Thursday, June 11, 2009

Response to Guardian frontpage story June 11, 2009

Dear Editor,

The Headline Carried in The Guardian New Papers: “Mom blames smelter protest for baby’s death” is imbalanced and contains several inaccuracies.

On Tuesday June 9, there were protests in La Brea at two points. One was at Sobo Village and the other at Union Village. We are not sure where Ms. Thomas was delayed. However, the villagers of Union Village are very sorry to hear that Ms. Thomas’ baby, who fell from a bed and was injured at home, later died. We wish to express our sincere condolences to Ms. Thomas and Stamlin.

We are however, very disturbed that the death of this child is being portrayed as having happened at the hand of villagers. The police have the full power to take charge of emergency transportation if a medical situation presents itself during protest action. It is unfortunate that the police did not exercise this judgment in Ms. Thomas’ case. If at any time this situation was brought to the attention of the villagers we would have certainly intervened where the police didn’t. We would have with haste cleared the road and asked the police to escort her to the hospital. However, if the delay arose at the Union Village site, this was never told to us either by Ms. Thomas or the police.

Had the Guardian contacted us for our perspective when writing this story, we would have provided you with this relevant fact and assisted the journalist to prepare a more balanced article free from other inaccuracies.

We appreciate too well the importance of life and one’s children. Our peaceful and legal protest actions are aimed at protecting our lives and children’s lives from sickness and death that is associated with the Alutrint Smelter. We hope that the rest of the country can understand what it means to have to live with the reality that you and your babies have to be tested every two years for life threatening diseases caused by a development, which was supposed to be for your betterment.

We have now provided the media through written statements as well verbal interviews with very clear information that we are not protesting for jobs. We are seeking to protect our lives and community. Therefore, we would be grateful if you would also correct the inaccuracy in your article that the protest was for jobs in the smelter complex.

Mr. Elijah Gour,
President, Union Village Council, La Brea.

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Tuesday, June 09, 2009



JUNE 9, 2009

We understand Mr. Manning is planning to come La Brea tomorrow to turn the sod for Alutrint's power plant.


Protests involving the villages of Sobo, Vance River, Vessigny, and Union are growing. The citizens involved are against the building of the Alutrint Smelter. We now have the information that Alutrint has been hiding since February 2008 on the health risks of the smelter and the facts on such things as the loss of our beach that has been hidden from us since 2005.

Please note protests that started about two weeks ago were for jobs and fair relocation practices. However, our protest is by villagers being left to live near this smelter and we do not want it! The residents scheduled for relocation and the residents being left behind are standing together.

Those who want jobs in Alutrint have a separate platform. However, we sympathise with them as we have all been fooled that there would be safe jobs for our people. Instead we have hundreds of Chinese roaming about our backyards.

The representatives on many village councils and in the Parliament are representing Alutrint not us. They are trying to shove the smelter down our throat to silence us. This is why we are in the streets, we are representing ourselves.

Today the police discharged a firearm in the air in the midst of children in Union Village. Our protest is non-violent. We will not back down.

The State wants the people of Trinidad to believe that only a handful of residents of La Brea do not want the smelter. This is not true. For example, last week when C-news came to do a feature on La Brea they were only taken to La Brea Village where some persons told them they want the smelter. We waited for them but they never came to our villages. Please note the La Brea area consists of many villages. It is the some 4000 plus residents of Sobo, Vance River, Union, and Vessigny villages that have to be tested every two years for cancer. The residents of La Brea Village do not have to be tested. They cannot speak for us! We speak for ourselves. We do not accept this hurtful smelter.

The State is trying to create the impression that all is well and that the smelter is moving ahead at pace and is unstoppable. They want the people of Trinidad to believe we cannot stop it. This is not true. There is no plant on the ground yet. No plant will go on that ground.

We are calling on right minded citizens of Trinidad to support our call for justice and fairness. This is not just about the environment. We will continue our non-violent protests tomorrow and as long as it takes to safeguard our health and community.

M. Greaves, Sobo Village, Tel:795-5377
E. Gour, Union Village, Tel: 364-4574

Monday, July 07, 2008

RIP Grace Dolsingh

Members of the anti-smelter community joined with friends and relatives of Grace Dolsingh last Saturday to say a final farewell to Grace Dolsingh, one of the elders of the Cedros community that stood firm against Alcoa and the government of Trinidad and Tobago and ultimately succeeded in keeping them out of their land.
Grace died from complications of two heart attacks. On Friday June 27, after suffering a mild heart attack, she was taken to the Point Fortin hospital, a woefully inadequate structure that laughably claims to serve an area of heavy industry. She was put on a chair and made to wait for 25 hours before she received medical attention. Friends and family feel that had she been attended to earlier she would have been spared the massive heart attack she succumbed to on the following Monday.
Grace's untimely passing is another indication of the strange priorities of those in power, particularly the Prime Minister of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, the Honourable Patrick Manning, who, two weeks ago signed a US$400 million loan with the Chinese government to begin work on the Alutrint aluminum smelter complex in Union. This despite the fact that there are currently four cases before the court regarding this latest manifestation of helter smelter development at the expense of our sustainability as a small island state.
We continue to ask, as we mourn a committed community elder, a mother, grandmother, friend, that the government reconsider its priorities and its promises to the people of this nation. We ask that the government reconsider its notion of development to include the needs of its people, particularly those most in need of care - the elderly, children, working mothers- many of whom populate constituencies like Point Fortin.
Eternal rest to you, Grace. We will continue your fight with all our strength and love.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Fishermen report largest recorded oil spill off east coast Trinidad

It is for reasons like these that we the people of Trinidad and Tobago must never give up the struggle against the wanton destruction of our natural environment. It is for reasons like these that we cannot give our support to projects like Alutrint's aluminum smelter or Essar's steel plant or any of the other ridiculous plans to expand the presence of heavy oil and gas based industries in our backyards and on our shores.
If it takes the EMA a week to take notice of an oil spill, how can we trust them to monitor the daily emissions coming from a plant?
RAG joins with the voices of the Fishermen and Friends of the Sea and the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Fisherfolk in calling for an immediate introduction of proper emergency response mechanisms to be put in place to deal with situations like this. Below is a letter from TTUF which was sent to the press on Monday September 24, the day we celebrate our status as a republic.

To The Editor
We have copied this letter to our Prime Minister, Minister of the Environment and the EMA for their immediate attention.
In the past these public officers have done nothing to ensure proper emergency response mechanisms.
Please help us to stop this callous crime against our communities and the environment and to expose Government negligence.

The first report of this spill was made to us last week Monday by fishermen.
We sought to confirm this spill before reporting it.

The weather was very hazy this evening when these pictures were taken.
The oil slick plume shown in the attached was visible stretching for 20 miles this evening.
This is the largest oil spill that this Nation has ever had.
Weather permitting, we will get better pictures tomorrow.

Today, Monday 24th Sept, we confirmed the source of this spill by overhead flight and attach for you the enclosed pictures for publication.

We report that this oil spill is emanating from the Teak Alpha Platform which is 15 miles due east from Point Radix/Point Galeota, and which is now operated by Repsol and the NGC. The spill has been occuring for over a week and Repsol and the NGC have preferred to knowingly let it continue rather than stop it and clean it up. There is legislation under which the CEO's of this company can be prosecuted.

We, the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Fisher-folk (TTUF) reported this spill to the Coast Guard at 9.30 am this morning, but at 7pm the Coast Guard reported to us that they have not investigated it,
since they claim to have been informed by Repsol that "it is only a sheen".
It clearly is not. It spreads visibly for over 20 miles and can be viewed and filmed by your staff in aircraft provided by TUFF tomorrow afternoon based on the wind and weather factors.

Over a hundred years ago this country started oil extraction, and to date, conveniently, we are not aware of any Coordinated Emergency Response Oil Spill Plan to co-ordinate
immediate state and private sector agencies in response to oil spills. Fishermen and Friends of the Sea (FFOS) submitted an Emergency Responce Coordination Plan to the PNM Government since 2001,
in which the EMA should act as the central emergency response and investigative coordinating agency. To date no response nor acknowledgement has even been received from the Honourable but seriously careless Ministers of Energy, Environment and Prime Minister.

Why is the PNM Government dragging their feet on the approval and implementation of a co-ordinated emergency response plan? A good question is who benefits from this carelessness? Are politicians working for the energy sector? In "developed" countries the CEOs of Repsol and of the NGC would have already been prosecuted for this disaster. What is the meaning or benefit of their so called "Developed Country" status if they continue to look away from their responsibility to protect our island ?

Terrence Beddoe
Interim President

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Anti smelter movement goes to court

The courtroom on Tuesday 31st July was really packed. Justice Peter Jamadar had made arrangements for this larger courtroom for this particular day because he was expecting public interest to be high. All the seats in the public gallery were filled. The lawyers section was occupied by Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj representing the litigants Maxim Harris, a resident of La Brea, and the Trinidad and Tobago Civil Rights Association; by Rishi Dass, Nyree Alphonso, and Judy Kublalsingh representing the litigants, the Smelta Karavan (Fyard Hosein SC is still in England and Nicole Mohammed was ill); and by Ramkissoon et al representing the litigants PURE (anenvironmental group from the La Brea area), and RAG, the Rights Action Group. On the defendants side there were lawyers for the EMA, for the National Energy Corporation and Alutrint, and the Attorney General seeking to represent the interests
of the State. Proceedings began at 9:00 am.There were four basic issues facing the court:
Should the Attorney General, represented by Martineau and Young, be
granted leave to intervene in the case to represent the “public
Seeing that there were three sets of litigants, should the court allow
them all to participate in the application for leave, or should the
court eliminate one or two?
Were the three sets of litigants, all filing for judicial review of the

EMA’s decision to grant a certificate of environmental clearance to
Alutrint, “oppressive” on the EMA? The EMA has tried to argue that the
weight of three simultaneous actions was “oppressive”.
What should the timelines for submissions of affidavits, applications
etc, and for the date for the hearing of leave, be? Remember“leave”
has to be granted by the Court before the substantive matter is heard.

The judge sought the views of all the litigants on the matter of the Attorney General joining the matter. The litigants decided that the Attorney General could join, but that the matter of the AG’s possible claim for costs, in the event that the defendants won the case, had to be rectified.

The judge was of the view that all three litigants had direct interest
in the matter. His tentative direction was for the case to be “rolled up”, meaning that all three could join forces, but an order of presentation of points had to be worked out; in other words, which team would present first, second, third. There was general concurrence on “rolling up” by all three teams of litigants.

The EMA was given a deadline by which to file their claim for “oppressiveness” and the litigants were give dates by which reply to these claims.

It was decided, after much ado [because if Peake could be here then
Martineau would not be here and if he were here then Mendes would not
be here, etc etc] that the hearing for leave would be done on the 11th
-13th September. From what I gather, the decision of the court to hear
or not hear the case will be based on, first, the argue-ability of the
matter, and on, second, the standing of the litigating parties.

It was decided that the hearing would first be heard, and on the same
three days, the matter of standing would be finally ironed out.

NOTE: RL Maharaj decided to drop his constitutional motion in respect of
the Alutrint matter. He would pursue only the judicial review action.
He did not give a clear reason for doing so.

So, it is RL Maharaj, Fyard Hosein, Ramkissoon VS Martineau, Peake,
Mendes and Quamina. Justice Jamadar is keen to hear the case. He is
sensitive to the historical importance of this case. We will need to
pack his court. Please prepare your court wear for the 11th to the 13th

September, 9 o’clock at the San Fernando High Court.

Much respect to those who have shown support on this historic matter,
the outcome of which will determine our future development in the 21st

Wayne Kublalsingh

Friday, August 03, 2007

Defending the wild in the land of fire and ice

by Jaap Krater
Saving Iceland

This year Iceland has seen it's third summer of direct action against
heavy industry and large dams. In a much disputed master-plan, all
the glacial rivers and geothermal potential of the largest wilderness
of Europe would be harnessed for aluminium production. Activists from
around the world gathered to protect Europe's largest remaining
wilderness and oppose aluminium corporations.
Icelanders were joined by activists from Africa, South and North
America and Europe for an international conference 'Global
consequences of heavy industry and large dams' organized by Saving
Iceland. "Progress is painted by some as huge projects, large scale
development. In all our countries, these have become disasters,
socially, ecologically and economically. Progress is a plenitude of
small solutions. We should let a thousand flowers bloom," states a
declaration from the conference, formulated by consensus by participants.

The conference looked at the effects of large dams on ecosystems,
climate and communities, on the role of aluminium in the arms
industry and military and on 'green-washing' strategies of large
corporations. Activists recognized the remarkable similarities in
corporate strategies between their different countries and
continents, on how communities and governments are manipulated and
environmental impacts covered up. A next activist conference is
intended in Trinidad and Tobago, where local communities oppose an
ALCOA aluminium smelter. Other campaigns that were presented included
the Movimento dos Atingidos por Barragens (Movement of Dam Affected
People, Brazil), Narmada Bachao Andolan (Save the Narmada Movement,

Reclaiming Reykjavik

The resistance against heavy industry and large dams in Iceland has
heated up, and not just because of global warming. Activists set up
camp in Mosfellsheiði, about ten miles north of Reykjavik. A dam was
built in front of the prime minister's office and Reverend Billy of
the Church of Stop Shopping held a sermon in Reykjavik's largest
mall, connecting heavy industry to consumerism. A public meeting was
held with the people of Thorlakshöfn (named as a site for two new
aluminum smelters) and activists from anti-heavy industry struggles
in South Africa and Trinidad.

On July 14th, Bastille-day, around a hundred people raved all over
Reykjavik's ring road in a carnaval against heavy industry. Iceland's
first Reclaim the Streets began cheerfully as Saving Iceland ran onto
Reykjavik's western ring. A clown army danced to the beats down into
the city centre. This Rave Against the Machine was organized by
Saving Iceland to "reclaim our public space, space to be free to
dance, to be free from dreary industrial car culture and to voice a
sound of festival in opposition to the grim industrialisation plans
for Iceland".
When the rave reached Reykjavik's town center, police blocked the
road and a stand-off ensued. After an hour police attacked the raving
protestors and they were all to happy to use all the techniques they
learned from training with American Swat-teams such as foot-cuffing.
Youtube removed video's of police brutality without explanation,
possibly on request of the Icelandic government.

Direct Action

On Wednesday the 18th, Saving Iceland closed the supply road to
Century Aluminum's Grundartangi Smelter and the Icelandic Alloys
steel factory. Two days later, Reykjavik Energy was invaded and a
huge banner was raised accusing the electricity company of supplying
energy to war-mongering corporations ALCAN-RioTinto and Century-
RUSAL. Reykjavik Council's building had a banner drop two days later,
as they own the energy corporation.
In the meanwhile the Icelandic consulate in Edinburgh, Scotland was
painted red under the slogan 'Iceland Bleeds', and locks were glued.

The next week, Saving Iceland blocked the gates of RioTinto-Alcan's
Straumsvik smelter in Hafnarfjordur.
Earlier protests against Alcan have been successful. Recently, in
Kashipur, Northeast India, Alcan had to give up it’s participation in
a bauxite mine because of protests against their human rights
violations and environmental devestation. Alcan has been accused of
cultural genocide in Kashipur, because mining and dams have already
displaced 150.000 mainly tribal people there.
In Iceland, the people of Hafnafjordur have stopped the expansion of
Straumsvik in a referendum, but the mayor of Hafnafjordur and Alcan
are hinting at expanding th smelter anyway, saying that the
referendum only applied to a planning permission of a certain spot by
the existing factory and that it could not stop the smelter expansion
being built on a landfill on the other side of the factory. Locals
continue to protest these plans and dropped banner's stating 'No
means no' and
'Nietsche killed god, Ludvik [the mayor] killed democracy'.

Saving Iceland then invaded Reykjavik Energy's construction site for
expanding the Hellisheidi geothermal power plant in Hengill. People
locked themselves onto machinery, climbed a giant crane and blockaded
the entrance roads. The action must have been succesful, as Reykjavik
Energy has announced to sue the protestors for the damages caused by
stopping work on the site.

Finally, the Earth Liberation Front struck Rio Tinto in England in
"In the early hours of 30/07/07, saboteurs struck at Smurfit Kappa, a
plastics factory owned by Rio Tinto Alcan in Chelmsford, Essex. The
gates were locked shut, office doors and loading bays were sabotaged
with glue and a message left painted on the wall. Vehicles belonging
to Rio Tinto were also sabotaged," says the ELF's statement.

Myths around Geothermal Power

The goal of enlarging Hellisheidi power plant is to meet industries
demands of energy, states the Environmental Impact Assessment,
particularly the Century expansion at Grundartangi and possible new
ALCAN and Century plants at Straumsvik and Helguvik. The expansion of
the Alcan smelter in Hafnarfjordur has been rejected by referendum,
and other smelter projects in the south west are not definite. The
current Icelandic government says to oppose more smelters, but
Hellisheidi is still being expanded. Once the expansion is completed,
this will force Iceland into more smelters because the electricity
needs to be sold to get investments back. In the mean time, farmers
pay twice as much for electricity as Century does.
The expansion of the Hellesheidi power plant in Hengill is itself not
as green as Reykjavik Energy suggests. Hot and toxic waste water is
either disposed of by pumping it back into the borehole, commonly
increasing the frequency of earthquakes in this very active fault
zone, or it is pumped untreated into streams and lakes, wiping out
valuable ecosystems as treatment is considered too expensive. The
Northern end of lake Thingvallavatn is already biologically dead in
parts due to wastewater pumping and must be protected from more
damage. Extraction of underground fluids leads to changes in
groundwater movements, commonly including drying of unique hot
springs and geysers and pollution of pure subsurface spring water.
Four endangered bird species are negatively affected: the falcon,
greylag goose, harlequin duck and raven.

Smelter expansion

ALCOA, Alcan/RioTinto, Norsk Hydro and Century/Rusal are all scheming
for new smelters in Iceland. Century Aluminum, a part of the recently
formed Russian-Swiss RUSAL/ Glencore/SUAL conglomorate, want to build
a second smelter in Iceland in Helguvik with a projected capacity of
at least 250.000 metric tons per annum. The planned site is designed
to accommodate further expansion. Grundartangi has this year been
extended to 260.000 mtpa. Currently, an environmental impact
assessment is under review for the Helguvik smelter, produced by the
construction consultants HRV (Honnun/Rafhonnun/VST). HRV are the
aluminium industry's foremost construction engineers and, with
Bechtel and Impregilo, have built the Alcoa smelter in the east.
It is absurd that an engineering company with a vested interest in
the smelter construction could be considered to produce an objective
impact assessment. The document makes idiotic claims, such as that
pollution is really not a problem because Helguvik is such a windy
place that the pollution will just blow away.
This smelter will demand new geothermal power plants at Seltún,
Sandfell, Austurengjar and Trölladyngju on the Reykjanes peninsula
(south of Reykjavik), in addition to the Hengill area which has
already been seriously damaged by Reykjavik Energy at Hellisheidi.
The impact assessment does not take these into account, nor the
impact of the huge amount of power lines and pylons required. Also,
the recquired capacity exceeds the natural capactity of the
geothermal spots, and they will cool down in three to four decades.
Century admits it wants the site to expand further in the next
decades. So it is obvious that this smelter will not just ruin
Reykjanes but also need additional hydropower.
The impact procedure seems to be completely irrelevant anyway, since
the company has completed an equity offering worth $360 million to be
deployed for partly financing the construction of the Helguvik
smelter project. This indicates that Century already has high level
assurances that the project is to continue no matter what. This
completely contradicts the claims of the new government of Iceland
that it is opposed to new smelter projects.

Expansion of Icelandic Alloys and aluminium smelters considerably
contribute to Iceland 's greenhouse emissions. If there are no
further expansions of heavy industry beyond Grundartangi and ALCOA
Fjardaal (the new smelter in the east), Iceland will emit 38% more
greenhouse gases than in 1990. If other expansion plans continue,
levels would rise to an incredible 63% above 1990 levels..
"This shows that all the talk about green energy from hydro and
geothermal is, in reality, a lie. Icelanders have to rise up against
these transnational corporations," says Saving Iceland.

Aluminium = War

One effect of this year's actions has been to expose the dubious role
of aluminum companies in the arms industry. Much of the aluminium
produced goes directly to the war efforts of the US, Russia and
others. Alumium is the single most important bulk metal for modern
warfare. It is the most important bulk metal for missiles, tanks,
fighter planes, and nuclear weapons. "It is as if Iceland is
organizing a competition which company - ALCOA, Alcan/RioTinto or
Century/RUSAL - has committed the most human rights and environmental
crimes to decide who to sell energy," says Saving Iceland.
ALCOA's links to the US's military-industrial complex is well known.
But until now Century and Alcan have managed to stay out of the picture.

Century is a subsidiary of Glencore, which is well known for shady
deals with apartheid South Africa, Communist Russia, Iran, and Iraq
under Saddam Hussein". Glencore has merged with RUSAL, making the
largest aluminium company in the world. RUSAL, as the main aluminium
supplier of the Russian military, of course contributes directly to
the war in Chechnya, where at least 35.000 civilians have been
killed, with bombs and missiles made of aluminium. Glencore are also
known to have recently massacred Wayuu Indians and local farmers
in Colombia for mine expansion.

RioTinto-Alcan's aluminium alloys are sold for a whole range of
military purposes. Alcan is the main supplier for European Aerospace
and Defense and Space, producer of military helicopters, military
satellites, the Eurofighter Tycoon, Mirage F1, EF18 Hornet and other
jets. EADS is the world's leading producer of missiles. Deals made
between the EADS and Alcan are presented as between Airbus and Alcan,
to cloud the military involvement; it is common for all aluminium
companies to hide their 'defense' products under the title
'aerospace'. But at the same time, military products need to be
marketed, so images of fighter jets are displayed on Alcan
Aerospace's website. Alcan also supplies to arms-manufacturer's
Boeing (US) and Dassault (France).

Colonizing Africa

RioTinto-Alcan has now signed a letter of intent with the Govt. of
Cameroon to expand the existing Alucam smelter with 150.000 Mtpy, and
build a new 150.000 Mtpy smelter. The Lom Pangar Dam, to be
constructed by the government, would power this. Alcan have a large
number of projects planned Africa - their "greenfield project
pipeline" includes Cameroon, Ghana, Guinea, Madagascar and South
Africa. 'Greenfield' means that untouched nature will be destroyed
for the mines, infrastructure, smelters, and dams that would power them.
Alcan was active in apartheid South Africa between 1949-1986. Now
they want to come back and develop a new smelter in the near zero-tax
'Coega Development Zone' near Port Elizabeth, powered by coal and
nuclear delivered by Eskom, one of the worlds largest electricity
companies. "Thirty percent of the poor communities of South Africa
don't have electricity, and now that will be going straight to
Alcan," says Lerato Maregele, a S-African activist visiting Iceland.
Elkom is a 'sister-company' of Iceland's national power company
Landsvirkjun. Landsvirkun want to be part of this deal and more
generally branch out to Africa, in a joint operation with Iceland's
national bank Landsbankinn. Landsvirkjun can be expected to try and
sell their expertise to Eskom's various hydroprojects in Mozambiqu,
Uganda and Congo. They will try to be part of damming the Congo
river, a project twice the size of China's Three Gorges, that will
have a devastating effect on the central African rainforest.
In the meanwhile, Alcoa are planning seven new dams in the Amazon
rainforest to power aluminium smelters.

Kick them out!

So aluminium corporations are posing a massive threat to wildlife,
wilderness and people around the world. In Iceland, people have seen
the destruction wrought by the Karahnjukar dam, and are more and more
hesitant about bringing more heavy industry into the country.
Stopping Alcoa, Alcan-RioTinto and Century-Rusal in Iceland will be a
major slap in their faces, and it is possible definitely possible to
win the struggle in Iceland if Icelanders keep on receiving
international support and solidarity. More and more a global network
against heavy industry is forming and kicking them out of Iceland can
be a first step to kicking these evil bastards off the planet.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Saving Iceland celebration marred by police intervention

It started off as peaceful and fun filled protest party, but turned ugly when officers of the Icelandic police force put an end to Rave Against the Machine – a reclaim the streets type event being hosted by our brothers and sisters in the struggle against heavy industry, Saving Iceland - on Saturday July 14 in downtown Reykjavik. Just 20 minutes from the end of the parade, police intervened, causing a complete stop to the slowed flow of traffic behind the Rave.
For more than an hour, the Rave stood still on Snorrabraut, close to Rejkyavik's main shopping street. Us ravers were led by the antics of our very own Clown Army. We partied in the streets for an end to heavy industry in Iceland, South Africa and Trinidad. Scores of Icelanders gathered on the corners, giving support, reading information sheets and generally enjoying the music and Iceland's first reclaim the streets celebration. In the midst of negotiations, the police officers seemed to change their minds, and a struggle began between the peaceful protestors and the officers. Suddenly they were grabbing clowns, bystanders. One young woman was grabbed by the hair and thrown to the ground. Officers then forcibly removed the driver of the music van from the driver's seat. At the same time five officers had grabbed two of the ravers and pinned them to the pavement. As the crowd chanted 'the whole world is watching' and 'Hitler police', the police continued their brutality against the unarmed protestors. Cameras recorded the violence, but the other ravers kept calm, asking what were the charges. The dj played on.
Moments later the two arrestees were picked up like trapped animals, their feet and hands bound behind them and put into the police van. At this time they also grabbed another bystander who had questioned their brutality. When the van of police drove away with the prisoners, another police officer broke the glass on the driver's seat of the music van and disconnected the power. The speakers went silent, but the voices of the people gathered continued in the streets. The police then left the scene and the rave continued to the police station three blocks away where the arrested ravers were being held. The still free ravers gathered outside the station singing and drumming. On two occasions the police emerged from their fortress to intimidate the ravers, at one point to rip down the banners that were hung from the front of the station and then to arbitrarily grab at any dancer within reach.
The latest news is that the arrested ravers are being held overnight at the station in downtown Rejkyavik and that they would be released by Sunday morning. The police have thus far witheld information on their medical status, although an ambulance was seen entering the facility.