What to expect at the Temelin Blockade
Hnuti DUHA has been organizing blockades at the Temelin plant for 4 years (see History of the Movement for details). Through this experience we have a relatively good idea of what to expect this year. But it should be pointed out, the participants of the action dictate what will happen. Nevertheless, here is a chronological possibility to stimulate your imagination:
At the center of the Czech environmental movement lies the actions at Temelin. In a lot of ways, it is the starting point for resistence in a country which has little to no experience in direct action for ecological causes. The citizens of the Czech Republic are certainly wary of such strategies and the Czech press have reported the actions inconsistently since the beginning. This along with other idealogical factors have led Hnuti DUHA and the other local environmental groups to stress the importance of nonviolence.
Therefore, prior to the blockade (July 4-5) Hnuti DUHA and other international nonviolence activists will be presenting nonviolence training seminars for the blockaders. At this time, participants will learn how to deal with police, media, and workers, simulate arrests procedures, and gain some understanding of the law (for general details on this topic check out: "Do I have to get arrested?" section). Plus, you will be given information about the particular gates (e.g. likely arrest, international vs. local participants, etc.) and be asked to choose a gate for the coming days. You may volunteer for the tactical team which will be responsible for emergency situations. You will also be asked to sign the nonviolence guidelines as a committment to the practice of nonviolence.
On July 6th, we will walk from the camp through the villages which have been bought up by the Czech utility, CEZ, to the Church across the street from one of the main gates. Once we arrive here, we will hear the speeches of prominent activists, philosophers, and government officials who wish to show their disapproval of the Temelin project. This will be a time of inspiration and solidarity before the long days ahead.
After the speeches, you and your friends will simply walk to your respective gates and sit down. The Group 4 security officers will be aware of your intentions far in advance, but will probably not make any advances for arrest until the next morning when the trucks try to enter the plant. Therefore, you will probably spend the evening in the presence of friends, building barricades, sitting around a fire, awaiting the barrels and tubes, and generally getting organized for the coming day.
* Barricades - in the past, activists have been harrassed by workers in the middle of the night. One year, a worker attempted to run over activists sitting in front of the gates. To prevent these events from occurring again, we have built barricades in front of the gates using anything we have found in the area (e.g. trees, fencing, boulders, etc.). The barricade was simply used as a safety measure to prevent midnight harrassment of activists - it was not used as a practical device in blocking the workers from entering the plant. The building of barricades will probably take place on the evening of July 6th - this evening will generally be used as a time for preparations.
* Tubes - only in the last two years have we used tubes as a technical device in blocking the road. As you can see in the picture, activists are locked at the wrists inside concrete tubes to prevent the police from removing single participants at a time. As we have evolved in our equipment, so has the police in dealing with us. We once believed the tubes would be the end all technology in blocking the road. Instead, the police brought enough men and women to remove a whole circle of activists connected by tubes. Please note: they can not do it any other way. The tubes are designed to prevent the police from disconnecting the circle, unless an activist is beaten or otherwise convinced to remove the link - which is highly unlikely. The tubes are now an old technology at the gates themselves and are now used only by the tactical team or in the short term while waiting for barrels to arrive. You may come in contact with them on Sunday, July 6th or if you decide to join the tactical team.
* Barrels - last year we introduced barrels into our gate security strategy. This technology should enable us to hold the gates permanently and without harm. Basically, it's the same design as the tubes - a connection of activists linked together to block the road. The only difference is the barrels are filled with concrete and it requires 4 or 5 people to push the barrel on its side and roll it away. With this amount of weight and the activists connection, it should be incredibly difficult for the police to clear a gate. Last year, the police we able to clear a single gate and keep the plant operating, only because they rushed in on Sunday night (around 3 in the morning) before the barrels were distributed to all the gates. At your gate, you will be asked to take shifts with other activists to ensure that people occupy the barrels and keep the connection throughout the blockade. During action training, you will become more familiar with the barrels and the implications of being an occupant.
As mentioned before, the blockade itself depends on the people involved and the unpredictable actions of the police, the weather, and other factors. Then again, we expect onsite actions from the participants and we're planning other stuff in advance like cultural evenings, food, housing, workshops, and other things.
The blockade will have to end, unfortunately. We will try to hold the gates as long as possible but we can't ask the participants to live there on the cement, chained to barrels (though some of us might think about it). Therefore, we will end the blockade at the request of the participants. Last year, the end of the blockade culminated with a march to the main gate being occupied by police. There we found ourselves standing off in a line and then eventually decided to shut down the road, which didn't make the police very happy (fifty activists were arrested). With larger numbers this year, we expect an even greater show of force before saying goodbye.
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