An anti-Fennovoima occupation at Oulu Energia’s office

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The activists and residents of the Pyhäjoki anti-nuclear protest camp pulled out a bit of an office occupation on tuesday, 22th of March. The target and an unwilling host for the demonstration was the office of Oulun Energia (Oulu Energy), a municipality-owned energy company through wich the city council of Oulu invested 17 million euros to Fennovoima-Rosatom’s nuclear power plant project.

A good bunch of protesters and supporters alike walked promptly into the office, holding banderols demanding the city of Oulu to ”leave the Fennovoima-Rosatom nuclear power project” and demanding ”Oulu’s money for the people, not for nuclear”. To give a symbolical alarm call about the enviromental and economical risks of the Fennovoima-Rosatom nuclear project (and to be even louder of a pain in the chosen corporate bottom) the occupiers clicked on a good couple of rape alarms.

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The staff of Oulun Energia made their opinions clear from the beginning: and one thing they did not like, was to be critized over the nuclear issue. ”The regular staff got more physical and confrontative than the actual office security”, commented one of the occupiers. While grabbing the banderolls and calling the police, the office staff also did their best to push the demonstrators back in to the staircase of the three-store building and tried to lock them out.

After a while the police rolled in. The Oulun Energia staff went through great efforts on trying to find a way to get the police in and the demonstrators out as sneakily as possible: for one reason or another they really wished not to get caught in the public eye. Three person’s were detained and dragged out of the office, handcuffed and face-down from the third-floor stair case. The occupiers stated that they did not felt this to be an act of violence or intimidation from the police: they simply suspect that the 17 million euro’s investment to the nuclear project has already drained the city of Oulu so poor that they cannot even feed their police personnel well enough – and thus, the cops have gotten to weak to even carry a bunch of hippies down a staircase.

Meanwhile, a couple of demonstrators had made their way to the very roof of the building and performed a banner drop: wich proved itself to be a much trickier of a banderoll to grab off.

Why Oulun Energia, why to occupy?

The office occupation was dedicated to three different directions. First and foremost, it was a direct critique for the city of Oulu, who through its city council voted yes for investing public money to the Fennovoima-Rosatom’s nuclear project.

Second, the message was sent out to the company Voxtel Finland, who recently started working for Fennovoima-Rosatom. Voxtel Finland is a company providing consults to deliver cheap foreign worker’s and services to supervise the paperwork and legalities when doing dealing’s with a foreign company. As their references they only list a few employers: from wich the most notable one is the infamous Olkiluoto 3: the very one that French Areva wishes to get ridd off and wich very nearly got closed down by the major labor union’s for all the unpaid salaries, human trafficing accusations and moonlighted tax avoidance the constuction has so far performed.

For third, the President’s of Finland and Russia – and thus, one of the leading figure’s of Russian nuclear giant Rosatom – held a meeting in Moscow on that Tuesday: and even if we all know the state figure heads do not listen the plebs, it still seemed like a good moment for a little symbolical postcard.

So why to have a go for a municipality-based investment on Fennovoima-Rosatom? Let’s cut into the statistics of this: Rosatom owns 34 % of the overall project. The municipality-based small energy companies hold over 30 % of it. The first paragraph of the municipality law states that ”a municipality should work towards the well-being of its residents and advance the sustainable development on its area”. First off, we fail to see how this rings together with investing public money to a multinational nuclear energy company. For second, the Fennovoima-Rosatom project is committed to the Mankala principle: by that fact and the law over these joint-stock corporation issues, the owner is the one who carries the financial risks. And in this case, the city council represents the owner. The original price-estimation for the power plant was 6 billion euros. In a couple of years, before the constuction has even begun, it has already rised to 7 billion euros. Wich is a big bill for the residents of Oulu to pay: expecially on these days of rabid austerity measures already being taken.

Fennovoima-Rosatom did originally declear the nuclear project to be standing solemnly on private money and corporate investments. This has already proven itself to be a – we’re not going to say ”a lie”, but we’ll say ”not exactly true”. The second point they have emphasized is the lovable old excuse about creating jobs for locals: wich, in an area of high and still rising unemployment tends to sell. Now, Fennovoima-Rosatom recently published new funky images on their website, a few of them mapped images of the planned nuclear construction site. Couple of meters away from the gates are the clearly marked and named barracks of the workers: a spit image of the cheap barracks used at Olkiluoto 3, with a same Voxtel Finland now working on the site. Everyone with any sense left has of course known from the beginning that these talks about creating jobs for the locals are mere ”glass pearls for the Indians”: but these details should draw that fact out clearly enough for everyone.

All Cakes Are Beautiful: Pyhäjoki protest camp cream pies’ the police brutality

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On 15th of March the Pyhäjoki anti-nuclear protest camp participated the International Day Against Police Brutality with a banner drop and by serving two private Fennovoima-Rosatom security guards and a police officer with cream pies. The little goodwill demonstration encouraged the public to remember the dangers enviromental and human rights activists face in different societies – for example in Russia.

The protest camp chose the tactic that would fit the Finnish mental landscape. Cream pieing world leaders, military commanders and other high profile figures is a humorous tactic to put serious topics into the public eye. Before the Pyhäjoki cream pie fiesta, the last person who got pied in Finland was the World Bank Secretary James D. Wolfensohn in 2001. Naturally, the cream pie fiesta was not aimed to any particular police officer, but targeted to the police institution’s global role in growing inequality and political persecutution of dissidents. Police forces are the first ones to get thrown into the line of fire when societal inequality grows: as they are the ones sent to execute the political decisions that cause that inequality to grow.

At 10.30 AM the protest camp people visited Fennovoima-Rosatom and Titan-2, the Russian firm being the main constructor of the planned nuclear power plant site. At the centre of Pyhäjoki the activists climbed to the roof of Titan-2’s office and dropped their banners. Soon one of the Titan-2’s workers tried to seize his momentum by trying to pull the banner down from an opened window. Finding his attempt unsuccesfull, the office staff withdrew, closing the shutters and hiding themselves form the cameras. This seems to be a common thinking pattern in Titan-2, that has a reputation of corruption, mob connections and failing to get salaries delivered to their subcontractors: close our eyes, do not answer the phones – if one cannot see the problem, the problem does not exist.

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Singing and dancing
After the rooftop banner party the activists moved on to the Fennovoima-Rosatom’s office and held a jolly Hiroshima -themed group singing workshop for the entire office staff. It turned out to be more difficult to close a bunch of singing person’s by shutting the curtains.

Unsurprisingly enough, Fennovoima-Rosatom had different ideas of the jollyness of the singing workshop. As the closed curtains weren’t enough, office staff alerted the private security and the police. Being the first to arrive, the two security guards soon got a drift of Fennovoima-Rosatom’s transparency ideals. While singing group still held their banner high, one activist decided to leave the office voluntarely. Security guards singled him the lone activist out and regardless the fact that the person was willing to leave by themself, the guards decided to grab them and put the person in handcuffs.

However, the professionality of these to private play cops did not convince the followers. Not only failing with the handcuffing, the two guards also managed to trip and fell themselves and their captive through the outer glass wall of the office. After a moment of rolling in the shattered glass, the guards managed to find their way out and drag the detained activist with them.

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After this display of professionality guards continued their attempt to handcuff the detained person lieng on the ground. During the process both of the guards were greeted with a cream pie right into the face. Soon the two-officer strong police patrol arrived and proceeded to move the detained activist to the police car. During the proces a third cream pie found its way to the face of the second police officer. All Cakes Are Beautiful, right?

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The cream pie fiesta aimed to bring attention to the role of the police institution in increasing inequality and being a tool of political persecution. The police, of course, ends up in the frontline of societal tensions while fulfilling the unfair decisions for the state.

In Finland, for example the case of the neo nazi street patrols ”Soldiers of Odin” and the clown group, ”Loldiers of Odin” forms one example. While police secures the neo nazi group’s right to patrol and hold openly nationalistic and racist marches to ”protect the Finnish women from the
immigrats”, the same police clads itself into riot gear and detaines the group of group of literal clowns singing, dancing and clowning against racism – expecially, if the clowns go dancing against racism on the same streets with the neo nazis.

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In Finland the general situation is not, of course, directly comparable to the experiences and everyday life of activists and dissidents in Russia or Latin america. However, the Pyhäjoki protest camp has had its share of risky or dangerous situations caused by the sort tempers and misjudgements of the local police. The police doing stupid shit to get activists off their lock on’s has resulted in various dangerous situations – for both parties. Detaching a person locked to the roof of a truck from their neck is a job for a specially trained team in Britain. In Finland a standard street cop and an angle grinder is enough.

In memory of the victims of the Fukushima catastrophe

Anti-nuclear activists were handing out candles to passers-by in front of Pyhäjoki town hall and library on Friday 11th from 11.00 to 14.00.

The accident in Japan five years ago showed that nuclear power is not a reliable solution even in the so-called western democratic states. The probability of accidents exists in every phase of a long and complex chain of production, from uranium mining to handling nuclear waste. The amount of radiation at the accident power plant in Fukushima is still lethal and it can not be cleaned until the year 2021.

A good example in Europe on acknowledging the risks of nuclear power is Austria where there is not a single nuclear power plant. In 1972 there was a plan to build a power plant in Zwentendorf. In the national vote in 1978 50,5 % of the voters resisted the start to use nuclear power. The plant was never opened, and not long after a new law was created in Austria to make nuclear power illegal. The ghost power plant of Zwentendorf was changed into a solar energy plant in 2009. One factor in banning nuclear power was the risk for accidents. Even if, after a variety of calculations, they didn’t consider the risk that vast, they acknowledged the state couldn’t afford taking one economically-wise. The final costs of moving and resettling people, contaminated soil and other factors would have been too big.

There’s no use telling that nuclear safety would be flawless even in Finland. It can be noticed that Fennovoima-Rosatom power plant construction site is very close to the sea level and also at that kind of geological area where the ground is rising. Thus the measurable difference between the ground and the sea level is really small which is making the area extremely sensitive for the rising sea level caused by climate change. The radical change in the climate will also bring more intense storms than the regular previous ones and it has to be taken under consideration when calculating the changes. For example, at the nuclear power plant in a Finnish city Loviisa there was an “almost” situation in 2005 because of a surprisingly strong winter storm when the sea level rose 171 centimeters. Declaring the state of emergency requires 184 centimeters.

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Even if an accident caused by a tsunami in Finland is highly improbable, it doesn’t mean we should stay silent and forget the other risks of nuclear power which are threatening humans and the whole ecosystem. Fukushima remains to be a haunting example of the carelessness in planning nuclear power plants. Regarding this it feels irresponsible that Fennovoima-Rosatom is painting beautiful pictures about clean and safe, so-called “Finnish” energy. Just a quick glance to Rosatom’s actions in, for example, Majak tells alone to what kind of safety culture is the only equipment supplier in Pyhäjoki used to.

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Come to Reclaim the Cape -action week with common transportation! Deadline 31.3.2016!

We are planning to arrange a bus from Helsinki via Tampere to the Reclaim the Camp -action week. Action week is at Pyhäjoki on 22th of April – 1th of May. In order to keep the ticket costs low enough, the final decision whether there will be a bus depends entirely on how many participants it gets.

This registration won’t yet bind you to anything: we are simply estimating the amount of participant. Contact us only if you are very likely joining the bus transportation to Pyhäjoki, if there will be one.

Departure from Helsinki would be around 9 AM on Saturday 23th of April. Price for one would be 20-30 euros.

Send the following information before 31.3. to pyhajoelle [at] riseup.net:
– name/nickname:
– I will join the ride from Helsinki/Tampere):
– I’ll pay 20/25/30 euros):

After 31st of March we will if the bus will be organized – and we’ll inform you about it!

See you at Pyhäjoki!