More than 230 actions in 18 countries from Indonesia to Morocco, are listed on the Chernobyl-Day website, many in France and Italy. It shows that the lecagy of Chernobyl can still be felt and the accident is becoming over time more and more a symbol of a dangerous technology. It is now time to think about actions for next years 25th anniversary of the catastrophe.
To view the list go to www.chernobyl-day.org but we will pay some attention to anti-nuclear actions in two countries: Germany and Belarus
Germany: 'renaissance' of the movement
Without any doubt, the largest ant-nuclear actions took place in Germany. More than 140.000 people took to the streets on April 24 not only to commemorate the catastrophe of Chernobyl, but to demand an immediate end to nuclear power. Demonstrators formed a 120-kilometer (75-mile) human chain that stretched from the nuclear power plant in Kruemmel through the city of Hamburg along the Elbe River to the nuclear plant in Brunsbuettel, on the North Sea coast. Police in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein told the AFP news agency that there were "clearly more than 100,000 participants." Organizers estimated the total number at about 120,000. But is was only one of three large actions. In southern Germany, 17-20,000 demonstrators surrounded the reactor of Biblis and in Ahaus some 7,000 protested at the interim radioactive waste storage facility. After the large demonstration in Berlin, last September, when 50,000 people participated just before the general elections, this is a clear signal that large parts of society are objecting the planned Chancellor Angela Merkel's decision to revoke a law that would shut down nuclear plants by 2020.
Although it was expetcted that tens of thousands of people would take part in the protests, the numbers exceeded all expectations. Political commentators claiming it is a rebirth of the movement and reminded at the 1970s and 1980s when nuclear power was a central issue in dividing society. Activists say it is not a rebirth of the movement, because they've always been there, but it is definitely a 'renaissance' of the anti-nuclear power movement.
Belarus: Chernobyl and anti-nuclear struggle
On April 26, the anarchist initiative Antinuclear Resistance held a few actions dedicated to the anniversary of Chernobyl disaster. It is common knowledge that a traditional demonstration "Charnobylski Shlah" is being held on this day organised by different political forces of the country. More than 5 years anarchists represent the most active and (for the last 2 years) the most numerous group of protesters. This year was different. Not only did anarchists not attend the demonstration, but called to boycott it and hold other antinuclear actions. They made their action in front of a movie theater in Minsk, playing samba-rhythms, shouting out anarchist and antinuclear slogans and delivering a speech explaining anarchists position concerning construction of the nuclear reactor. Apart from this, the actioners distributed leaflets, attracted attention by flags and fusees.
During this picket a small group of activists attended the traditional Charnobylski Shlah to distribute other leaflets named "Why are anarchists absent from Charnobylski Shlah?" Three main reasons were listed:
- this year the authorities made a fence with metals detector points, seaching and filming everyone who entered the place of the demo.
- The demonstration is losing its protesting character becoming rather a mournful event. Most of the people there don't care about the new power plant, they only want to commemorate the Chernobyl victims, which is stupid. Some of the official organisers even claimed that they will give anarchists and gays to the police as instigators and wanted to ban anarchist speeches and drum music during the event.
- Presence of the far-right and clear fascists on the latest demonstrations without any protest from other "liberals". It's become clear that the opposition would tolerate everyone to have more mass actions and will take the side of those if anarchists try to attack them. Anarchists will never march peacefully with the fascists, even if that prevents them from expressing our view in public.
For these reasons anarchist groups don't see a point in participating in "Charnobylski Shlah" this year (and maybe any more).
Sources: www.chernobyl-day.org / German press reports, 24 & 24 April 2010 / Email: Anarchist initiative Antinuclear Resistance, 27 April 2010
Contact in Belarus: antiatombel[at]riseup.net