Santa evicted after dumping coal at GCM’s boss’s desk – Updated Videos from GCM demo in December 2012

A surprised Father Christmas was thrown out of a multinational corporation’s AGM in London today after presenting the Chairman with a stocking full of coal.

Santa Claus was frogmarched out by irate security at the prestigious meeting of GCM Resources, a controversial multinational corporation whose coal mine plans suffered angry condemnation by UN Special Rapporteurs this February. UN experts warned of “irreversible damage” to ecosystems and 50,000 evictions of indigenous people at the coal mine site in Phulbari, Bangladesh.

St Nicholas, dressed in red and white, entered the elite Insitute of Directors in Pall Mall and dumped a Christmas stocking stuffed with coal on the desk Gerard Holden, GCM’s Chairman, in front of shareholders. Father Christmas said “Ho, ho, ho, you’ve been naughty this year. You threatened to evict 130,000 people so you could profit from polluting the climate. Your stocking’s full of coal; next year maybe you should be a good little boy!”

Livid security pulled Santa from the stage and threw him out of the Insitute of Directors. Santa was last seen looking flustered with his beard at an angle, running haphazardly away from the AGM to a bicycle to make his getaway. It is not known whether Father Christmas will recover in time for the yearly gift-giving on Christmas Eve.

For more information on how to save Phulbari, seehttp://londonminingnetwork.org/

See Video:

See also:

Bangladesh mine activists dump coal outside GCM meeting in London

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City Diary: Santa visits GCM Resources, but investors are left wanting

News story on the GCM AGM published by The Daily Telegraph (UK) on the 3 January, 2013:

City Diary: Santa visits GCM Resources, but investors are left wanting

By Harriet Dennys

Environmental activist Ashley Feils was evicted from the GCM Resources AGM after presenting chairman Gerard Holden with a stocking full of coal

Environmental activist Ashley Feils was evicted from the GCM Resources AGM after presenting chairman Gerard Holden with a stocking full of coal.  Photo Credit: Anonymous.

Where now for GCM Resources’ controversial mining project in Bangladesh, after a protestor dressed as Santa Claus stormed the company’s pre-Christmas AGM and deposited a stocking full of coal in the lap of chairman Gerard Holden?

It seems the Aim-listed miner has already shrugged off the scenes of the St Nicholas imposter – 19-year-old grass-roots activist Ashley Feils of the Climate Justice Collective – being frogmarched out of the meeting at the Institute of Directors.

A spokesman says GCM Resources is still “very committed” to getting the project approved, and plans to meet Bangladeshi prime minister Sheikh Hasina “as soon as possible” to discuss how the project can address the country’s energy needs.

The groups opposing the mine say the Phulbari Coal Project could displace 220,000 people. Not so, responds GCM, which claims 40,000 people will be resettled over 10 years, and that 17,000 new jobs will be created as the open-pit coal project develops.

“We welcome the opportunity to speak in a constructive dialogue with any group, but have not yet been taken up on this offer,” says GCM, which has reassured shareholders it is “aware” of their frustration.

Link to article.

Updated List of Recent News Stories in Relation to Phulbari

Demo goes  fantastically well by passionate protesters chanting slogans

Demo goes fantastically well by passionate protesters chanting slogans. Photo Credit: Samarendra Das.

The following represents an updated list of new stories in relation to the Phulbari issue:

The Bangladesh Chronicle (31/12/2012): Asia Energy awaits PM’s Phulbari nod

Priyo News (31/12/2012):  Asia Energy awaits PM’s Phulbari nod

Coal Guru (24/12/2012): GCM Resources update on AGM

Coal Guru (24/12/2012): Phulbari deal not in hurry – PM aide

Bdnews24 (22/12/2012):  Phulbari deal not in hurry: PM aide

The Financial Express (21/12/2012):   Complaint filed against GCM over Bangladesh mine

New Age (21/12/2012): Complaint filed against Asia Energy in London over Phulbari Project

London Mining Network (21/12/2012): Coal play: inside the GCM Resources AGM, 20 December 2012

The Daily Sun (21/12/2012): Complaint filed against Asia Energy in London over Phulbari Project

Bdnews24 (21/12/2012): Asia Energy awaits PM’s Phulbari nod

Bdnews24 (21/12/2012): Protests in London over Phulbari mine

Foil Vedenta (20/12/2012)  – From Phulbari to Niyamgiri!

Economic Voice (20/12/2012): Complaint filed against British coal miner GCM over Bangladesh mine

New Internationalist (20/12/2012):  Angry Santa interrupts AGM over Phulbari mine

The Guardian (20/12/2012):  Bangladesh mine activists dump coal outside GCM meeting in London

Daily Mail (UK) (19/12/2012):  Miner GCM hit by protests over Bangladeshi mine that could displace up to 220,000 people
Read more:

These links will also be posted on our News and Resources Pages.

Coal Play inside and outside AGM: GCM takes a beating from Phulbari activists

By Raaj Manik, 22 December 2012

Thursday was a miserable day for the board of GCM Resources, and a day, of what the protesters of the destructive Phulbari Project called ‘ the day for Phulbari Resistance’.

Despite the heavy, grey and wet weather in London, protesters of the Phulbari Coal Project and transnational activists of climate justice and environment in London started to gather from 10am sharp at the Institute of Directors, where the Annual General MeetingChris Kitchen reads out eviction letter 20 Dec 2012 of GCM Resources plc, was scheduled to take place.  They were as creative as powerful in their protest against the investors and shareholders of GCM Resources.

The event kicked off by chanting slogans, ‘Out out out, GCM out of Bangladesh’, ‘blockade GCM, blockade the bloodsuckers’. It ended by chanting bangla slogans, Duniar majdur, ek hou juddho koro’. The event was organized by the UK branch of National Committee to Protect Oil-Gas-Mineral Resources and Port-Power of Bangladesh (‘UK Committee’) with the support of Phulbari Solidarity Group and several other environmental and human rights organizations based in London.

Activists from one such organisation, Agitartworks, put on an amusing street-theatre in which activists dressed as GCM executives acted out the repression which the people of Phulbari would face if the mine goes ahead. Activists blocked the entrance to the Institute of Directors (IoD) front door by dumping coal in the doorway.

2012-12-21 12.08.18 Activist dressed as GCM executives is arrested as demonstration rages - demo pic by Samarandra Das

Activist dressed as GCM executives is arrested as demonstration rages, photo credit: Samarandra Das

They were to lock out the investors of GCM. But, desolately, the police were more interested in detaining the activistsand actors, than tackling the real crimes being discussed inside by GCM executives and investors. Two of the activists, who played a wonderful performance in featuring how abusive and violent GCM Resources is, were arrested and more armed police arrived by police van to intimidate the remainder of the protesters.

But more was to come, and many more joined the protest at the post-theatre phase.  The demo took more powerful and organised look after the arrests of the two activists. Angry activists chanted Bangla slogan, the slogans that were borrowed from Phulbari, ‘Bosot vita dhongso kore koila khoni hobena; masjid-mandir dhongsho kore koila khoni hobena; tomar bari amar bari Phulbari Phulbari’.

Akhter Sobhan Khan Masroor, Member Secretary of the UK Committee, welcomed the demonstrators and invited to give speeches.

Rumana Hashem, an eye witness to the violence in August 2006 and the co-ordinator of Phulbari Solidarity Group, called for two minutes silence. She explained that this was ”to honour the three martyrs, Tariqul, Salekin and Al-Amen, who were killed on 26 August 2006 when paramilitary troops opened fire on the massive protest against Asia Energy in Phulbari; and the 121 victims of the latest garment factory tragedy in Bangladesh, who died in late November, because they were denied exit via the main gate when the fire alarm was raised in their factory, which did not have any fire-escape – and were forced to burn to death.”

Police stand in coal covered doorway - demo picture 20 Dec 2012 by Samarandra Das

Police stand in coal covered doorway on 20 Dec 2012. Ph0to credit: Samarandra Das

She added that the silence would also commemorate Catholic priest Bert White, a close friend of some of those involved, who had died in a fire on 20th December in 1999 and who, she said, would have been on the demonstration if he had lived, as he had been very much on the side of the poor, oppressed and dispossessed, and had always opted for the cause of justice and liberation.

She concluded, “As we demonstrate against corruption and human rights violations, we take the spirit of all of the above people in our heart and we demonstrate with the spirit that they are with us on the demo.”

There were speeches by representatives of the groups involved in the action, and a memorandum from the demo to the British Prime Minister was read out.There was anger at the involvement of the British Government in support for GCM Resources’ attempts to push forward the Phulbari project. Concerned voices, chanting slogans ‘shame, shame on GCM and this government’, were many. An Eviction Notice to GCM was to have been handed over to the company, but the presence of armed police prevented demonstrators from entering the building –‘ it will therefore be delivered to the company by post’, says Rumana Hashem.

The demo ended with a vote of thanks from the Convenor of the Committee in UK.

protesters dressed Santa Claus present GCM board with coal

protesters dressed Santa Claus present GCM board with coal, photo credit: annonymous

Meanwhile, inside the meeting of GCM, activists from the Bangladeshi community, Climate Justice Collective, Corporate Watch, and World Development Movement led by Richard Solly of London Mining Network, grilled the board on the contentious project and its catastrophic human rights impacts. And to top the morning off, back inside as the meeting was drawing to a close, GCM’s board had a surprise seasonal visitor, as an anonymous activist dressed as Santa Claus presented a stocking full of coal to company chairman, Gerald Holden.

He entered the room saying, “Ho, ho, ho, have you been naughty or nice this year? This year you threatened to evict 220,000 people so you could profit from polluting the climate. St Nick always knows – your stocking’s full of coal!”  Then he dumped a sack of coal over the desk on which the board was sitting. The meeting was quickly broken up following the intervention from Santa.

In London yesterday, GCM’s share price had already taken a dramatic tumble by the time executives and investors arrived at the AGM, following the publication of an article in the Daily Mail highlighting an on-going relationship between UK government officials and the company.

The London-based and AIM-listed mining company, GCM Resources had already had a scandal for the killing of three people in the North-west of Bangladesh, Phulbari, and the continued human rights violation since 2006.  Supported and financed by global hedge fund and banks including UBS, Credit Suisse, LR Global, and Argos Greater Europe Fund, the company is aggressively moving on to implement an immense open pit coal mine in the region, ignoring the human rights and environmental degradation the project would leave. If the project went ahead, it would turn 14,500 acres of land into a giant hole in the ground, displacing almost 130,000 people. As the coal is so deep, huge amounts of water would have to be extracted from the surrounding area, affecting the water supply of 220,000 people.

Following local, national and transnational resistance to the project for the last six years, a couple of investors including Barclays pulled out of the project, and the UK government distanced itself from it. But a change of personnel at the company earlier this year has seen renewed efforts by GCM to push the mine forward. In October 2012, the government of Bangladesh instructed local administrators to cooperate with Asia energy, the Bangladesh subsidiary of GCM’s surveys in Phulbari, attempting to quash opposition by banning gatherings of more than five people. In response, activists and communities against the mine called a two-day general strike, with further protest planned if demands to expel GCM from the country and ban open-cast mining are not met by 31 December. The protest in London was held to express solidarity with the people in Phulbari and to strengthen the power of resistance against the proposed Phulbari Coal Project of GCM Resources.

There is no doubt that the GCM shareholders are left with much confusion by the level of resistance to the mine in both Bangladesh and the UK.

Read further news coverage of the story below:

The Bangladesh Chronicle (31/12/2012): Asia Energy awaits PM’s Phulbari nod

Priyo News (31/12/2012):  Asia Energy awaits PM’s Phulbari nod

Coal Guru (24/12/2012): GCM Resources update on AGM

Coal Guru (24/12/2012): Phulbari deal not in hurry – PM aide

Bdnews24 (22/12/2012):  Phulbari deal not in hurry: PM aide

The Financial Express (21/12/2012):   Complaint filed against GCM over Bangladesh mine

New Age (21/12/2012): Complaint filed against Asia Energy in London over Phulbari Project

London Mining Network (21/12/2012): Coal play: inside the GCM Resources AGM, 20 December 2012

The Daily Sun (21/12/2012): Complaint filed against Asia Energy in London over Phulbari Project

Bdnews24 (21/12/2012): Asia Energy awaits PM’s Phulbari nod

Bdnews24 (21/12/2012): Protests in London over Phulbari mine

Foil Vedenta (20/12/2012)  – From Phulbari to Niyamgiri!

Economic Voice (20/12/2012): Complaint filed against British coal miner GCM over Bangladesh mine

New Internationalist (20/12/2012):  Angry Santa interrupts AGM over Phulbari mine

The Guardian (20/12/2012):  Bangladesh mine activists dump coal outside GCM meeting in London

Daily Mail (UK) (19/12/2012):  Miner GCM hit by protests over Bangladeshi mine that could displace up to 220,000 people
Read more:

These links are also available on our News and Resources Pages.

 

News: Anger and honour outside the GCM Resources AGM

From the London Mining Network website:

Anger and honour outside the GCM Resources AGM

Demonstrators from a number of groups gathered outside GCM Resources’ Annual General Meeting in London yesterday. The event was organized by the UK branch of National Committee to Protect Oil-Gas-Mineral Resources and Port-Power of Bangladesh (‘UK Committee’) with the support of other organizations.

Demonstrators chanted slogans calling for GCM Resources to leave Bangladesh, and for an end to the Phulbari coal mine project.

Akhter Sobhan Khan Masroor, Member Secretary of the UK Committee welcomed the demonstrators.

Rumana Hashem of Phulbari Solidarity Group called for two minutes silence. She explained that this was ”to honour the three martyrs, Tariqul, Salekin and Al-Amen, who were killed on 26 August 2006 when paramilitary troops opened fire on the massive protest against Asia Energy in Phulbari; and the 121 victims of the latest garment factory tragedy in Bangladesh, who died in late November, because they were denied exit via the main gate when the fire alarm was raised in their factory, which did not have any fire-escape – and were forced to burn to death.”

She added that the silence would also commemorate Catholic priest Bert White, a close friend of some of those involved, who had died in a fire on 20th December in 1999 and who, she said, would have been on the demonstration if he had lived, as he had been very much on the side of the poor, oppressed and dispossessed, and had always opted for the cause of justice and liberation.

She concluded, “As we demonstrate against corruption and human rights violations, we take the spirit of all of the above people in our heart and we demonstrate with the spirit that they are with us on the demo.”

There were speeches by representatives of the groups involved, and a letter (below) to the British Prime Minister was read out. There was anger at the involvement of the British Government in support for GCM Resources’ attempts to push forward the Phulbari project. The letter is to be signed by Bangladeshi organizations and sent to Downing Street.

The Eviction Notice at the end of this posting below was to have been handed over to the company, but the presence of armed police prevented demonstrators from entering the building – it will therefore be delivered to the company by post.

Details and photos of the theatrical events outside the AGM and the police response, can be found athttp://londonminingnetwork.org/2012/12/santa-claus-delivers-coal-to-gcm-board-inside-agm-two-arrests-following-coal-dumped-on-institute-of-directors-front-door/http://www.foilvedanta.org/news/from-phulbari-to-niyamgiri/http://www.newint.org/blog/2012/12/21/phulbari-mine-agm-protest/ andhttp://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012/dec/20/bangladesh-mine-activists-coal-gcm.

Letter to the British Prime Minister

20 December 2012

The Rt Hon David Cameron MP

10 Downing Street

London SW1A 2 AA

Dear Prime Minister

Subject: call out to hold Global Coal Resources plc and Asia Energy’s business to account

Seeking to prevent a “humanitarian and ecological catastrophe” in the north-west of Bangladesh, Phulbari, we, the Bangladeshi community in UK and the undersigned activists for environment and human rights have been campaigning against the London-based and AIM-listed multinational company, the Global Coal Management Resources (GCM) Plc, formerly known as Asia Energy, for six years now.

We would like to prevent GCM and its subsidiary Asia Energy from building one of the world’s largest open-pit coal mines that would forcibly displace an estimated 130,000 people, and would create crisis of drinking water for as many as 220,000 people, and destroy 14,500 acres of fertile farmland in one of the world’s development countries, Bangladesh, in which nearly half of all people currently live below the nutrition poverty line.

Opposition to GCM’s Phulbari project led to bloodshed in August 2006 when paramilitary forces opened fire on tens of thousands of peaceful demonstrators, killing three people including a 14-year-old boy and wounding hundreds.

The potential for violence has remained high in this project ever since August 2006. In the aftermath of the killings on 26th August 2006, a national strike shut the region down for four days and was brought to an end only when the government agreed to permanently throw GCM/ Asia Energy out of the country and ban open pit mine in Bangladesh. Despite violence and intimidation aimed at silencing opponents, some 100,000 people participated in a 250-mile Long March from Dhaka, Bangladesh’s capital, to Phulbari, in October 2010.

The project has generated grave concern at national and international levels including the United Nations and among human rights and environmental organisations worldwide. With their concerns about impending and grave human rights violations unaddressed, seven Special Rapporteurs of the United Nations issued a joint UN press release on 28 February, 2012, calling for an immediate halt to the project on the grounds that it threatens the fundamental human rights of hundreds of thousands of people, including entire villages of indigenous people, and poses an immediate threat to safety and standards of living.

The incident was reported to British parliament on several occasions and three submissions, including Rumana Hashem’s eye witness on the violation of human rights in Phulbari by Asia Energy, were made to the Joint Committee for Human Rights in 2009. But the UK government has failed to hold GCM’s business to account. Instead they favoured the corrupted businessmen by publishing misleading response from the investors of GCM. British MP John McDonell recently (28 Nov, 2012) pointed out, ‘what is interesting is that the company is one of those that have been promoted by this Government, as it was by the previous Government. Despite receiving a series of freedom of information requests recently, the Government have refused to provide information about their relationship with the company and about the support they have given it and its operation in Bangladesh. In its response, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office explains it will not provide the information.’

The situation in Phulbari has become very tense and volatile since 14 October 2012, when the Government of Bangladesh (GoB), under heavy pressure of the lobbyists for GCM, approved permission for survey to be conducted in Phulbari for the proposed coal project. The GoB wrongly instructed local officials and police to cooperate with Asia Energy, the Bangladesh subsidiary of GCM, in carrying out surveys in the area.  We view this as a very ominous development, and it is what catalyzed the demonstration last month in defiance of a colonial era ban 144 – slapped in place in an avert to prevent protest.

A 48 – hour general strike called by the National Committee to Protect Oil-Gas-Mineral Resources and Port-Power in Bangladesh halted trains, blockaded highways, and closed all shops and educational institutions in Phulbari on 22-23 Nov 2012. Strike was halted only when govt. officials agreed to speak with higher ups to press demands of the National Committee for fulfilment of the 6-point Phulbari Agreement, which includes permanently expelling GCM from Bangladesh and nationwide ban on open-pit mining, and press their demand for withdrawal of the Home Ministry circular.  National Committee has promised tougher nation-wide action if their demands are not fulfilled by 31 Dec.

Despite huge protests and the tense situation in Phulbari, GCM Resources plc is aggressively moving on to implement this immense open pit coal mine. Financed by global hedge fund and banks including UBS, Credit Suisse, LR Global, and Argos Greater Europe Funds, the company claims that they have a valid contract for coal extraction in Phulbari, while the Energy Advisor of Bangladesh has repeatedly denounced this claim.

In this situation, and as part of National Committee’s commitment to Protect Oil-Gas-Mineral Resources and Port-Power in Bangladesh, the Committee in UK, in conjunction with Phulbari Solidarity Group, London Mining Network, Corporate Watch, Climate Justice Collective, held a demo outside the Annual General meeting of GCM, at 10:00am at the Institute of Directors, 116-123 Pall Mall London, Greater London SW1Y 5ED. Several international human rights and environmental organisations including Agitartworks, Foil Vedanta, South Asian Solidarity Group, the Socialist Party in UK, World Development Movement, Udichi Shilpi Gosthi, UK, and Nari Diganta – a progressive women’s organisation based in Tower Hamlet, have expressed full solidarity to the Committee’s decision to hold the demo and to block GCM.

We, the Bangladeshi community in London and the transnational activists for environment and human rights, are determined to throw GCM Resources and Asia Energy out of Bangladesh. Today, in our demo, herein we seek to deliver the message to the investors of GCM. We seek to deliver the final words from Phulbari to the investors of GCM/Asia Energy that they must stop their aggression in Phulbari. There is no chance for them to get back to Phulbari or any other part of Bangladesh for coal in future.

We believe that the Government of UK will respect and promote our decision. We call upon the Prime Minister, Mr David Cameron, to instruct his administration to take necessary steps to hold GCM’s business to account. We demand that the Government of UK tells GCM to end its unethical business in Bangladesh, and ensures that no other UK businessman demonstrates aggression towards open pit mine in Phulbari and Bangladesh.

Department of Housing

Eviction Notice

We regret to inform you that your home has been taken over for the coal reserve found underground

Effective Immediately

If you do not leave now, you will be beaten, tear-gassed and fired upon. If you die, your family should be happy for not obstructing the path of our profit-making spree.

This may sound harsh, but believe it or not, this had happened in the green countryside of north-west Bangladesh. A London-based and AIM-listed company, GCM Resources plc, formerly known as Asia Energy, financed by global hedge funds and banks including UBS, Credit Suisse, LR Global and Argos Greater Europe Fund, is aggressively moving on to displace an estimated 130,000 people from a densely populated and fertile location, called Phulbari, in Bangladesh for extracting coal that they propose to export for their profit.  They will destroy trees, businesses, homes, barns, boundary walls, schools, health facilities, mosques, temples, churches and archaeological sites. They want to displace over 50, 000 indigenous communities who were peacefully living in the region but now are living threats of eviction. People in Phulbari are tremendously resisting these threats. They were brutally repressed on 26th August 2006; when 3 of the protestors were killed and over 200 were injured.

People from Phulbari need your solidarity!  Please join the blockade against the plunderers at GCM and write to:  GCM Resources plc, Level 2, Foxglove House, 166 – 168 Piccadilly W1J 9EF

From: Department of Housing (On behalf of People of Phulbari, Bangladesh)

TO: GCM RESOURCES  plc.

Eviction Notice

We regret to inform you that your office in Bangladesh has been taken over:  Effective Immediately

On behalf of the people in Phulbari, Bangladesh, we serve you this eviction notice to leave our country at once. You have been charged with provocation to violence, corruption, political manoeuvring, and abusive practices to get a deal that is disastrous for people, for environment, and for our national interest. You are unexpected in Phulbari. You have been expelled from Phulbari. You have been expelled from Bangladesh.

WE DO NOT WANT GCM RESOURCES PLC IN PHULBARI!!  WE DO NOT LET GCM RESOURCES IN BANGLADESH!!

WE SHALL PROTECT OUR RESOURCES WITH OUR LIVES!!

NO OPEN PIT MINE IN BANGLADESH! NO DESTRUCTION OF 80% FERTILE LAND IN PHULBARI!

NO FOREIGN COMPANY! NO EXPORT!

GCM, GO AWAY RIGHT NOW! OUR LAND OUR RIGHT, GET OFF NOW!! GCM, YOU HAVE BEEN EVICTED!!!

GCM AGM 2012: From Phulbari to Niyamgiri!

From the Foil Vedenta website at:  http://www.foilvedanta.org/news/from-phulbari-to-niyamgiri/

From Phulbari to Niyamgiri!

Activists from Foil Vedanta joined the Bangladeshi community and other organisations today at the AGM of GCM Resources – the UK based mining company who want to displace 220,000 people for a giant open cast coal mine in Phulbari, Bangladesh. As 40 protesters shouted slogans outside the Institute of Directors (IoD) where the AGM was being held, another group of activists blocked the entrance to the building by dumping coal in the doorway.  Inside the AGM one activist dressed as Santa gave company chairman Gerard Howell a present of a stocking of coal.

Two activists from group Agitartworks dressed as GCM Resources executives kicked over a makeshift hut and covered a woman in coal as part of a street theatre outside the door. Police arrested them for breach of the peace but released them shortly after the demonstration.

Police push an activist away from dumping coal on a woman as part of a street theatre. They believed they really were GCM execs!

At the same time inside the AGM an activist dressed as santa from Climate Justice Collective gave a stocking full of coal to the company chairman saying ‘you’ve been naughty this year’. The meeting was totally disrupted by activists from the Bangladeshi community and other organisations including World Development Movement and London Mining Network asking questions about the highly contentious Phulbari project. Foil Vedanta members gave speeches calling for solidarity between movements against mining companies and other corporations looting South Asia’s resources while benefitting from a cloak of London respectability.

In 2006 three people were killed and over 200 injured when paramilitary troops fired on a protest of some 80,000 demonstrators in Phulbari. If completed, it has been estimated that the project would destroy the homes, lands, and water sources of as many as 220,000 people, and forcibly evict an estimated 130,000 people.

Activist dressed as GCM executives is arrested as demonstration rages

Miner GCM Resources is the subject of a complaint to the Organisation for Co-operation and Development over the controversial coal mine. Emails obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show the company also requested help to push the project forward from UK Trade & Investment.

Seven Special Rapporteurs of the United Nations issued a joint UN press release on 28 February, 2012, calling for an immediate halt to the project on the grounds that it threatens the fundamental human rights of hundreds of thousands of people, including entire villages of indigenous people, and poses “an immediate threat to safety and standards of living.” ??GCM Resources plc, an AIM-listed UK-based multinational company, is moving to implement the project despite the human rights and environmental concerns that have been raised.

Coal covered hands of arrested activist

The situation in Phulbari has been volatile since 22 Nov, 2012 when a 48 hour general strike halted trains, blockaded highways, and closed all shops, educational institutions etc. National press in Bangladesh reported that security forces including about 500 police, Rapid Action Battalion forces (denounced as “a death squad” by Human Rights Watch), and members of the Bangladeshi border guard have been deployed to Phulbari.

We declare solidarity with those affected and fighting in Bangladesh. From Niyamgiri to Phulbari – we will not allow these companies to loot precious lands in the name of development!!!

A GCM shareholder swears defiantly at the demonstration

 

 Police stand in coal covered doorway