Environmental activists detained in St Petersburg

Publish date: July 11, 2006

UPDATED/VIDEO:Today 13 activists participating in the peaceful action against nuclear waste import to Russia have been detained in St Petersburg, including co-chairman of Ecodefence group Vladimir Slivyak and Bellona-Russia activist Vera Ponomareva. Besides, deputy editor of Environment and Rights magazine Kristina Rakityanskaya, who monitored the action, was also detained. After several hours at the police station the activists were released and should appear in court tomorrow charged with disobedience to the police. All the charges against Vladimir Slivyak were dropped, he is free.

The environmentalists unfolded the banner “No import of nuclear waste” in front of the Bronze Horseman, an impressive monument to the founder of St Petersburg, Peter the Great, on Senatskaia Square. The monument is the official symbol of the Russian chairmanship in the upcoming G8 meeting.[picture1]

The special police forces had arrived long before the action and it took just a few minutes to detain the activists. One of the girls who held the banner had her hand wounded by the police what was later confirmed by the doctor at the police station. The girl received no treatment however.

During detainment of Vladimir Slivyak who did not directly take part in the action, but just watched it, the policemen said he was detained thanks to a signal about his possible terrorist activity.[picture3]

The activists were held several hours in custody without charges. The police department representatives responsible for organised crime took photographs and finger prints of the activists and refused to answer the questions about the reasons of detainment.

The reason for the action was information about the USA and Russia’s plans to sign an agreement, which will allow to send thousands tons of nuclear waste from nuclear plants from all over the world for storage to Russia. It concerns the nuclear plants receiving nuclear fuel from the USA. It is expected that the agreement would be announced during the G8 meeting.[picture2]

“I believe, Russia should be proud of its young activists, who stand out against the dirty deal on transforming Russia into international nuclear repository. They are real citizens” said Member of European Parliament of the Group of Greens and the European Free Alliance Rebecca Harms.

“The nuclear waste will present danger during thousands of years. It is unfair to make future generations responsible for the mistakes of the mankind. Russia should not become the world nuclear dump” said Bellona representatives.

“The recent 10 years Rosatom is purposefully trying to transform Russia into international radioactive waste dump. No country can solve the issue of safe nuclear waste decommissioning during 50 years, and the present actions of the Russian authorities are the crime for Russian population” believes Ecodefence co-chairman Vladimir Slivyak.

Russian environmentalists protested and are protesting now against the law amendments, which allowed spent nuclear fuel import to Russia in 2001.

Today Rosatom and western nuclear companies ship uranium hexafluoride from Western Europe to Siberia. Russia also receives spent nuclear fuel from Bulgarian and Ukrainian nuclear power plants.

More information about the action will come soon.

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