Fascist attack on peaceful march in Bangladesh, Solidarity from London and across the earth to save the Sunderbans

  • 200 mangrove marchers brutally charged by police in Dhaka
  • 16 unarmed protesters seriously injured
  • Six frontline defenders and NCBD leaders imprisoned
  • Cops foiled public statement to cancel dark deal over world’s largest mangrove

By Rumana Hashem and Raj Manik

As you might have awaited update from Thursday’s public march against the destructive Rampal coal-power plant, we are in the process of doing a detailed and analytical report on the attack on peaceful marchers and the fascism of Bangladeshi police. For now, note that the Dhaka protest was attacked by state law enforcement force, and the Prime Minister shamefully denied to meet with the concerned citizens of Bangladesh who wanted to handover a statement to their Prime Minister.

Police opens fire on NCBD marchers in Dhaka 28 July 2016 The masculine male police beaten her so badly the female left activist went unconcious on 28 July 2016 NCBD march against Rampal deal to handover statement to PM of Bangladesh in Dhaka 28 July 2016 Dhaka March to Save the Sunderbans on 28 July 2016. copy right @NCBD Dhaka

When the marchers walked towards the Prime Minister’s office to submit a statement to save the Sunderbans, police unleashed violence on peaceful marchers, threw tear shells over a march of 200 protesters who sought to handover a public statement against the dark Rampal deal that would destroy the world’s largest mangrove, the Sunderbans. Many of our activists, including the Member Secretary of NCBD, Professor Anu Muhammad, were severely injured as beaten up by fascist police force who acted on behalf of a fascist government.  Students and women-environmentalists were beaten to such that several of them were taken to hospital in critical condition.

The leaders of National Committee and frontline organisers of the march were abused and six front-line protesters, including Anu Muhammad, were detained on arbitrary charges. Police did not only abuse and charge activists but also foiled the well-written public statement, which demanded the immediate cancellation of the destructive Rampal coal-fired plant, to symbolise that commons and citizens do not have the right to express opinion on natural and national resources in Bangladesh.

In a nutshell, we have seen a fascist face of the government of Bangladesh in the month of Mangrove Action. We have witnessed how a so called pro-independence government deployed fascist police to dismiss people’s urge to preserve national sovereignty. The state-law enforcement force had foiled demands to conserve the world’s largest mangrove forest just a day after the International Mangrove Action Day. This is shocking and sickening.

So proud of our women activists taking on frontline to defend environment and mangrove in Bangladesh 28 July 2016 environmental activist tortured by facist police in Dhaka on 28 July 2016

Dhaka March to PM office on 28 July 2016

Dhaka March to PM office on 28 July 2016. Copyright @NCBD

Although media coverage of this heinous attack on peaceful marchers was poor, we have heard the sound of angers, condemnation and protests across the earth on Thursday.  In London, the Bangladeshi community rallied under the banner of protect resources of Bangladesh, the UK branch, and unreservedly condemned the attacked on environmentalists and progressive activists in Dhaka.

protest against rampal in london on 28 July 2016 PROTEST at Altabl Ali Park on 28 July 2016 protest at altabl ali park in london on 28 july 2016

London protest against destructive Rampal power plant on 28 July 2016

London protest against destructive Rampal power plant on 28 July 2016. Photo credit: Shefa Ahmed and Rumana Hashem

Despite miserable weather and a week day afternoon, there was a great turn up of saddened Bengalese at Altab Ali Park at Aldgate East. Speakers include Bangladesh Socialist Party leader, Mostofa Kamal, European-Bangladesh Climate Change, Ansar Ahmed Ullah, Communist party leader, Dr Mohammad Ali Khan Jinnah, Photo journalist Peter Marshall, Worker’s party leader Ishaque Kajole, Dr Mokhlesur Rahman of NCBD UK , Dr Rumana Hashem of PSG and other community organisers. We were, of course, present at the rally from Phulbari Solidairty Group. But the question is: does the Bangladesh government care for what we think and say about our national environment and national resources?

We will be updating you on further development on this via twitter, blog and mailing lists.

What you can do to help us:

  • We would appreciate it if you can re-tweet our news and if you can tweet @PSG-BD
  • Please do your own outreach by using hashtag #Rampal and #SavetheSunderbans
  • We would appreciate it if you can avoid asking for money/donation from people for this mangrove action. Any sort of donation based campaign can undermine our cause and would let down the movement to save the Sunderbans.
  • If you need help, please do contact us for connecting on how to organise in your own locality and how to express solidarity with the protesters back home. You can email us: phulbarisolidaritygroup@gmail.com and rabbani.enpolicy@gmail.com

#SavetheSunderbans #StopRampalCoalFiredPlant

Further news:

Police foiled march: The daily Star report http://www.thedailystar.net/city/demo-sundarbans-foiled-10-held-1260748

 

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Protest against Destructive Rampal Power Plant this Thursday

By Rumana Hashem

Despite nationwide protests and international campaigns against the controversial coal power plant in Rampal, Bangladeshi government has approved India‘s NTPC proposed Rampal power plant which, if implemented, will destroy the world’s largest mangrove, the Sundarbans. Bangladeshi and Indian governments have signed a destructive deal in July, the month of International Mangrove Action, when the world is supposed to celebrate International Mangrove Day.

On 13 July, Bangladesh and India have signed an agreement which enables India’s state run Bharat Heavy Electrical Ltd. to implement the Rampal thermal power plant. The proposed plant would be built in 14 kilometres to the Sundarbans, a treasured ecosystem along Bangladesh’s coast.

It is outrageous that the governments of the two neighbouring states, Bangladesh and India, have disregarded the global calls and conspired to abandon people’s urge to prevent the construction of disparaging coal-power plant in Rampal from happening. They let Bangladesh’s only mangrove forest, Sundarbans, to be destroyed for self-interests. This deal has been signed at a time when Bangladesh has been undergoing political turmoil and religious genocide. The nation was focused on Gulshan attack when the two governments have approved the destructive deal.

The National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Port-Power and Mineral Resources in Bangladesh (NCBD) will march to the Prime Minister’s Office this Thursday, 28th July, to protest against the deal.

 

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In solidarity with the protesters in Bangladesh, the UK branch of NCBD will rally against the destructive deal at 6.30pm on the same day at Altab Ali Park in East London.

Please join us along with your friends and raise your voice against this destructive project. Our outcry can protect the world’s largest mangrove forest, the local environment in Bangladesh, its ecology and species. #SavetheSundarbans

 

Read further news here:

A new power plant could devastate the world’s largest mangrove forest

Bangladesh, India sign Rampal power plant construction agreement

Additional information and news:

1.“Bangladesh Sticks With Coal Power Plant Project Despite Major Backlash,” Mongabay, February 16, 2016,
http://news.mongabay.com/2016/02/bangladesh-sticks-with-coal-power-plant-project-despite-major-backlash/

2. Anu Muhammad & Sheikh Muhammad Shaheedullah, “Manipulating Rampal,” Dhaka Tribune, March 31, 2016,
http://www.dhakatribune.com/op-ed/2016/mar/31/manipulating-rampal

  1. Dr. Abdullah Harun Chowdhury, “Environmental Impact of Coal Based Power Plant of Rampal on the Sundarbans and Surrounding Areas,” Khulna University, http://bagerhatsociety.com/apanel/admin/download/tdwn2573136.pdf
  2. “Ganges River Dolphin,” World Wildlife Foundation,http://www.worldwildlife.org/species/ganges-river-dolphin
  3. “Orion Signs Deals for Generators for its 660MW Power Plant,” The Daily Star, May 11, 2014, http://www.thedailystar.net/orion-signs-deals-for-generators-for-its-660mw-power-plant-23556
  4. Sönke Kreft, David Eckstein, Lukas Dorsch, and Livia Fischer, “Global Climate Risk Index 2016,” GermanWatch, November 2015, http://germanwatch.org/fr/download/13503.pdf

It is time for Global Day of Action against Vedanta

Phulbari Solidarity Group extends unconditional solidarity with Foil Vedanta in their fight against notorious Vedanta. Foil Vedanta, a campaign group against extractive corporation, has produced invaluable reports on mining effected areas in India and Afrika, and global trade of metals by notorious multinational company, Vedanta. We will join Foil Vedanta on their annual Global Day of Action at Vedanta’s AGM again this year. Like previous years, we will join activists to bring the defiant energy of communities fighting and winning against Vedanta around the world to London on Friday, 5 August.

The main event will be held on Friday 5 August 2016, 14:00 – 16:00 at Ironmongers Hall, Barbican, EC2Y 8AA (nearest tube Barbican).

Foil Vedanta AGM 2016 poster. Source: Foil Vedanta campaign letter 6 July 2016

Foil Vedanta AGM 2016 poster. Source: Foil Vedanta campaign letter 6 July 2016

 

This year, pollution affected communities of Zambia won their nine years battle in their Supreme Court, and now won the right to have their case heard in Britain. In India, the Dongria Kond of Niyamgiri in Odisha are now demanding to dismantle Vedanta’s aluminium refinery in Lanjigarh, after winning their case in the Supreme Court of India.

Parallel demonstrations are already planned in Zambia and India on the 4th August and questions raised by the communities will be asked inside the AGM meeting.

 

We encourage our supporters and readers to join Foil Vedanta on Friday the 5th of August to tell Vedanta to stop its notorious activities overseas.
For more information please follow the link:
http://www.foilvedanta.org/actions/global-day-of-action-against-vedanta-5th-august/