Greenpeace activists evicted from Brdy military zone

Photo: CTK

At the end of April, activists from the Greenpeace environmental group set up a camp on a patch of land in the Brdy military to protest against the US radar facility to be built there and refused to leave the site in spite of repeated warnings by the military police. After waiting for more than six weeks for hunger and thirst to drive them away the police finally took action on Monday and evicted the campaigners by force. Ruth Fraňková spoke to Jiří Tutter, the head of the Czech branch of Greenpeace, and started by asking him to outline the reason of the protest:

Jiří Tutter
“The reason was to express our disagreement with what the Czech government has been proposing, disagreement with international politics which for us represent a certain risk of new arms races and more international tension. We don’t believe that the radar and national missile defence as such is the best tool how to secure international peace.”

If the campaigners were not forced to leave how long would they have stayed at the area?

Photo: CTK
“We didn’t have any deadline. We wanted to stay there until there was a significant shift on the political scene, either internal or international. If we saw such a positive move we would leave the place. But this hasn’t happened so we were ready to keep on.”

Why do you think the activists were forced to leave in the end? They were allowed to stay for six weeks…

“I think they were unsure about how long we wanted to stay and it wouldn’t be a nice picture if Condoleeza Rice came to Prague one day (which is still not confirmed of course) and at the same time Greenpeace was occupying the spot where the radar is to be built.”

Photo: CTK
How did the activists manage to stay for such a long time? As far as I know no one else was allowed to enter the area and bring them food…

“Officially people were not allowed to enter but of course the forest is large and there are many paths which the military cannot control with the staff they have. So we always know how to get our people through.”

Five people were detained and brought to a police station… Will anyone be actually charged?

Photo: CTK
“It’s too early to say. We have been asked to explain or clarify why we occupied the site. So we’ll see what charges or penalties there will be, if any.”

What are you planning to do now?

“Again, it’s too early to say. We have to discuss it. One thing for sure is that we are not giving up our opposition towards the whole project. Be it the way of other kind of demonstrations or be it again in Brdy, that’s still a question to be answered.”