September isn’t usually the silly season, but this week’s protests are all weird, wonderful, whacky or … missing!
No protest for polluted Peruvian town
On 31 August the union supporting workers at the currently suspended Doe Run smelter in Peru said they would not be protesting after all. They had planned roadblocks and other protests the following day, to force the national government to fund the reopening of the struggling plant, but so few people turned up to a planning meeting that they are re-thinking their strategy.
Doe Run Peru’s smelter at La Oroya was closed in June when banks cut off credit and the government is refusing to extend the time-frame for a environmental cleanup, which could allow new loans to be negotiated. The plant must meet a 1 October deadline to clean up local conditions and establish better implement environmental controls but it says it lacks the money to fulfil its environmental contract and wants an extension of the deadline to mid 2010.
Around 3,000 employees and a further 16,000 indirect jobs are linked to the plant, which is why local union leaders want action on reopening the plant, even though the town of La Oroya is considered one of the most polluted on the planet.
Naked protest for PR company
On 1 September the London offices of Edelman’s were invaded by six naked environmentalists. The campaigners were protesting the PR firms involvement with Eon who are planning to rebuild the coal-fired power plant at Kingsnorth with two replacement ‘cleaner coal’ plants.
The protestors, some male and naked, some female and wearing knickers, superglued their wrist together in the lobby of the firm, while other protestors scale the roof of the building. The were removed by police carrying blankets.
Rocky protest in Australia
Latvala of Finland took a 2.2-second lead in the 4 September stage of Rally Australia in New South Wales but the first day’s racing was marked by protests.
Environmental activists had already forced the cancellation of two of the 15 stages when state police found boulders on the road at one rally stage. Later that day, the first car to take that stage was pelted with rocks. The driver, Hirvonen, was unharmed but the stage was stopped as there were concerns for the safety of the drivers and spectators.
Two groups, ‘No Rally’ and Peacebus, had already staged a campaign, trying to get the World Rally stage in Australia stopped because they claimed it would damage environment and frighten wildlife in the remote areas in which it is being held, a local government officer also tried to get a court injunction to prevent the rally but failed.
Rally car courtesy of Repco Rally Australia