A weekend of protests barely makes the papers
There were at least four major protests this weekend targeting fracking, nuclear power, pollution, and mountaintop-removal mining. Here’s a quiz: How many of these protests did you know about?
There was Saturday’s banjo-festooned fracking protest in Washington, D.C. It was called “Stop the Frack Attack,” and it called on politicians to stop the frack attack. Some estimates suggest that 5,000 people participated in the action; UPI asked a pro-fracking guy how many were there and he said that he heard 1,500 from a cop, so UPI went with 1,500.
There were also protests in Japan and China. Earlier this month, some 100,000 people rallied in Tokyo to try and prevent a nuclear generator from being turned back on. Over the weekend, tens of thousands more marched outside of Parliament with the same aim: calling on the prime minister to halt the use of nuclear power. (There were no reports of banjos.)
In Qidong, China, a huge protest halted plans to run a wastewater pipeline from a paper plant into the ocean.
The pipeline that residents fear will pollute their water will not be built, the government promised on the Qidong police micro-blog and the website of Nantong city, which oversees Qidong.
This apparent victory for residents follows another one this month when protesters in the southwest city of Shifang, in Sichuan province, forced officials to scrap a planned copper refinery. A large demonstration halted a petrochemicals plant in Dalian, in eastern China, last year.
Environmental experts cheer the growing rights awareness among China’s citizens that forced the Qidong decision, but they caution that China will face many more such protests unless the government overhauls its opaque decision-making process and allows the public to participate.
And finally: A protest in Lincoln County, W. Va. — in the region heavily impacted by mountaintop-removal mining — shut down one mine for three hours on Saturday. Twenty protestors were taken to jail. A press release from the group behind the action, RAMPS, explained what happened:
More than 50 protesters affiliated with the R.A.M.P.S. Campaign have walked onto Patriot Coal’s Hobet mine and shut it down. Ten people locked to a rock truck, boarded it and dropped banners: “Coal Leaves, Cancer Stays.” At least three have been arrested [Editor’s note: This figure was preliminary] with another in a tree being threatened by miners with a chain saw. Earlier in the day, two people were arrested at Kanawha State Forest before a group of protesters headed to the state capitol.
Patriot Coal, the parent company of the mine, recently filed for bankruptcy. So that’s good news, anyway.
And that was your “What Protests Happened Over the Weekend?” quiz. How many of those protests had you heard about? One? None?
Now ask yourself this: Did you hear that people were upset that NBC tape-delayed the Olympics?