– Nuclear power conferences hit by protests in London
– Rolls Royce factory targeted
– Rabbits against ASDA and Tesco in Cambridge
Riots in Siberia over coal mine deaths
Blasts in coal mines in Siberia on 8th May have led to the deaths of at least 66 people, including many rescue workers dying in a second explosion hours after the first one. Searches for the final missing workers have now been called off. This has been one of the deadliest incidents in mining since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Russian prosecutors have said they will investigate all coal mines and open a criminal case against the general director of the Raspadskaya mine, which is owned by steelmaker Evraz and controlled by tycoon Alexander Abramov and billionaire Roman Abramovich.
Following the disaster, workers have been protesting dangerous working conditions and insufficient pay. Up to 10,000 people have been demonstrating, blocking the Trans-Siberian railway. Riot police broke up the demonstration, arresting 28 people and injuring more, although the state media ignored the protests entirely.
Every year millions of tonnes of Russian coal are imported into the UK and burned in UK coal-fired power stations, such as the Cockenzie Power Station in East Lothian, Scotland.
On 17th May a group of 50 people from the group Roundup Monsanto blockaded the main Monsanto plant at Bergschenhoek in the Netherlands. Roundup Monsanto wants Monsanto to back out of the seed market and demands an end to patents on seeds and living organisms.
Monsanto, together with other agro-chemical multinationals, is lobbying the Dutch government and the EU for changes in legislation that would make it easier for large companies to control the seed market and food production. Monsanto owns 23% of the worldwide market for commercial seeds. In the last five years, it has bought up three large seed companies: De Ruiter Seeds, Western Seeds, and Seminis. This means Monsanto now dominates the market for vegetable seeds and seedlings, as well as being the market leader in genetically engineered soy, corn, sugar beets, and cotton.
The blockade succeeded in closing off the two most important access doors to the Monsanto office onsite while banners were put up with the message: “Imagine, monopoly of food, poisonous agriculture, The World according to…Monsanto”. The Monsanto logo was also subvertised. Employees and customers were given coffee, tea and background information when they arrived at the scene.
On Tuesday 18th May, campaigners from the Stop Nuclear Power Network protested outside the Financing Nuclear Power and Nuclear Interim Storage conferences in London. The protesters held banners saying ‘Green solutions not nuclear greenwash’ and ‘Green our future, No to nuclear’, leafleted delegates and the public, demanding an end to nuclear waste production and inviting delegates to invest in a green future.
Ministers in the new coalition government have said no public subsidies will be offered for new nuclear build, yet no nuclear power station in the world has been build without public subsidy. The nuclear industry has failed for decades to find a solution to its radioactive waste which remains dangerous for tens of thousands of years.
On Sunday 16th May, the distribution centre of the Rolls Royce factory in Derby was targeted by anti-war activists. The gates were d-locked and walls decorated with graffiti stating that Rolls Royce profits from the war machine. As well as producing many products for the arms and aviation industries, Rolls Royce has a subsidiary, Rolls Royce Marine Power Operations, which makes the nuclear fuel for Trident submarines armed with nuclear missiles. This subsidiary also develops nuclear reactors to power submarines and warships.
Cambridge ASDA and Tesco stores were visited by ‘rabbits’ and ‘vivisectors’ to show their resistance to Proctor and Gamble’s animal testing on 15th May. Activists from Animal Rights Cambridge were calling for a global boycott over the cruel practices of P&G. P&G is the largest consumer products company in the world, with an annual turnover of over $68 billion and responsible for a huge range of labels, such as Herbal Essences, Ariel and Fairy. The company admits that it uses a variety of animals in experiments, such as rabbits and ferrets.