, because we cannot say how long the police will want to keep people who will act in this way. There will almost certainly also be an additional fine. However, if you are released and unidentified, there are no chances for any further consequences for participation in the action. If you intend to use this strategy, inform the anti-rep group BEFORE the action. Also leave an identity card in the camp, with some trusted person who does not participate in the action and will be in place all the time. Do not leave identification with us, or people you have just met. We do not recommend using this strategy, but we will also provide anti-rep support to those who will decide on it.

Personal control

Personal control is the so-called brisking of pockets and personal belongings. With a personal check, you have the right to demand the presence of a support person indicated by you. Personal control must be carried out by persons of the same sex. Demand that they give you a clothing search report and a receipt for picking up items. You do not have to sign anything.

Stopping

A policeman who stops you must:

  1. provide their rank, name and surname; non-uniformed police officers show their official ID so that you can read and record the data contained in it
  2. provide the legal basis and the reason for undertaking the official activity.

Insist on this. Prevention units do not have to show ‘plates’ in demonstrations, they must be done by their commanders. You have the right to store their ID numbers and names. If you have been detained - arguing, being difficult and jerking can escalate violence by the police, remember this in your behaviour.

On the way to the police station

Talk to other detainees about your rights. Exchange names, addresses, and if you want to be anonymous - fixed with a nickname, the first to come out could inform the anti-rep group. If you have some ‘"illegal’ items on you - that may harm you, try to get rid of them.

At the police station

The police person compiles a report in which they must determine the exact hour of detention and the reason for the detention. You are required to provide: name, surname, date of birth and data about your profession (eg laborer, clerk, student, unemployed). Claim your right to contact a lawyer! In your case, an attorney or lawyer will be provided by the anti-rep group, so call our number! A police officer will ask you if you bring a complaint to the court about detention. Say that you do want to bring it (remember, you do not have to do it at the police station, you have 7 days for it). The form that is provided is information about the reason for detention, with which you definitely disagree, refuse to sign it. The signature refusal may, however, result in a refusal to contact a lawyer. If you sign anything, make sure that there is no information regarding your admission of guilt or other documents! Always read exactly what you're signing! Request a copy of the form. Do not say anything after receiving it.

Refuse to testify - you have the right to do so.

If you have allegations from the Penal Code, enter your real home address. The police often check the address you provided. In the report of the interrogation, provide a current address for mail, one where you actually check the correspondence.

It is possible that the police will want to take you away and interrogate you as a witness who does not have the right to refuse to testify, but according to art. 183 section 1 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, you can avoid answering a question if responding could expose you or your immediate family to criminal liability. You have the right to notify your family and/or your lawyer, At the end of the leaflet there is a phone number to the attorney - say that you want to notify them. If the police refuse - insist, do not give up, threaten to lodge an official complaint. You have the right to a phone call to a lawyer (and not just one phone call - a missed call is not the end of the story).

You might remain in the cell until the investigator wants to interrogate you (to record the interrogation report or official note). Refuse to testify! Do not sign anything anymore! You will discuss defense tactics later with your lawyer. Usually the detention lasts about 2-6 hours. It cannot exceed 48 hours. The condition for a longer detention is a formal charge.

If you are a victim of police violence, you have the right to request an immediate examination by a doctor and issue a forensic examination (it is paid, and very important proof!). After release, you must immediately visit another doctor and re-perform a forensic examination (at any time of the day and night in emergency medical facilities, in the Department of Forensic Medicine, but also in a hospital, admission room) or even get an information card with a description of the injuries from the ambulance, hospital or surgeon. The document you get is a proof of crime recognized in court, otherwise you will not have any arguments in your defense.

After leaving the police station

Report to the anti-rep group! Provide information about other detainees. Report too if you have witnessed abuse, abuse of competence, detentions by the police. It often happens that victims learn many months later that legal proceedings are pending against them - then information on breaking the law is priceless.

It is also very important to make contact or constant contact with an anti-rep group if you have experienced any brutality. Leave us your phone number and email.

After the action, change your clothing if its appearance indicates that you participated in it. The police can search for participants based on photos and videos. Get back from the action in the affinity group, never alone.

After the action

The experience of brutality and repression, as well as the stress and emotions associated with participation in direct action, can leave us permanent marks or cause trauma. Let's be aware of this. Let's observe ourselves and other people around us.

Possible reactions include: conditions from agitation to dementia and fatigue; abdominal pain, headache, muscle tension, nausea; outbursts of anger and crying, panic attacks, fear, the feeling of emptiness and the inability to feel anything.

How to recover?

  • Stay for a while in a quiet place where you feel safe and with people you trust around you - they can take care of you.
  • Work through this experience. Find words to describe what happened. Tell your buddy about it in detail. Write it down, what happened. Express it in any way that suits you best.

Do you feel that you need support? Do not hesitate to come to the infopoint. We have for you first and foremost understanding and care, as well as more materials that can help you understand what is happening.

Do you want to help others?

Remember::

  • Strained people may want to isolate themselves, or have trouble asking for help. They may need more than compassion and intrusive interests but might need understanding and empathy.
  • If you see that something is wrong - do not wait for the person to ask for help. Offer to listen to them and ask if you can do something for them.
  • Nie udzielaj porad. W pracy z traumą czasem nie chodzi o znalezienie konkretnego rozwiązania, a o przepracowanie i opowiedzenie o trudnym doświadczeniu.

Do not give advice unless someone specifically asks you for it. In working with trauma, sometimes it is not about finding a specific solution, but about working through it and talking about a difficult experience.

The material was based on zines and booklets of collectives: Anarchist Black Cross and spina.

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