GB No. 3(22)/96
Although the blockade of a nuclear power station "Temelin" we were invited to was to start on the 7th, we (i.e. myself and Marek Tworek) set off on the `rd of July. One never knows when one has to cover so many kilometers by hitch-hiking. This time we were lucky, and in the evening of the same day, we were wandering around the corners of Prague, enjoying an unforgettable taste of a certain, very old drink... Next morning we enjoyed the comfort of travelling by Czech railway (everything you write about them in "Zielone Brygady" is true), and a few hours later we were departing from Czeskie Budziejowice in the direction of Temelin by bus.
And so we are getting off the bus. Behind us there are huge chimneys of the plant, a bit closer a very solid fencing and a row of turrets with armed guards and employees of the "Group 4" Bodyguard Agency (America!). Everything is rather terrifying... We take several photos and go further on. A narrow road leads us among wheat and beans. When we reach an ecological camp, "u Temelina" organized by HNUTI DUHA (1), most guys are busy with pouring liquid concrete into special metal constructions which will soon be used as the main tools of the blockade. We greet our hosts, pay for meals, and pitch our tent. Then we rest for a little while. Late at night we play eco-partisans...
Next morning the whole area is covered with anti-nuclear grafitti. It can be seen on a steep roof of a shop (in the direct neighbourhood of the plant), on billboards along the road from Budziejowice to Tyn nad Vltava, on a pipeline and on the road itself. One of countless slogans is in Polish and says: Nuclear energy ? No, thanks!
On the 5th of July we return to Czeskie Budziejowice for a moment. Our visit is connected with the concert titled Hardcore Protiv Jete (Jete is a shortening of E.J. "Temelin"). The participants of the blockade get a 10 per cent discount, which gets us each an additional beer. We enjoy ourselves - extraordinarily... We spend the night in the Budziejowice office of HNUTI DUHA. We are a bit shocked with its equipment.
On the 6th of July we wake up late. The first part of a non-violence training starts (completed on the next day). Theoretically and practically we consider many variants of all possible situations and threats from police, anti-terrorist squads, workers and employees of the plant and various provocators. A well done workshop! In the afternoon we collect signatures under the petition for the future National Park of Turnice. After dinner with Austrians, Finns, Germans, a Slovenian, Slovaks, an Irishwoman and an American we constitute an international support group, discussing possible actions and then... go to sleep.
On Sunday, around 3 p.m. we leave the camp. On the road one can see how big our group is; a group worried with the policy of the Czech government
(with Prime Minister Klauss). This gives us more energy and convinces us that we are right. At 4 p.m. sharp a meeting for mass media starts. The participants of the blockade, activists of ecological and anti-nuclear movements from many parts of the world, a Czech MP, Mrs. Buskova (the last defender of the Czech democracy), a philosopher, a band with a guitar, many colorful banners, and dozens of journalists and reporters take part. When the interviews are over, we start the blockade.
Out of twelve entrance gates we block only half, so the effectiveness of the whole enterprise is limited a priori. But it does not diminish our determination and conviction and our care for the Earth. With true zeal we construct barricades across the roads leading to the gates of the plant, using all heavy objects we can find on the area. The larger the barricades, the more we believe in the success of our resistance. Girls stick bunches of field flowers into these incredible constructions. In this way we create barricades of peace and emotional attachment to our Mother Earth.
In the meantime, cars deliver iron-concrete constructions. We are going to chain ourselves to them with special chains and snap-hooks. Each such barrel weights about 600 - 1000 pounds, and inside it - two human hands, chained to a vertical bar. A net of such bars quickly covers the width of the whole gate, actually half of it. The other half is made by people, desperate creatures. It is slowly getting dark. Together with Marek we make a fire and watch it. "Polish fire is burning", say my friends from the barricade. It is a very good opportunity to get to know one another, to make new contacts and, although sometimes it is difficult to find proper words in a foreign tongue, the language barrier is not that important. Still, we are members of one tribe and understand one another despite many existing differences. We have one common aim and love (2).
The first night passes practically without any sleep. We all wait for the police. There is some news from other parts of the barricade - two barricades have already been broken. Police forces surrounded the plant and arrested some people. Several managed to escape to a forest, but the police encirclement is getting tighter. It is becoming more and more difficult to make contact with other gates as the police confiscate walkie-talkies. The telephone connection with the camp has been broken, too. We are waiting for our turn now. At dawn we can hear the sirens of police cars blaring everywhere. Tension increases, but after a short time we know that it was a false alarm. We feel exhausted but in good humour. More and more people would like to be arrested soon. At a police station one could have a rest and sleep in a warm cell.
But meanwhile we are still waiting, barricades destroyed during the night are restored, and many people who were arrested earlier return. The weather is getting worse and at about 4 p.m. we (i.e. Marek and I) decide to go to sleep. When we reach our tent a rain shower starts. It will not stop until next morning. Our sleeping bags are completely wet but we sleep well nevertheless. We have nothing dry to change into, but try to keep fit. At 6 a.m. we return to our barricade.
The 9th of July is the third day of our action. Czech eco-partisans provite reporters and journalists with valuable materials. First they build a road barricade on the territory of the plant, and hang banners on buildings belonging to E.J. But it is only the beginning of "Group 4"'s troubles with protestors. A few hours later reporters have an opportunity to take photos of detailed plans for a newly-constructed plant, pilfered by our people! I wonder if anybody can be cheated now with declarations of the 100 per cent safety of this strategic point on the map of The Czech Republic... Also today, somebody takes a photo of a blocked bus whose driver injured one of the protesters (I saw this photo in a "Super - Express" daily).
Around noon we both move to an empty house near the plant. There are many such empty buildings in this area. We think about people whose dreams of owning their own house in a quiet area turned into a merciless dislodgement. Nobody knows who covered the costs of it...
In the evening we witness the climax of the whole blockade which refutes a myth of a perfect protection of the plant. At exactly midnight, a group of Czech activists climb up one of the four huge cooling chimneys and we can admire an unusual show of fireworks! That is really something unusual, and the pictures taken during the ball became almost immediately world -known.
The 10th of July is the last day of the action. We did not see police forces at our gate, though they separated us from our friends at the neighbouring gate. Constant weather changes, fatigue and threats of confused workers (if the police does not restore order here, we'll do it!) were factors which decided the termination of the protest. At 4 p.m. the last event happened; namely all participants of the blockade marched in peace towards the gate encircled by the police. Unfortunately, this form of protest turned out to be easy prey for the police who brushed aside all demonstrators. At the very end a sweet woman gave a mini concert, expressing her gratefulness to all participants for their determination. The next day we were already on our way back to Poland, coming home, where The Shell Corporation had prepared the next holiday attraction for all green partisans.
ul. Borkowska 9/1
62 - 800 Kalisz
reprinted from Zielone Brygady Sept. '96
(1) HNUTI DUHA, Jakubske Namesti 7, Brno 60200, The Czech Republic
(2) This "tribe conscience" is strongly stressed in Jesse Wolf Hardin's text "Ponowne Zdziczenie", published in a holiday issue of "Dzikie Życie".