Oct 16 2007

Wild Resistance – A Report from the Saving Iceland Action Camp 2006

ShiftShapers
Guerilla News Network
13 Aug 2006

An International Action Camp in Iceland’s Eastern Highlands against the destruction of this last great European wilderness for a series of giant hydro-power dams for the aluminium industry has been ongoing since 21st July.

I just got back from Iceland yesterday. Here is the latest news as i understand it…

So, the story so far…

In contrast to last year’s action camp in the Icelandic Highlands, this year there was a plan to combine it with a ‘Family Camp’ to appeal to more mainstream Icelanders. This was held at an official campsite at Snaefell mountain hut and scheduled to last from 21st -31st July. There was a protest walk around the affected area on the 22nd July which attracted about 150-200 people, about half icelanders and half foreigners. This protest walk ended with everyone holding hands in a symbolic action forming a line opposite the construction site at the level where the water will rise to.

Before the official beginning of the ‘Family Camp’ the weather at Snaefell had been very bad with extremely strong winds demolishing almost everything. Some campers who had arrived early decided to relocate away from Snaefell for this reason and also because of its distance from any of the main action targets. For the period of the actual ‘Family Camp’ however, the weather was mostly hot and sunny, reverting towards the end to extremely strong winds, making everything very difficult. Bands played and there were workshops and other activites at the ‘Family Camp’.

Special mention should go to the Belgian kitchen Kokerellen who managed to uncomplainingly provide us with three hot meals a day plus tea and coffee despite severe obstacles (a van which could barely get down the rough road to the site, their entire kitchen getting blown away by the wind, everything being incredibly expensive in Iceland…)

During the period of the ‘Family Camp’ there was an action at one of the dam construction sites at Eyjabakkar on the 26th July. 40 people hiked overnight around the mountain and then emerged the next day to blockade the road leading to the construction site. This was apparantly a big media coup as it alerted people to the existence of the Eyjabakkar dams which are very little known of.

When the ‘Family Camp’ was over on the 31st July everyone relocated to Lindur – which is not an official campsite, but is much closer to the main Karahnjukar work sites. People must have got wind of our intention to move as the hut at Lindur was burnt down two days before we moved. People the used the wreckage of the burnt hut to barricade the camp with to keep the cops at bay and built lock-ons to defend the camp. The police blocked the roads leading to the site and stopped our vehicles going to the site. They were open with us about their plan to ‘starve us out’ by denying us food. Despite this, we managed to get food in and to stay put at Lindur.

Four people (I think) got arrested quite violently running on to site on about the 3rd or 4th. There was also a police raid on the camp about the same time when they brought in sniffer dogs and ‘arrested’ one person on suspicion of possession of drugs, which turned out to be tobacco. The suspicion has to be that they did this in order to have it all over the media that ‘one protester has been held on suspicion of drugs’. At about the same time it was reported in the media that one of the dynamite sheds had been broken into. It was all over the media that we had drugs and explosives.

There was a blockade action of one of the secondary dams at Karahnjukar on (I think) the 4th with 4 people D-locking themselves to machinery. This lasted about 3 hours. The police removed the D-locks by using giant bolt-croppers right next to people’s necks. 17 people were arrested on this action I think. The cops got caught out in the media claiming that they hadn’t used batons on people right below a picture of a protester pinned to the ground by a cop’s baton.

There was a whole lot of confusion about whether or not Sigur Ros (very famous Icelandic band for those who don’t know) would play at the protest site. They said they would but then we relocated to LIndur, which seemed to cause some problems. There were lots of communication difficulties involving going through several intermediaries and their management. In the end, they played an acoustic gig at Snaefell after we had left when none of us were there.

Very early on Monday (the 7th) morning there were two simultaneous blockades at the Karahnjukar site – a blockade of arm tubes blocking the main tunnel entrance and the other of people D-locking themselves to earth-movers on one of the secondary dams. Each of these lasted a couple of hours. The police removed people from the arm tubes by pulling their arms until the carabiners connecting them gave way. After arresting 14 people for these blockades, the police evicted the camp Monday afternoon when there were few people there. People locked on to resist the eviction but were removed in a similar fashion. Everyone was a little scattered and dispersed for a bit, but have now relocated the camp to another location, which perhaps i shouldn’t name.

Following the eviction of the camp, Iceland’s top lawyer Ragnar Adalsteinsson has been all over the TV and radio saying the police’s actions have breached our human rights and are illegal. Hopefully we will be able to sue them for both last year’s and this year’s illegalities.

There have been huge amounts of logistical and technical problems – including the ability to update the website and get info out. This might account for some of the lack of news.

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Following the eviction of the Lindur camp we set up camp on a friendly farmer’s land in Reydarfjordur, where the ALCOA smelter is being built. The camp in Reydarfjordur lasted to 20 August and did a number of successful actions, including climbing into cranes at the ALCOA building site and shutting down work there for a whole day.

Dozens of people have now been convicted for the actions of the summer 2006. [Ed.]

http://shiftshapers.gnn.tv/blogs/17593/Latest_News_From_Iceland_Action_Camp

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