GB No. 2(17)/95


photo 1

On July 14, 1995 the Kraków Group of Green Federation (Krakowska Grupa Federacji Zielonych) protested against the French intention of starting nuclear tests in Mururoa.

It was a very hot day. Despite this, around 11 o'clock a group of protesters carrying a banner saying "NUCLEAR TESTS - STOP!" and wearing gas masks set off towards the Market Square, which is situated 100 metres away from our office in Kraków. The organizers of "French Days" had planned to raise Polish and French flags at noon, to the accompaniment of "Marseillaise" and "Mazurek D1browskiego". The General Consul of France and the President of Kraków had announced their presence. photo 2

The banner was huge and caused immediate consternation in the police forces which were keeping order. They only managed to shout at the demonstrators, who were passing by quickly, ordering them to wind it up. After that, the police did not play any role in our demonstration. What luck! We noticed marching soldiers from the "Podhalanczycy" orchestra. We followed them all around the Market Square and arrived at the place where the flags were to be raised. We stood in the background, a ten-person squad which was accompanying the flags. Our yellow and black banner was the background to the white, red and blue French flag and white and red Polish flag. Neither the diplomats nor the media had expected that. The banner was the silent central issue. Our photographer asked me to stand in a row with the soldiers while wearing a gas mask and a T-shirt saying "NUCLEAR TESTS - STOP!" The soldier I was standing by said under his breath, "What the hell is going on?". What he heard from under the gas mask was: "It's you, me, our children". The silence was broken only by pieces of music played by the orchestra. When interviewed, one of us said, "We stay silent. French politicians need time to think. France has to stop nuclear tests". French tourists were coming up to us and supporting our demonstration.

After several minutes of standing guard on the anniversary of destroying the Bastille, undisturbed by the police, the people from Green Federation (Federacja Zielonych)rolled up their banner, took off the gas masks and returned to office work. Will the President of France decide not to start nuclear tests in Mururoa?

Darek Szwed
Green Federation - Kraków

repr. from Zielone Brygady 8/95

GB No. 2(17)/95 | Contents