action picture
"Even though faces on the tv screens can say the opposite, people in
North Bohemia can live without politicians, but not without their forests and children."
- Honza Beranek, Hnuti DUHA

Greenpeace action at the headquarters of CEZ in Prague

On the last day of November 96, Greenpeace organized an action which was joined by members of Hnuti DUHA (Rainbow Movement) and Prague International Anti-Nuclear Office at the headquarters of the Czech electrical utility/monopoly CEZ. The protest was organized to demonstrate that CEZ is not fulfilling its promise to close down the SO2 emitting blocks of the coal plants in the Northern Bohemia. In fact, CEZ recently reopened a coal burning plant in Northern Bohemia despite promises that Temelin would have been finished to replace this need and obvious environmentally friendly alternatives (e.g., energy efficiency). We stressed the enormous environmental and social effects both on the North Bohemian forest and the inhabitants living in the area by keeping these blocks in operation. At the press conference, prior to the action, a report showing the quick alternative to this plant for the winter and the alternatives for the Czech power sector in years to come.

Four activists in white radioactive suits with CEZ logo and gas masks brought a simplified paper model of a coal plant with a slogan "The road to sustainability" (taken from CEZ propaganda). The other 15 activists in yellow suits were holding banners "Temelin strangles Northern Bohemia" and putting up large adhesive stickers in public places (which coincidentally found their way to the windows of the CEZ headquarters). The coal plant model spread black smoke and some ashes mostly towards the windows of CEZ which was fueled by none other than autumn leaves. The action was supported by a few intellectuals who came to see us and by a vast number of journalists and photographers, although no television representatives were present.

It is surprising that even though the action was visually well prepared and information was sent out in advance, the media coverage was minimal. Reasons for this may be different, though activists have some ideas as to why. On the same day as the action, many newspapers published an advertisement insert called "Our successes on the road to prosperity" paid by CEZ.

It seems that even though the action was technically well prepared we will have to use more direct ways to get people's attention. Next to a neverending stream of scandals (like post-election fights), there are also often forgotten but still more important basic aspects of our lives. Even though faces on the tv screens can say opposite, people in the North Bohemia can live without politicians but not without their forests and children.


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