plume-chasing practical and great climate swoop

On Friday afternoon, atmospheric chemical change took us out to the countryside again, sampling air from different sites upwind and downwind from Norwich in order to learn something about photochemical reactions of different substances related to car emissions. We had a nice day out there although it was rather windy and started raining in the end of the afternoon. I took some pictures that I might upload later – for now I’ll go on to the more interesting part of the weekend: After leaving far too early from a nice birthday party on Friday evening, I packed my kit for the great climate swoop, slept about four hours and got to the train station at twenty to six in order to meet some people from UEA and catch the train to Nottingham at 5:52 in the morning. Several train changes due to technical problems and some hours later, we arrived in Nottingham, where we split up according to the different action blocks we were going to join.

One subgroup went to a train station near the power station by train in order to join the block that was to march to the front gate, the other one took a bus and then walked to a place on the action map communicated by a text alert system the same day, where the blocks heading for the control room and the coal pile were supposed to meet. Several hundred people from these blocks walked out of the wood, crossing some fields and reaching the fence of the power station without having any real police contact (there were some Cops in the woods and on the fields, but rather observing than doing anything else). This however changed at the fence, that people started to tear down with ropes and decompose with bolt-cutters. Police than started to push people away, beating them with batons in many cases. However, the level of police violence was much lower than you would face in a similar action in Germany (I didn’t see or hear of any pepper spray being used all over the weekend so far), most injuries were caused by police dogs biting people (which happend quite often). On the other hand, protesters were extremely peaceful to passive towards the police, which could arrest two people out ot twenty in the woods in the presence of only two officers. (Imagine German police trying that in the Görde [wood close to the nuclear waste dump site of Gorleben] – they wouldn’t even dare to think about it on a two-against-twenty-situation).
The fence was taken down at different points, but only few people made their way inside and mostly got arrested immediately. The power plant was on operation during the weekend, but the action is perceived as a success by most people because the message against coal was passed on widely. You can find some pictures, videos and reports at the climatecamp website and mainstream tv news on youtube. Anyone who finds me on a picture or in a video will get a photo I took in Norwich as selfmade postcard – but please don’t post your results here, send them to me by mail… There is at least one possible solution to the quiz, although it’s not an easy one – but there may be lots more out there in the web, media coverage was intense and I haven’t seen a lot of it yet.
On the swoop, I met someone I knew from German Climate Camp who is also studying in the UK now. We had a nice time together comparing situations to what would have happened in Germany in similar cases. After a whole day of action, a provisional campsite was set up in the woods about 100 m away from the fence. Some cops seem to have visited it in the evening, but I was just out for a walk so I didn’t get this event. The place was nice, but the noise from the power plant and the helicopter up in the air didn’t allow for much sleep. The next morning mainly consisted of long meetings about what to do next, which finally led to a last attempt to take the fence – more important for our own motivation than for really getting inside, I guess. We were then escorted back to the nearby train station where our group got a minibus lift to Nottingham. We then had to wait a couple of hours for our train and arrived in Norwich in the dark. One of those rare moments were a bus pass might be better then a bike (there were no buses to the station early enugh on Saturday, so I would have had to come by bike anyway). So far for the blog – more detailed accounts of what happened may be available on personal communication😉

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