Police carry off a protester
They faced mobs with chains and brass knuckles, the clubs of police,
the dirty tricks and infiltrations of the FBI... They were prepared for
all this from the moment they decided to go against the grain and take on the powers that be.
- Abbie Hoffman


The Blockade at Temelin is a non-violent protest and all participants
will be required to sign the Non-Violence guidelines below:

  • Our attitude will be one of openness, friendliness and respect towards all people we encounter.
  • We will use no violence, verbal or physical, towards any person.
  • We will not bring drugs or alcohol other than for medical purposes.
  • We will not run from authorities.
  • We will not carry weapons.

However, even participating in the blockade non-violently can lead to arrest.
For those who choose to risk arrest, we include the following section.

Questions and Answers concerning arrests at the Temelin Blockade

Introduction from a veteran International Blockader

In the Temelin blockade of '96, a whole bunch of people were arrested after climbing a fence and lighting fireworks from the cooling towers. There were 5 internationals arrested along with 20 or so Czechs. The internationals were from the United States, Ireland, Britain, Austria, and Slovenija. We gave ourselves up to security peacefully after lighting the fireworks. They drove us off the plant and turned us over to the police. Then we boarded a large bus and were taken to the local police station - not to the one in Ceske Budevice. There were only a few officers there to question us and they decided to take care of the Czech activists first, so we had to wait a bit longer. But the organizers of the camp were allowed to bring watermelon and hot tea for us while we waited in this conference room together - not a jail. We laughed and talked a lot.

After wondering what we were going to say about passports, we decided that we wouldn't give them to the police. The first officer told us that he would have to turn us over to the border police if we did not give them our passports. We told him to call our various embassies. The next officer told us that we had to pay 1000 crowns each and then we would be released. This seemed to be too much considering the Czechs only had to pay 200 crowns for the same crime. The third officer came in and told us that the fine wouldn't be 1000 crowns, but all the money we had in our pockets (apparently, they didn't think we had 1000 crowns each). We told them to contact our embassies. Finally, an officer came in and said that if we just showed them some form of indentification then all we would have to do is sign a statement and pay 200 crowns. We decided this sounded like their best offer, so we took it. We showed identification - some passports, some just had other picture identifications. Then we each signed a statement which said that we had committed the crime of trespass; paid the 200 crown fine, and in less than 2 hours after being arrested at the plant we were put on our own bus going back to the camp for the next day at the blockade.

Do I have to get arrested to stop nuclear power?

Absolutely not - there are many other ways you can effectively protest the plant's construction other than being arrested at one of the gates. In fact, only a few people have ever gotten arrested at the plant in the previous blockades. The police have generally warned us, as well, prior to arrest. Those who wish to get arrested stay where they are, and those who don't get out of the way.

Does Czech law distinguish between political acts and criminal offenses?

No, the Czech Republic may have a dissident playwright for a President but it still considers acts of protest to be crimes, like most countries. In Czech law there are basically two kinds of offenses: prestupe and Trestny cin. The first is like a US "misdemeanor" or can be considered a "minor offense" which can be resolved without going to court via police warning or fine. The second type of offense is similar to the US "felony" and covers more serious crimes which must be resolved through the courts and will usually end with imprisonment. In this article we will use the US terms "misdeanor" and "felony".

What kind of things do protesters usually get arrested for?

Traditionally people at the blockade have been arrested for a sort of trespassing. But some clarification is needed. The act of trespassing on another's property alone is not cause for prosecution. According to Czech law 200/90 (violations code), a person becomes an offender, when he/she walks on to another's property and disobeys the request of a public official (e.g., police, regional council officials, members of government officials, etc.) who asks him/her to leave. A property owner, factory director, watchperson, member of an independent security service or similar person is not a public official. Trespassing is only a misdemeanor when such trespassing causes harm, such as by damaging or destroying objects (e.g., a gate, railings, a fence, etc.).

The other illegal act most common at the blockade is none other than the blocking of a public road. This is treated as a misdemeanor. This act becomes illegal once the police decide that the blockaders are making the roads unsafe and causing traffic conjestion. This does not mean that the police will arrest everyone blocking at the gates of the plant. In fact there are certain "main gates" which the police like to keep open - these are the gates where arrests are most likely to occur.

What about laws on general assembly?

Yes, unfortunately, Czech law does outlaw general assemblies (e.g., protests, marches, etc), when these gatherings have been specifically banned by the law. However, this law can not be used against the participants - only the organizers. The illegal act of organizing an illegal gathering is a misdemeanor and requires the payment of a 1000 crown fine. By the way, the organizers of the blockade have yet to be decided upon and will remain anonymous throughout the gathering - more than likely it will be organized "spontaneously by consensus".

Is violence a useful tactic when dealing with police?


In the nonviolence guidelines which you will be asked to sign before entering the camp, we distinctly say that this is a peaceful protest and we will not use violence, verbal or physical, while protesting the blockade - this includes dealing with the police. Whoever uses violence with the intent to thwart, change or otherwise affect the performance of a police officer or public official commits a felony. This offense is always prosecuted when violence is used against police (but it is not a felony to simply grab an officer's clothing - this is only a "rough offense" which is considered a misdemeanor, not a felony). The act must involve violence directed against the body, for example, a slap, a kick or punch for it to be considered a felony. A police officer receives the protection given to public officials, even when carrying out a decision of the state administration which is itself illegal. However, if a police officer steps beyond his or her competence and intervenes without authorization, he/she does not receive this protection. Nevertheless, it makes no difference if the officer intervenes on public or private land. In short and in keeping with the nonviolence guidelines which you have signed: do not use violence against the police - you're too civilized for that anyway.

Is there other vital information I should know about arrests?

Yes, a couple of things you should know before showing up to the camp or blockade. The same penalty (1000 crown fine - misdemeanor) which can be used against the organizers of an illegal assembly anyone can be used against anyone who carries a weapon, an explosive, or other objects with which it is possible to harm someone during the blockade. This will be used by the police for any item which could be inferred from the circumstances that it is to be used for violence. For example, when people gather while going camping, they can carry a knife or a field shovel on themselves without implying that they intend to use the violently. However, when such objects are carried by those demonstrating against an atomic power plant, it probably would be considered a crime. The police have been known to generally stop people going to and from the camp for regular pat downs. In other words, don't bring anything to the gates - even a pocket knife - that may be considered a weapon by the police.

For misdemeanors, the police can give a warning, a fine, or other punishments for illegal acts which were not discussed above or have not yet been seen in the history of the resistence against Temelin. But there are general legal guidelines for misdemeanors which the police must follow: the fine can cost no more than 1000 crowns; minors (younger than 18 years old) can only be fined half the normal amount. Underage persons - those who have not reached 15 years of age - are not accountable and cannot be punished for misdemeanors or felonies.

What about spending time in jail - should I plan to take a month or two off?

Don't worry, no one at the previous Temelin camps have seen long term jail times. In fact, for the crimes listed above we fall under the guidelines of short-term detainment. Here are the detials:

The two types of short-term detainment:

1. A person can be detained: if s/he is suspected to have committed a felony or was caught in the act of committing a felony, when it is necessary for the police to determine identity, prevent escape, or to obtain evidence. The detained person must immediately be interrogated and presented with the reasons for detainment. The court must be informed of the detainment, and must either release the person to freedom, or impose a pre-trial jailing. This should last no longer than 24 hours.

Whenever the police have a description of someone they are looking for, they have the right to interrogate any similar-looking person for the purpose of determining identity. But only in this case: otherwise interrogation is excluded.

2. A person can be detained because of pre-trial jailing but police can not order this, only a judge can, and only under one of the following circumstances:

It is not sufficient to merely suspect that the accused will behave this way; concrete evidence must be given to show such dangers. A person can only be taken into jail before trial in the presence of a defense lawyer.

The first type of short term detainment has commonly been the case during previous blockades at Temelin and there is little reason to believe that this year will be different. Therefore, we have decided to focus on this type of detainment.

The detainee has the right not to testify and the right to request a defense lawyer, but you should know that detainment will not be extended because the police are trying to find your lawyer. Refusal to show identity results in interrogation to determine whether or not the person in question is being looked for by the police. Fundamentally, I recommend that neither detainees or witnesses choose to testify. They may always refuse testimony under criminal code 100. It is always possible to demand to be informed of one's rights, to be presented with the text of legal regulations, etc.

When somebody other than the police detains a person committing a felony (not a misdemeanor) then the period of time spent under their detainment does not count toward the 24 hours the offender could spend in jail. So for example, if Group 4 Security at the plant detains you after committing a felony for 12 hours and then turns you over to the police, you may still have to do spend another 24 hours in jail at the police station.

Minors must always be represented by a defense lawyer throughout the criminal proceedings. For legal adults (above 18) legal representation is necessary throughout the legal proceedings only when they are held in custody or if they face a high punishment. Foreigners on our territory must be guided by Czech laws, and (theoretically) have the same position as Czech citizens. During interrogation the police must provide an interpreter. Foreigners, especially illegal residents of the Czech Republic, should also keep in mind that their legal status is unclear and their treatment depends on individual judges/court members.

Can I be arrested just for being at the camp?
No. Hnuti Duha owns the land, you are not trespassing there. If you want to come in support but are truly afraid of being arrested, by all means come to the camp. There will be plenty of ways to get involved that do not require trespass or any kind of illegal action. Notices requesting volunteers for childcare, camp cleanup, assistance in the kitchen, etc. plus a description of all the fun and games will be posted in the registration tent.

Other Questions

If you have other questions which would deter you from coming to the camp or the blockade or ones that you think would be useful for people to know. Please email Piano and they will track down the lawyers we have hired for handling these situations. We will get back to you. Thanks.


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