France’s highest administrative court suspended the dissolution of the climate activist group Les Soulevements de la Terre (SLT) on Friday, saying it was not clear the group was inciting violence.
The SLT was shut down in June by a government order accusing it of encouraging sabotage and material damage. The decree refers to protests that have resulted in police clashes, including against a farm reservoir in western France in March and a rail link in the Alps in June.
The move was immediately criticized by the left opposition and NGOs and SLT appealed the decree.
“The judges consider that there are serious doubts about the qualification to provoke violent acts against people and property, as defined in the dissolution decree,” the French Council of State said in a statement.
The SLT contested the accusations of violence in a court hearing on Tuesday, calling for the order to be suspended so that activists can regain their freedom of speech and assembly while they await an appeal trial.
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“There is also a global emergency,” a spokesman for the SLT, Basile Dutertre, told the court. “We are living through the hottest month in our history, and water resources are at their lowest.”
Pascale Leglise, the legal representative for the interior ministry, said that the group’s methods of direct action that encourage the destruction of private objects are sufficient grounds for the state to close the group.