A group of climate activists in Italy are facing charges of forming a criminal organization.
The accusation is directed against members of the Ultima Generazione in Padua in northern Italy, a spokesman for the police unit Digos said on Saturday.
The Digos, which specializes in counter-terrorism, said the group is suspected of obstructing freedom of movement on the streets and defacing or defiling cultural property.
In some cases, only police intervention prevented "violent incidents" involving motorists in response to protests in traffic at rush hour.
According to La Repubblica newspaper, investigators justify the accusation of forming a criminal organization with the fact that actions of civil disobedience did not take place spontaneously, but were organized, discussed and weighed up by an internal hierarchy.
The activists criticized the move in a statement, saying "five ordinary citizens" were facing charges of having formed a criminal organization.
"Non-violent citizens are being treated as if they were mafiosi," the statement added.