Olkiluoto Blockade on August 28 2010

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Police units by the roads aiming to prevent blockades - not successfully indeed...
Three people locked-on forming a triangle on an access road to Olkiluoto
OL-Blockade 20100828 lock-on13.jpg
International activists in a sit-in blockade on a road to Olkiluoto
Police tried to open the lock-on, but gave up to wait for specialists...
Police sending back cars reaching the lock-on blockade
A big crane truck wanted to pass the lock-on blockade
Police coming to remove the blockade off the road
Removing the sit-in blockade
Carrying a blockader from the road
Police carrying a locked-on group from the road to let the crane truck pass...
...although they would hurt the activists as they were still fixed to each other
The truck passing the blockade closely threatening the activists
Police moved the blockaders next to the street
The police unit that removed the locked-on activists from the road came with the dark police car
A second lock-on blockade gets established close to the first one - five people fixed to each other inside tubes
OL-Blockade 20100828 lock-on TWO2.jpg
OL-Blockade 20100828 lock-on TWO3.jpg
OL-Blockade 20100828 lock-on TWO6.jpg
Now two lock-on blockades closed one of the main access roads to Olkiluoto for nearly 9 hours
OL-Blockade 20100828 lock-on THREE1.jpg
OL-Blockade 20100828 lock-on THREE5.jpg
OL-Blockade 20100828 lock-on TWO7.jpg
Border military helicopter observing the blockades - they flew pretty deep disturbing the people on the ground. The wind caused by the rotors was so strong that some banners were pulled down and dust was swirled up.
Rumors said that the border military was stationed in the atomic power site and special forces would have operated in the forests around the power station
Activists closed the road and cycleway with lock-on blockades to stop police sending cars to pass the blockades on the cycleway
Also police couldn't pass the blockade on the cycleway anymore. As long as the activists didn't lie on the ground police units still had forced the activists to move to the site of the road when they wanted to pass. When the activists were on the ground, police didn't try to move them anymore - at least for a while
Police tries to force activists to leave the road they blocked. But they wouldn't move and finally police would give up - for now...
OL-Blockade 20100828 lock-on THREE9.jpg
Police car passing the blockade on the shoulders of the road - close to the activists and thus risking to hurt them
Activists coming to support the lock-on and sit-in blockades on the road to Olkiluoto
OL-Blockade 20100828 lock-on THREE10.jpg
"Finnisch people are even not allowed to walk on their own roads! No new Nuclear Power Plant!"
Activists and police blockading together the access road to Olkiluoto
  • publicly announced blockade of the Olkiluoto NPP on August 28, 2010
  • supported by several anti-nuclear groups and networks
  • more information: http://olkiluotoblockade.info/


Reports

NPP Olkiluoto access road blocked by Lock-ons

For today, Saturday August 28, 2010, the first blockade of a nuclear facility in Finland was announced. About fourty organizations from Finland and other countries were calling out for that action. Since 6 AM in the morning some 100 activists are stopping or delaying the traffic to the Nuclear Power Plant at changing places.

Since some three hours one of the access roads to the NPP is blockaded by three activists with lock-ons and a dozen of supporting activists having a sit-in blockade on the road, too. Police obviously doesn't really know what to do - they first examinated the material of the lock-on, but decided to wait for some specialists to deal with it.

Most cars (mostly workers of the NPP) are sent back by the police to try other roads. In some cases they also diverted certain cars (police and fire rescue) to the cycleway next to the street. There are some four different access roads leading to the NPP; one of them is blockaded now.

When a big construction truck wanted to pass the blockade, the police was overtaxed and tried to clear the road. The sit-in blockade was cleared mostly without strong violence by carrying people to the shoulders of the road. Then the police unit did the unprofessional attempt to carry the locked-on people all together at the same time from the road, although they were still locked to each other. They really did it hurting them, because it is dangerous for the activists to be moved while they are in the lock-ons. But the Finnish police lacks experience with direct action and seems to react dangerous when they are under stress.

Just a minute after clearing the street, the police didn't even try to intervene when the activists moved again with their lock-ons onto the road. Now it's closed again, and police is standing beside...


Street theatre against atomic power in OL

Several actions take place right now on the roads to the NPP Olkiluoto in Finland. For today, Saturday August 28, 2010, the first blockade of a nuclear facility in Finland was announced. About fourty organizations from Finland and other countries were calling out for that action. Since 6 AM in the morning some 100 activists are stopping or delaying the traffic to the Nuclear Power Plant at changing places. Besides activists blocking the roads there are also some street theatre activists performing against nuclear power.

The lock-on blockade still closes one of the access roads to the nuclear power station Olkiluoto on Finland. After three hours on the street a group of street theatre activists arrived and made some performances. Masked as atomic super-heroes they presented pro-nuclear songs making fun on nuclear power and the police that protects the industry. They played cheerleaders and were dancing on the street in front of the blockade to have finally a die-in as the end of the atomic performance.


More blockades on Olkiluoto's streets

Since 6 AM today the main access roads to the Finnish Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) Olkiluoto are blockaded by activists from Finland, Sweden, Russia, Belarus, France and Germany. It is the first publicly announced blockade in Finland ever. About fourty organizations from Finland and other countries were calling out for that action. The access road from the highway is blockaded since the early morning by about 50 activists, another blockade of some 20 people is closing a second access road to the NPP and many more activists are in the area trying to do more actions.

The junction of the main access road and a second road to the NPP has been blockaded since 6 AM by three activists who locked-on with each other in tubes forming a triangle shaping a radioactivity sign. They were supported by a dozen other activists doing a sit-in blockade. After a temporary clearing of the road by the police, the activists returned there and stayed there now since six hours. The police units there don't want to try to open the lock-ons themselves and are probably waiting for specialists' support.

In the time between another group of five activists with tubes and lock-ons arrived at the place and formed another blockade next to the other one. The police was just watching, but they even didn't try to intervene. In the beginning they sent some more important cars (police, ambulance) on the cycleway, but later they sent all the cars there instead of sending them back as happened in the beginning. For that reasons one of the lock-on blockades surprisingly moved from the road onto the cycleway and is blocking now since about one hour all possibilities for cars to pass this access road to the NPP.

The demonstrators are joined also by a group of street theatre activists doing performances making fun on nuclear industry and the police who are protecting them.


Olkiluoto - blockade of mainroad and highway

Saturday August 26 was the day of the first publicly announced blockade of a nuclear site in Finland ever. Some 100 activists from Finland and other countries did several blockades on the roads to the nuclear power plant. While a bigger blockade with picnics, sit-ins and other activities closed the entry to the main access road to the NPP blockading also several times the highway passing this place, smaller action groups showed up at many points on the roads to the power station. The police could not prevent mpst of the actions, although they closed a huge area of public roads for everyone who was not a resident or NPP worker. Even media had no access to that region. However, activists used the forrests to reach the forbidden area and successfully blockaded many roads for up to nine hours.

While smaller action groups had spread over the region closed for public by the police for that day and did several blockades with sit-ins and lock-ons, a bigger group of more than 50 activists blockaded the access from the highway E8 to the main road to the nuclear power plant (NPP) Olkiluoto for some 9 hours. In the time between they several times also blockaded the highway for a couple of minutes.

The police had announced a few days before to follow the wishes of TVO (operator of the NPP) to keep the roads open and allow protest only besides the streets. Rumors said that (para-)military and special riot police forces were stationed at the NPP and in the forests close to the power station. There have been also police on the water around the peninsula, some people reported. Actually, most blockaders just saw a few police units at the main access road junction to the highway and at important junctions of smaller access roads to the NPP, where they had street barricades to stop public from reaching this public area.

In Finland's countryside "everyone's right" is ruling - private property owners of land can't prohibit anyone to go to the forests, camp there, have camp fire etc. Only a small circle of a couple of meters around houses are protected against trespassing. Anyway, there are exceptions for capitalist companies (of course), and the NPP has a security area because of risks of terrorist attacks and whatever. But even they are limited and although a huge area around Olkiluoto is owned by the atomic industry the prohibited area is small and public is allowed to use the forests very close to the power station.

People made music, had talks with local people, showed banners to the cars on the highway next to the blockade, discussed about nuclear power and chances to fight against it and had picnics, coffee + cakes. Cars leaving the nuclear area were usually allowed to pass the blockade as well as ambulance or other emergency cars. In the beginning the police forced people to let a few trucks pass, too. But later, when the blockade had been completely established and the smaller blockades of other roads were also closing streets, traffic had been stopped here totally.


Lock-on blockades violently broken up

Last Saturday August 28, 2010 in Olkiluoto (Finland) the very first publicly announced blockade of an atomic facility took place gathering some 150 activists from all over Finland and other countries like Belarus, France, Germany, New Zealand, Russia and Sweden. In Finland direct action is rare and the society is not used to civil disobedience or other kinds of direct action against powerful institutions. Thus it was an important action to establish direct actions as a part of the resistance against atomic power in Finland. The media was very curious about the blockade and the coverage was great and mostly positive without resentments against the activists.

The exit of highway E8 to the atomic power station site had been blockaded by between 50 and 100 activists of all ages and social backgrounds for some 9 hours. A couple of times even the highway itself was closed for a few minutes by the activists. Originally the police had announced to make all street blockades impossible and to limit demonstrations to the area next to the streets and on the site of a gas station at the highway. This was what the atomic operator TVO had demanded in media some days before. But when the blockaders moved to the road resolutely police could not prevent it.

Additionally several small group actions occured on the access roads to the NPP closing them for traffic nearly completely for several hours. Police had created street barricades to stop activists from reaching the area around Olkiluoto. A region of several smaller villages including the nuclear facilities were closed for public on this day. Everybody, except for workers of the power plant and residents were suspected without proof. Even journalists were prohibited to enter the area and to report about the happening. However, activists walked through fields and forests ending up on the roads they wanted to blockade. Even close to the atomic power plant itself a group of activists could create a lock-on blockade on the road, but it was removed by police quickly.

While the exit of highway E8 to the main access road to Olkiluoto was blockaded by a big group of activists having also picnics, music and tents on the road, another access road was blockaded the whole time by lock-on and sit-in blockades, and other places were at least temporarely closed by actions. Anyway, the goal was not to make any access to the atomic plant impossible, but to set a sign that people in Finland are also willing to break the law and to risk punishment for stopping the dangerous nuclear developments that don't respect environment and human health. The recent decisions in the Finnish government and parliament have shown to the last people that these powerful institutions are not made in favour of the people but to protect and promote the interests of power.

Besides blocking the streets, people talked with local residents, informed about the threats of atomic power, had coffee and cookies or did creative street theatre actions. Press conferences were held at the road blockade and several interviews given to the Finnish and Swedish speaking media of Finland and to international journalists.

The history of the blockade

When the blockade idea was developed by Finnish and international activists in spring, it was not clear yet which size and shape it would get. When Minister Pekkarinen, responsible for the uranium mining attempts of Areva and other atomic companies and for the plans to construct more nuclear reactors, published his position for more NPPs in Finland, a launching action was started to be prepared. May 8, the day of a big demonstration against nuclear power in Helsinki, was selected to be the day for the presentation of the action to the public. Hundreds of flyers were spread to activists in the demonstration and media had been invited to a media conference in the building of Helsinki's biggest newspaper.

When the government published their decision to follow Pekkarinen's proposal to support new reactors in Finland, a press release was sent out internationally criticizing this irresponsible policy and announcing the blockade as a reaction to the government's promotion of the dangerous atomic technology. At that time the initiators expected the parliament's decision on the issue in autumn - thus the blockade could have impacted the decision of the MPs in Helsinki and pushed the topic together with other activities of the anti-nuclear movement in Finland. But the government pushed the parliament to a procedure that never happened before in Finland's history: the parliament's sessions were extended after Midsummer, so that it was finally possible to make the decision already on July 1.

A big coalition of grassroots groups, NGOs, independent activists and concerned citizens did actions during the days before the parliament's decision and also on the decision day itself on July 1. It was an amazing crowd of people, and maybe the beginning of something that could be called a real "movement" (groups were cooperating intensively and acted together). It was no surprise that the parliament decided for nuclear power, anyway - that the MPs are not deciding in favour of the people's interests but for the powerful companies profits was clear before. This was also the procedure of getting approvements for the third reactor in Olkiluoto and the proposed final disposal site Onkalo at the same site. The disappointment and anger of people after July 1 was motivating very much for doing the first direct action of the movement - the Olkiluoto Blockade!

During the last weeks before the action several information events and blockade trainings took place in a couple of Finnish cities. There were also some soli gigs to collect some money for costs connected to the blockade. And nice t-shirts were printed and sold for a solidarity price to raise the money for expenses.

Some articles already reported about the activities on August 28 - please check them:

Continuation of the mentioned reports

At this place an update of these reports:
Even after blockading the access road to the NPP and the cycleway that the police had used to let traffic pass the blockade, the police found new was for vehicles: they drove on the median strip or over the shoulders of the road, risking to injure the activists lying locked-on with each other on road and cycleway. When activists tried to stop this dangerous police activity by standing in their way, police pushed them away roughly and sent the next police cars close to the activists' bodies to pass the blockade.

This risky behaviour eventually could be stopped for a while when activists laid down on the road so that they could not be pushed away anymore. The police obviously didn't like to have to deal with this situation and gave up trying to let police cars (or any other vehicles) pass the blockade anymore.

The situation changed again when an arrogant police commander showed up at the place who was obviously not used to people not being impressed by his power. He tried to force the locked-on people to move from the street when he wanted to pass with his car. That no one was following his order seemed to annoy him much - he became angry and started to pull the lock-on tubes of activists and got some of them taken off from each other. These people were not really locked-on, but had used some tubes without carabiners to fix each other inside. He handled them very aggressively using violence and forced his troops to bring them off the street. When he wanted to get away the other activists, too, he dragged and pulled them not understanding, that they were fixed to each other and that it would be impossible to get them taken off without seriously hurting them. Police hurted them when they tried to tug them off the road causing some people to scream. Anyway, police didn't care but continued to drag them besides the road so that the police commander got his way.

In the time between the police commander and his unit had been distracted by the lock-on blockade that they maltreated. When the commander turned around with a satisfied face, he had to understand that several dozens of other activists together with a second lock-on had moved from this place on the road behind the former police barricade in direction to Olkiluoto. They had occupied another junction a bit closer to the atomic facilities and were blocking the whole road there. Now not only the access road that had been blockaded for several hours before was blocked, but also an additional smaller access road that had been used by workers to reach the facility by now. The commander seemed to be in despair, and hinting to the other police units that had not stopped the activists passing them he stammed "... why didn't they stop them?". But those police just shrugged and answered that he only ordered them to clear off the road, not to hinder the others from doing another blockade. The commander angrily left the place and the still locked-on activists that he recently had removed from the road and rushed to the other blockade.

At the second place he soon again tried to get the activists off the street, but this time police was a bit more careful and checked first if the blockaders were locked-on with each other. After a while they first carried away the sit-in blockaders and the activists with tubes that were not fixed to each other. The commander obviously was annoyed by the successful actions and changed now the tactics they had used the whole day - they started to arrest everyone who was taken off the road.

Soon the police ordered the public to move several meters away so that no one could see what they would do to the locked-on activists. Even press was forbidden in the area were police tried to open the lock-ons. It took some one hour before the road was open again. In the time between the commander again had decided to unprofessionally treat the locked-on people when he ordered his troops to try to open the lock-ons themselves with tools they found in their police cars. Eventually they opened all the lock-ons, but they risked the health of the activists as they were not experienced with this action technology and didn't exactly know how they have to treat locked-on people. Instead of waiting for a special unit of experts they let unexperienced police to open the lock-ons.

The small blockades were removed from the streets around 2 PM, while the blockade of the highway exit to Olkiluoto was still closed until 3 PM when the activists decided themselves to finish the blockade now to evaluate and spread the word about the success. Alltogether some 30 activists had been arrested, which had been released before the late night of the day. They are faced with fines of a total of some thousands of Euros now.

On the day after a seminar organized by Friends of the Earth and Women against nuclear power took place in Rauma, the next city to Olkiluoto, stressing the topic of final disposal challenges of nuclear waste. There were international experts talking from Sweden, Russia, France and Finland. About 60 people participated this event.

Conclusions

The blockade was a big success. - This is not a special statement after an action, as the organizers usually would somehow say that it was successful. However, the expectations towards the numbers of activists, the strength of the resistance of the Finnish activists, the number of small blockades and that activists followed the idea of a small group action concept although there was not much information about tactics, maps and techniques provided have been more than fulfilled. The initiators had not hoped to get so many Finish activists mobilized as direct action is no usual tactic of the anti-nuclear movement in Finland by now.

In most cases the police carried away sit-in blockaders carefully and treated activists not violently. But there were also exceptions, and especially the hurtful breaking up of a lock-on blockade ordered by a police commander was inacceptable and should have consequences for them. Lock-ons and other actions using special techniques to make it hard to get removed have to be dealt with be specialists who know what they do and how they can open lock-ons without harming the people - or they can simply let the blockade where it is and accept that a road can't be passed for that time. There must be pressure on the police responsibles to prevent that this unprofessional and people's health threatening treatment of activists will be repeated.

Another scandal is the closure of a big public area including several villages by the police for everyone. The access to summer cottages, forests (in Finland rules "everyone's right in forests - private ownership can't stop people from using forests for camping and passing - usually), public streets etc. was blocked by the police for everyone without proof or even discussion whether the concerned people would do actions (and even that would not necessarily be a crime) or not.

The media reported mostly positive or at least neutral about the action. The usual discreditting of activists didn't occur - quite the reverse: the journalists were very interested and open-minded towards the activists. The police's limitation of access to public roads for everyone including the press and the limitation of the freedom of press probably had also a positive impact on the media's coverage of the action. Anyway, it was the first publicly announced direct action against an atomic facility and in future it is possible that politicians, police and companies take more efforts to influence the media to create a bad image of activists, and we should not ecxpect them always to take our site. And also the police made their first experience with this kind of action and will probably take those things more seriously next time and be better prepared to disturb actions.

Outlook

Many people were motivated after this action and is was amazing to see how so different groups, organizations and activists could work together and contribute their special skills and capabilities. Often people asked if there would be another blockade of Olkiluoto next year. It is very likely that in future more direct action will happen against atomic power in Finland. How this will look like is depending on the activists themselves - as it was the case with the Olkiluoto blockade, too: there is not a central group or body deciding about it, but it will be result of the activities and engagement of groups and individuals.

Several groups mentioned already ideas for future actions, but it is not clear yet. It would be great not only to get more people involved next time and to be better prepared with information resources of the area for small group actions, but also great to have more international action groups joining that prepare their own special actions depending on their special capabilities.

Footnotes

During the month before the blockade activists had mobilized to Olkiluoto for example with the Baltic Sea Info Tour spreading the word and distributing hundreds of flyers in English, Finnish, German and Swedish language. Some action ideas resulted from gatherings of the infotour in several cities around the Baltic Sea.

Blockade websites:


Announcement

Saturday - August 28, 2010

Shoulder to shoulder the nuclear industry and the Finnish government are on an offensive to push for more nuclear developments in Finland. In the middle of April, just before Chernobyl Day, the Finnish government published their proposal to build two additional nuclear reactors.

Our answer to this unbelievable statement is a blockade of the Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) at Olkiluoto on 28th of August 2010 as a signal to show peoples resistance against the rulers irresponsibility.

When corporations and governments act irresponsibly, it becomes our duty to reclaim our own lives and future. On August 28 we will blockade the roads to the Olkiluoto NPP for one day with a colourful diversity of actions - sitting on the road we use our bodies to peacefully block nuclear power.

The Blockade includes a picnic by the road, information events and other actions to make clear that nuclear power is not an option - not in Finland and not anywhere else!

Contact us:


Networks and organisations already supporting this call-out

  • Nuclear Free Finland (FIN)
  • Maan ystävät / Friends of the Earth Finland (FIN)
  • Kvinnor mot atomkraft/Naiset atomivoimaa vastaan (FIN)
  • Kvinnor för fred/Naiset rauhan puolesta (FIN)
  • Aktionsgruppen för ett atomkraftsfritt Åland (FIN)
  • Hyökyaalto / Risingtide Finland (FIN)


Stop the Nuclear Threat!

The Finnish government wants two new nuclear reactors to be built in Finland - one on the Olkiluoto NPP site and another one at an undecided site selected by the EON-led Fennovoima nuclear company, either in Simo or Pyhäjoki.

  1. Thus even more dangerous nuclear waste will be produced, even though nowhere in the world has succeeded in building a safe final repository. Indeed, a verifiably safe final disposal of this radioactive material is simply not possible.
  2. Choosing to base our energy infrastructure on nuclear power will prevent significant development of renewables in Finland, leaving us with a short term energy policy and a long term waste problem.
  3. The radiation released by NPPs has been linked in several recent studies to significant increases in leukaemia, childhood cancer and other diseases.
    Also the likelihood of hazardous accidents would grow with the number of nuclear facilities and the associated fuel and waste transports.
  4. To operate the nuclear power plants you need uranium. Uranium mining is usually connected to the exploitation and oppression of residents of the area and the complete destruction of their living conditions by radioactive and highly toxic tailing ponds and uranium ore dumps.
  5. The reliance on nuclear power (both for energy and political status) increases the militarization of these areas which are potential targets.

Nuclear zones dominate local areas and disempower the affected people. We want to empower each other to resist the destruction of the environment, the damaging of our health and the threatening of future generations.

No new NPPs and no uranium mining in Finland or anywhere else!
Shut down all nuclear facilities now!
No nuclear dump beneath the Baltic Sea!



Donations

We need your support to make the Olkiluoto Blockade a success!

Your contribution could be varied:

  • spread the word about the blockade on August 28, 2010
  • put the banners on your website to promote the blockade
  • distribute the flyers to promote the action
  • support the Olkiluoto Blockade by adding your organization's name on the call-out (email us[1])
  • organize your group's partizipation in the blockade and prepare yourself for joining it
  • take part in the Blockade yourself!
  • organize information events to educate about the threats of nuclear power and to advertize the blockade
  • make donations to cover the costs of this action (email us[1] to get more information with bank account details)


Media Coverage


Footnotes

  1. For protection against automatical email address robots searching for addresses to send spam to them this email address has been made unreadable for them. To get a correct mail address you have to displace "AT" by the @-symbol.


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