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Greenpeace activists climb onto roof of Poland's Environment Ministry in protest

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By Matthew Holroyd
The demonstration was ended by authorities after three hours.
The demonstration was ended by authorities after three hours.   -   Copyright  PLTVP via EBU

Greenpeace activists have climbed onto the roof of Poland's Environment Ministry to demand better preservation of the country's forests.

A large banner was hung from the building in Warsaw in the early hours of Monday morning with the inscription "Stop the devastation! Time for protection".

An accompanying caricature puppet also showed Environment Minister Michal Wos cutting down a tree.

Greenpeace says that the "peaceful demonstration" was brought to an end by authorities after thee hours.

The NGO added that activists respected social distancing rules during the COVID-19 pandemic and wore nose and mouth coverings.

Warsaw police detained 15 people at the scene, including four who were "forcibly removed" by officers.

Greenpeace has demanded that at least 15% of Poland's forests are protected and permanently excluded from any felling schemes.

Michal Wos has also been accused of not doing enough to protect the country's nature and land.

“We need a minister who, in the face of the climate and ecological crisis, is able to take the side of people and nature, not of those who exploit and destroy the remnants of this valuable nature for power and money,” said Marta Grundland, coordinator of the forest campaign Greenpeace Poland.

The environmental NGO further voiced concern that no new national parks have been established in Poland for nearly 20 years.

Michal Wos responded to the criticism on Twitter, denouncing the claims as "fake news" and pointing to information released by Poland's State Forest Management.

The European Union has placed particular emphasis on deforestation in the new European Green Deal, which was submitted for resolution in January.

Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic are among the countries under observation by the EU as the bloc continues to push for climate neutrality by 2050.