Today on 7 September, 26 frontline community leaders from Phulbari, Parbotipur, Khoyrbari and Nowabgonj stood trial as the London-listed company GCM’s CEO, Gary Lye, filed multiple arbitrary cases in Dinajpur Magistrate Court. Gary Lye and GCM’s Bangladesh subsidiary, Asia Energy, continue to abuse the communities in Phulbari and Dinajpur for they had taken stance against GCM’s plans against open cast mine in Phulbari in 2006. The 26 anti-mining community leaders were convicted of aggravated trespassing and criminal damage-related offences as they surrounded the vehicle of Gary Lye and the entrance doors of a building that hosted the corrupt CEO of GCM when they returned to recreate violence in the township in 2014. The communities stand firm to fight these arbitrary cases. Phulbari Solidarity Group stand in solidarity with the communities. As a gatekeeper organisaiton to Phulbari, we have been receiving messages of solidarity to the community leaders from across the world this week.
A beautiful and powerful message of solidarity has just arrived from Rhineland Klima Camp. The message came via email to Phulbari Solidairty Group in support of both the brave activists in Phulbari and the campaign to save the Sundarbans. The message states that the fight against coal miners and corrupt multinational corporations has to continue. Activists at the Klimacamp in the Rhineland in Germany wanted to send the following message and photograph on the tenth anniversary of the Phulbari killings. It was delayed to reach us due to unforeseen. The message from Klima Camp resistance states:
“Dear people fighting against the Rampal coal-power plant and the coal industry in Bangladesh,
As activists at the Klimacamp in Germany we want to express our solidarity with people fighting against the destructive Rampal coal-power plant and the coal industry in Bangladesh. We know that we are battling against the same issues – the coal industry, state power, climate change, human displacements and ecosystem destruction. However we acknowledge that the situation for people protesting in Bangladesh is much more severe than for those of us who live in Germany and Western Europe.
When we protest in our countries we may be arrested and treated harshly by the police, but we know that we will not be intentionally killed. We are aware of our nations’ involvement in the destruction of your country – that the company that wishes to mine at Phulbari is listed on the London Stock Exchange and that our countries cause climate change but Bangladesh is at the forefront of climate change impacts.
At the Klimacamp we are taking actions against the coal industry and other polluters in Germany. We see this as a small piece of the bigger picture in the battles against coal and for a liveable climate. We want to send our support and solidarity to you, especially as you mark the tenth anniversary of the Phulbari demonstration and the murder of villagers.
There were a thousand people at lunch on our resistance camp today, from Germany, around Europe and beyond. They were told your story, and invited to join the photo to send you solidarity. So many people wanted to take part that we couldn’t fit them all in the shot. Your work is an inspiration to us.
campaigners at the Rhineland Klimacamp 2016.”