GB No. 3(18)/95
On Friday, 13th of October, not normally considered a good day to do things, at 3 p.m., a rally against nuclear tests conducted by France took place in Krakow. It was organized by Witek from the Green Federation, in conjunction with an anarchist group. Among the speakers were Witek and myself. (John Hallam from FOE Sydney, who organized the demonstration on 14th of July and some subsequent rallies there against French and Chinese nuclear testing).
The rally commenced under the statue of Adam Mickiewicz in the main square (see pictures on this page), where there were speeches by Witek and myself stressing the concern Poles should feel for the kind of nuclear weapons development which the Muroroa tests will be helping to make possible.
The kind of weapons development that current nuclear tests goes towards is not so much the development of very large warheads for strategic missile forces (though one very large 150Kt blast has now been done by the French at Fangataufa atoll). It is rather, in the words of the French testers themselves, the development of 'nice' 'clean' warheads that can be used in a battlefield situation, such as a war in Europe or the middle east.
If a war involving nuclear weapons were to ever occur in Europe, it is tactical nuclear weapons, or 'battlefield' nuclear weapons, which would be used first. Current nuclear testing is directed precisely toward the perfecting of such weapons.
And it would be on Polish, Slovak, Czech, and European Russian soil that these weapons would be most likely to be used, though they might also be used on German or French territory.
In addition, the continuance of French and also Chinese nuclear testing, encourages other nations to commence testing again also. The most likely country to begin nuclear testing again would be Russia. Russia has already threatened that if Poland joins NATO, it will become a target for Russian missiles. Russian testing must be of the utmost concern for Polish security. Yet the fact is that if France continues to test, it is giving Russia's military precisely the excuse they need to start testing also.
French (and also Chinese) nuclear testing is thus a direct threat to Polish security.
The rally was attended by a lively crowd of about 150-200 people, who marched directly to the French consulate, 150m away in Stolarska street.
There, we chanted 'Stop Nuclear Testing' in Polish, and some of us managed it in French also.
Finally, we did what all nuclear testers would like to do with a Pacific island: We blew it up. However, our 'test' was just a small firecracker that demolished a paper-made island, so we didn't vaporize Krakow like the real thing would have done.
Finally, we lit candles for the victims of nuclear testing from Nevada to Semipalatinsk and Novaya Zemlaya to the Pacific (and not forgetting the Australian Aboriginals who were contaminated by British nuclear tests), and stood in silence.
The rally was accompanied by a very large police contingent, who said they were there to 'protect' us from attack by skinheads. I don't know if their presence was reassuring or intimidating, but both they and the participants behaved themselves, and nobody got arrested.
The rally gained coverage in local TV programs and on national radio, as well as some newspaper coverage.
Overall however, the issue of French testing has not been a vigorous one in Poland. The pacific is seen as faraway, and there is a feeling that French nuclear arms may in some way 'protect' Poland. Unfortunately, this is far from the truth. Nuclear arms don't 'protect' anybody, and is only likely to encourage the use of tactical weapons on this country's soil, which will simply destroy this country.
The irony of the situation is that my own country, Australia, is much further away from where the weapons tested at Muroroa will actually be used: They are hardly going to be used against Micronesia, New Zealand, or Australia.
And the country on whose soil they are most likely to be used thinks the Pacific is far away, and hopes they might afford some 'protection'.
Full credit goes to Witek for having organized an event that was well publicized and had the right atmosphere, and for managing relations with the Police in a way that avoided confrontation and kept the issue where it needed to be: on what could be a survival issue for Poland.
Nuclear Campaigner, FOE Sydney,
at Federacja Zielonych - Kraków
Sławkowska 12, PL-31-014 Kraków