WARSAW, Poland (AP) — A court in eastern Poland has acquitted environmentalists who had blocked government-ordered logging in one of Europe's last pristine forests that has been condemned by the European Union.
Last June, the activists chained themselves to heavy equipment, thus blocking for some time the large-scale felling of trees in the Bialowieza Forest. Police and forest guards forcibly removed them and took the incident to court.
A court in eastern Poland acquitted the environmentalists late Thursday, saying they had acted in the public interest, trying to protect valuable national assets.
The ruling goes against the government's insistence, that the extensive logging was a necessary step in the fight against the spread of the bark beetle.
Last month, a top EU court ruled that the felling of trees was in violation of environmental laws.