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Today around twenty protesters descended upon the Icelandic London Embassy in order to continue their protest against the series of major hydroelectric dam projects due to be constructed on Iceland’s glacial rivers.
The power derived from these destructive dam projects is for the sole benefit of the multinational aluminium industry. Companies such as Alcan, Alcoa and Century are expanding their operations in Iceland to exploit these cheap power sources. In the long term Iceland’s unique wilderness will be encroached upon from all directions by heavy industry in the form of colossal dam’s power stations and Aluminium smelters at immense irreversible cost to the natural environment.
The protesters held mock tombstones mourning the demise of: Read More
This morning, activists visited the offices of Impregilo New Cross Ltd, part of the company which is building the controversial Karahnjukar Dam in Iceland.
The campaigners turned up at 85e Centurion Court, Milton Park outside of Abingdon with banners, leaflets & drums. Wandering in to the first floor open plan office, they proceeded to speak to all the employees, including the senior management. One person met with the finance director of the company who promised to scan the leaflet and send it to their head office in Italy.
Everyone was remarkably polite and listened to what we had to say. Many of them had already heard about the dam, and we had to explain to them that it was not too late for Impregilo to pull out of this disaster waiting to happen.
Afterwards, an impromptu samba set was performed outside while all the cars in the area were leafleted. Read More
The required return on investment of the hydroelectric power plant at Kárahnjúkar was too low said Ágúst Gudmundsson, chairman of Bakkavör on the current affairs program Kastljós (Spotlight) Tuesday, according to the Icelandic Broadcasting Service, RÚV. “I would have preferred that the money had been spent in a different way,” he said. Read More
Half of the Icelandic population is unhappy with how the government and the public addresses environmental issues according to a new Gallup poll as reported by the Icelandic Broadcasting System, RÚV.
Women are more likely to be dissatisfied than men, and people living in the urban South West are less content with the state of environmental issues than the rural population. Read More
Twenty teenage activists stormed the offices of the Icelandic Ministry of Industry and staged a sitdown and noise demo inside the ministry for about an hour. This was to demonstrate against the international aluminium invasion into pristine Iceland.
The message was tainted more than little by irony: “We want more pollution, more smelters, more destruction of nature, only jobs in smelters, more Alzheimer, fuck nature, fuck the future”
Suddenly the teenagers sat down on the floor and produced tubs of ‘skyr’ (in symbolic support of the activists who drenched delegates at the 10th International Aluminium Conference with the yoghurt like substance) and proceeded to “eat their own words”.
The staff of the ministry called the police, who were well and truly ignored by the vigorous youngsters, and gave up sowing their usual brand of disorder.
This was a very cheerful protest and a total success. Most of the press and all TV stations turned up for the edifying spectacle and no one was arrested.
The action coincided most conveniently with a news release from the Ministry of Industry about four spanking new aluminium smelters that are to be built or extended (ALCAN and Century) in the south-west and north (ALCOA) of Iceland, promising amongst other horrors, according to scientists, to make the bay of Faxafloi the most heavily polluted area in Northern Europe.
Arms manufacturers ALCOA are deliberating a smelter in the north (possibly in Húsavík) on top of the monster 360.000 tons smelter war-profiteers Bechtel are already building for them in Reydarfjordur in the east of Iceland. Europe’s last great untouched wilderness is to be sacrificed to generate bogus “green” electricity for the ALCOA smelter.
On 5 January Icelandic State TV host Kristján Kristjánsson interviewed Damon Albarn in the news programme Kastljos. The following night Kristjánsson interviewed the Minister of Industry Valgerður Sverrisdóttir. Below, for comparison, are the transcripts of both interviews and an analysis of the contents.
Interview with Damon Albarn:
Intro: Announcer points out that Damon Albarn “was a pop star in the late 1990s”, and will be playing a concert with Björk on January 7. (A curious introduction, as Damon Albarn’s band Gorillaz was both one of the best-selling and most critically acclaimed bands of 2005.)
Kristján Kristjánsson: Are you very much involved in these issues, nature conservatism [sic]? Read More
The Stop the Dams mega concert, featuring a once in a lifetime collection of artists, was a huge success. At the concert the dates to the next protest camp at the Kárahnjúkar project were announced, 21st July. Hundreds if not thousands of Icelanders are expected to attend. The destruction will be stopped!
Almost 6,000 people partied in protest against the devastation of Iceland’s wildernesses on January the 7th.
The lineup included KK, Björk and Zeena, Múm, Sigur Rós, Magga Stína, Rass and Dr. Spock, Damien Rice, Mugison, Lisa Hannigan, Hjálmar, Ghostigital, Damon Albarn (from Blur), Ham, and Egó. Performance artists and film-makers were also among the nearly two hundred artists that contributed to the event.
In an interview with the British newspaper The Guardian (13 Feb ’06), Björk had this to say about politics and the dam: Read More
Two of the activists who took part in the June 2005 Hotel Nordica ‘skyr’ action at the International Aluminium Conference, have recently been sentenced in Reykjavik municipal court to two months in prison suspended for two years and a £6000 “cleaning up bill”, fines and expences.
Hotel Nordica is frequently host to international heavy industry conferences. According to the owners of Hotel Nordica it cost over £5000 to hire a carpet cleaner for two hours! The original claim of Hotel Nordica (owned by Icelandair) was £55.000. ‘Skyr’ is a perfectly harmless jogurt like substance and nobody was hurt during the incident.
The action was a prelude to the Saving Iceland international protest camp which took place in the Icelandic higlands near the building site of Kárahnjúkar dams. The Kárahnjúkar dams are being built to provide bogus “green energy” for a 360.000 tons ALCOA owned aluminium smelter which is now being built by war profiteers Bechtel in the east of Iceland. This project alone threatens to destroy the largest pristine wilderness of Europe.
The protest camp was heavily persecuted by the Icelandic police through out the summer and exposed the repressive nature of the Icelandic government. The actions invigorated the Icelandic environmentalist movement and the opposition to the Kárahnjúkar dams and numerous other similar dam projects planned all over the Icelandic highlands, just to create energy for foreign aluminium corporations. These “developments” will destroy some of the most ecologically sensitive and beautifully preserved wildernesses in Europe. Read More
Over the summer of 2005, about a hundred activists from around the world got together to protest against overwhelming environmental destruction and corporate greed. No, not the “pop Muppets” in Hyde Park, this was a gathering of international protesters — who trooped into the Arctic Circle to show much-needed support and solidarity to the Saving Iceland campaign.
The Saving Iceland campaign began in 2004, when the Icelandic government had bypassed a series of laws in order to allow the national power company, Landsvirkjun, to build a gigantic hydroelectric dam, now being constructed in the country’s eastern highlands.
The National Planning Agency originally refused to grant permission to the first proposal in 2001 due to the irreversible negative environmental impact the dam would have. Read More