On 13–16 May 2016, we, together with many others, will be carrying out acts of civil disobedience to powerfully disrupt ‘business as usual’ at an open-cast Lignite mine in the Lusatia fields. Through our presence next to and within the mine, at the conveyor belts, at the entrance around and on top of the excavators and technical infrastructure, we will force the mine operator, Vattenfall, to suspend its normal operations.
We are drawing a line against further mining and burning of coal, one of the biggest cause for climate change and its dramatic impacts. Considering the urgency of the climate issue, we consider it both necessary and appropriate to go one step further – from public protest to civil disobedience.
The form of action we have chosen is a publicly announced mass blockade, allowing multiple options for involvement. It is based on the success of the occupation of an open-cast pit during the summer of 2015 in the Rhineland. Anyone who wishes to participate should be able to, regardless of whether they have experience of similar protests or not: Some activists will descend into the pit to block excavators and other technical infrastructure, others will block the coal supply to the power station.Still others will protest near the edge of the pit. Additionally, there will be an official, lively and colourful demonstration on that weekend that will allow all who wish to protest to do so lawfully.
We will be bringing sacks of straw, foam and inflatable mattresses with us to the blockade, so that we can make it as comfortable as possible. Using a variety of banners, symbolic objects and posters we will draw attention to the multiple destructive effects of mining and burning coal. For example, road signs of bulldozed villages and towns highlight the destruction of settlements and culture by coal mining, while other symbols shall stand for people in various parts of the world who have been forced to leave their countries because of climate change. Windmills will represent the alternatives to fossil-fuelled energy production, and by planting flowers and plants in the pit, we are protesting against the destruction of fertile farmland for coal mining.
We will behave in a calm and cool-headed way. Escalation will not be provoked by us. We will not put people in danger. We will block and occupy with our bodies, but we will not destroy or damage any machinery or infrastructure in the process. We will pass through or around the cordons and barriers set up by police and pit security, and we will not respond to provocation. Our action will convey an image of diversity, creativity and openness. Our action is not directed at Vattenfall workers or the police. The safety of the activists taking part, and of the pit workers, will be our top priority. We will be well-prepared for a safe entry to the action sites, e.g. descent into the pit and access to the conveyor belts.
We come from a variety of different social movements and parts of the political spectrum. We take common responsibility for the success of this action. During the action we intend to create a situation that is transparent for all participants and in which we support one another’s well-being. We will prepare with training in advance of the blockade. We stand in solidarity with all people who resist the destruction of our climate by coal power plants and the social and ecological effects of fossil-fuelled energy production. We are solidly opposed to any attempt to use the resistance to coal mining to achieve reactionary or nationalist goals.