Statement from the #EndCoal and #ClimateJustice movement, about the 12 activist who are currently held in custody after a peaceful bannerdrop at a Slovak coal mine
this is going to be a long post, but the situation is critical. As you probably know, 12 climate heroines and heroes are in custody because of a non-violent direct action against coal mining in Slovakia. Our friends are among them. They are no criminals; it is an obvious case of injustice and not only climate one. In the Czech Republic, Slovak citizens are usually prosecuted at liberty, even when they’re suspicious of serious tax-related crimes.
Your greatest concern certainly is the wellbeing of the detainees. They’re well. On Sunday, we supported them in front of the building of the District Court in Prievidza. Every time we saw them, they looked determined and full of energy. This is also confirmed by their relatives and lawyer. We’re grateful to Greenpeace Slovakia, who are working hard to ensure good conditions in the custody and most importantly, to be at liberty again.
But now to the point. The HBP company which operates coal mines near Prievidza could serve as an example of how the fossil fuel industry works everywhere else in Europe. Its mining is in red numbers, but it receives generous subsidies from the state, with which it is closely connected. Families of miners who died in accident in 2006 are still waiting for justice. 9 miners and 12 rescuers died during an accident in 2009. The most recent accident occurred this spring. Chemicals in the mine burnt the leg skin of several miners. The company released contaminated mining water into a nearby stream and lake, where it killed everything.
But when it comes to its own dirty business, HBP doesn’t hesitate to boast about providing jobs and it clearly tells lies in press releases claiming that the protesters were blocking the mining operations and endangered lives of its employees. HBP does not care about the miners’ well-being. Our dear friends put a banner on the mining tower in Nováky. It is absurd to claim that they threatened someone by this act. Miners themselves, who have been in the shaft during this incident, deny those claims on social media. Activists weren’t blocking operation of the mine anyhow.
This may be why the prosecutor changed the charge to “threatening and damaging generally beneficial facility”, which is such a vague section that it’s lending itself to abuse. Unprofitable private coal mine is not a generally beneficial facility. It’s a GENERALLY HARMFUL FACILITY.
We are facing a possible climate disaster. Scientists say we only have twelve years left to cut greenhouse gas emission by half if we want to avoid extremely dangerous warming of our planet by 1,5 degrees Celsius. Brown coal is among the dirtiest fossil fuels. Moreover, the HBP coal mines are poisoning the region of Slovakia and they transform the Nitra river into a sewer full of mercury and arsenic.
Everybody knows, that we must #EndCoal. Even the coal industry knows it. That’s why it is panicking. That’s why the German RWE is trying to cut down the Hambach forest in spite of massive opposition. That’s why the Czech Severní energetická (Northern energy) corporation is pouring millions into its propaganda, trying to discredit local resistance against its dirty power plant in Pardubice. That’s why HBP is trying to punish a nonviolent protest with custody. And because it has been thirty years now, when the “coal barons” have effectively been in control of the region, and local politicians and officials rush to do their bidding. For example, it is a public secret than the wife of one of the local prosecutors works for the company as the head of its “crisis management” department and runs the mine’s private security service. Apparently, there are more of such “family” connections.
It’s a deliberate campaign. They think they can scare us off. They think they will silence our criticism by this punishment. They think they can divert attention from the nasty essence of their dirty business. But they couldn’t be more wrong. We will not accept any attempts to criminalise peaceful protests for climate justice: nowhere and never. We will continue to demand an immediate release of the jailed climate protectors, and we will not cease, until they are set free. And we will not stand alone: people from all around Europe are coming on board, and thanks to @Greenpeace International, all over the world.
Will you join us?
▪️ share this status, so that as many people as possible learn about this scandal
▪️ confront the Prime Minister of Slovakia Peter Pellegrini, or the president Andrej Kiska on Facebook and Twitter, or best write them a personal letter and ask for the release of the climate protectors (PM: https://www.vlada.gov.sk//zakladne-kontakty/, president:
▪️ follow our profile closely: we will inform you of solidarity demonstrations and other activities to support the jailed activists
▪️ send a letter to the prisoners: they need all the support we can give them. We will publish the addresses shortly
▪️ put a thematic frame on your profile photo on Facebook or Twitter
But first of all, stay with us. We’ve got this. Because until the last coal mine and the last power plant are closed, we are the limits of the fossil fuels industry #limityjsmemy.
Free #Novaky12 #EndCoal #ClimateJustice