Oct 28 2006

Report from the Iceland / Trinidad Funeral march in London

The following is a report back from one of the people at the London protest against the heavy industrialisation of Iceland and Trinidad on the 27th of October 2006.

The demo was attended by about 40 people, not too bad for a weekday demo in inner city London (we chose to have the demo then so that we could get into the embassies.) Perhaps next time we will organize something on a weekend. About a quarter of the demo were Trinidadians. We started the event with an emotional funeral ceremony, with talks from an anti-dam activist who’se been involved in the anti-Narmada dam campaign (India) as well as the anti-Karahnjukar dam campaign (Iceland); Sue Doughty, former Liberal MP, talked about her attempts to get the UK parliament to ask the Icelandic state to reconsider its path of heavy industry; two Trinidadian speakers: talked about the neo-colonialist-liberal invasion by western corporations of the third world, and the beauty of the Cedros Peninsula and tragedy of the Aluminium development, respectively; then an Icelandic speaker who talked about the loss of the Icelandic Karahnjukar wilderness, and the future plans of heavy industry in Iceland. These were followed by a bringing out of a coffin upon which photos of both Cedros and Karahnjukar were plastered. The crowd threw flowers ontop of this coffin and planted seeds (of resistance!) inside it. We were then read an ancient Icelandic poem called “The Prophecy” from the book of Edda, the story of the birth of the world and the northern gods, the apocalypse and then the final rebirth of the world: nature rising from the ashes of industrial/power driven collapse.

The march then walked to the embassy of Trinidad and Tobago, where a petition signed by over 50 people was handed into the consulate, protesting against the heavy industrialization of the Cedros Peninsula, the tropical forested, beachy South-Western corner of Trinidad which is set to be ruined by the importing of one Alcoa smelter and one Alutrint smelter. The consulate were less than happy at the petition, telling us to get lost and threatening to have us all arrested by the police. They refused to take the petition. Outside, the two policemen assigned to our demonstration were hastling us about tying our banners up to the Embassy fence, but weren’t about to arrest anyone. We then walked down to the Icelandic embassy, 10 minutes away, whilst Dan talked to the demonstration which was running simultaneously in Trinidad. Dan appologises if his talk wasn’t brilliant, he was in one of his uber-scatty moods at the time!! He did say that “It felt brilliant to work together like that, to be on another side of the planet and be thinking, dreaming and protesting against the same issues.”

We arrived at the Icelandic embassy. Here we handed in a petition signed by again over 50 people, protesting against that governments plans to destroy all of the islands wildernesses, its greatest asset. They accepted the petition (contrary to what we said on the press release, which was mistaken). Outside, we had phoned Attila from the Rights Action Group in TnT who talked to our crowd through an amplified mobile phone signal about the TnT protest and protest camp. She managed to inspire everyone in the crowd and now the discourse from those involved with Saving Iceland has changed to saving Iceland and Trinidad, fighting heavy industry/globalisation in those countries anyway. By this time everyone was quite tired and we retreated in the typical English way to a peaceful part of the capital, the pub.

Anyone interested in whats happening in Trinidad should visit the websites
http://www.NoSmelterTnT.com and http://RightsActionGroup.blogspot.com/ for more details. The tactics employed by the aluminium industry in these two islands are uncanny.

Report from the Iceland / Trinidad Funeral march in London 

Trinidad Speech – What is Paradise?
Funeral Ceremony
Funeral Ceremony

 

Funeral ceremony
Outside the Icelandic Embassy 

Outside the Icelandic Embassy

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