Industry makes the world go round
with statement and background info
activists blackened and deported
Occupation of the Toxic lobby in Brussels
A day before
the opening of the Brussels EU summit, eco-activists occupied the
office of CEFIC, the powerful European chemical industry lobby organization.
The other-globalisation-activists aimed to expose the dirty practices
of the chemical giants, and their large influence on European decision
making. The office was evicted by police by means of 'pain-stimuli'
after four hours.
Around 7.30 AM on Wednesday December 12th, around 50 mainly Dutch
and Flemish eco-activists stormed into the Brussels office of CEFIC.
Within ten minutes, the staircase-shaft was barricaded and the few
employees already present were bonjoured out of the building. In
the end, we managed to enter the fourth closed off floor of the
sizable building, as well as the large balcony, where banners were
dropped stating exclamations such as "CEFIC = bioterrorism".
In the meanwhile, another group of 50 people arrived outside with
art and samba, right after they distracted police attention converging
at a metro station. Twenty pages of background info on the chemical
lobby appeared on the internet and was handed out as a brochure.
companies (BP, Aventis, Unilever etc.) are responsible for 30% of
the worlds chemical production and the accompanying pollution. The
lobby organization has hundreds of thousands of workers and hundreds
of billions of turnover to have it's way with European politicians.
It's a club that has thus far remained pretty much in the background.
The aim of the organization is: "(...) to be a reliable spokesperson
for the industry and to offer our members the service they need
to maximize their profits and reduce their expenses." (CEFIC
website). CEFIC is successful. Recently, proposals for European
legislation on chemicals were greatly weakened. Less successful
are the concrete results of CEFIC's programme of 'voluntary initiatives'
to help the environment, that it says to be so proud of. CEFIC can
not mention any concrete result - these programmes exist merely
to greenwash the sector's image.
we accidentally tripped over revealed CEFIC is lobbying to get the
European Commission to undermine publication of results of animal
testing and genetic experiments. It argues the competitive position
of the European corporations obviously have to be protected at all
costs.The wording in all these texts is informal, all suggested
concept-regulations of the Commission are neatly repeated with suggestions
on what needs to be altered.
The first police
managed to get in through the first floor window. Later a large
mass of riot police entered through the the staircase door that
was broken open by security personnel. After the occupants running
around were dragged away with some violence, eight activists remained
chained down with a new model of lock-ons (metal tubes to lock your
arm in). After eleven they finally managed to open a first lock-on
pretty cautiously. The procedure for the next one was a tad more
sadist. A locked-on activist was pulled up by the pressure points
in her neck, and police said this torture would only stop after
her lock-on partner de-attached himself. The last people were brought
into the gendarme station still locked-on after a four hour occupation.
In the meanwhile the first people arrested had to wait in a bus
tied with tie-ribs (plastic handcuffs) for two and a half ours.
Later, the streets around the station were closed with barbed wire
to stop a solidarity noise demonstration from reaching the imprisoned.
the cosy afternoon in a damp and dirty group cell it slowly became
clear that the foreigners would be evicted. The Belgian activists
were released at the end of the day without charges. A prosecutor
assured several times the non-Dutch foreigners staying in the Netherlands
would be deported to Holland as well. In the deportation bus it
became clear that this would only by true for the people who had
their Dutch address registered in their passports. We stated with
some conviction to the riot cops that the bus would most certainly
not leave when out three Italian, Swedish/Spanish and Spanish comrades
would not be allowed to come along. First the police stated the
coach would be too full and they would go in another van to Holland,
so we said to exchange them with three Dutch people. In the end
some cop would go inside the station to discuss our demands, so
he said. When the bus tried to leave, activists pushed towards the
front of the coach and people started climbing out of the roof windows
to stop the bus from driving. Neckbending and beating by the police
could not get us back into the seats, so finally things calmed
down a bit again and police suggested to go back into the station
where our comrades were remaining. There we staged a sit-in in the
hallway. Finally, the police stated we were waiting for a decision
from the ministry of the interior on our demands, which we could
wait for in the cell.
So the strange
situation rose that we remained in the cell again for two hours
semi-voluntarily without any legal status. At the cell door the
police again became violent; it seams that the police wanted to
provoke us, since we had wisely stuck to pushing and shoving, which
would not be enough to re-arrest us.
of our non-cooperation and the business of our solicitors led to
the Belgian ministry of the interior to request the Netherlands
to allow our three comrades onto Dutch territory. Because it was
very unlikely The Netherlands would give permission for this we
decided that resisting our own deportation further would not bring
us any further. At ten o'clock we passed the border, coughed in
a prisoner bus with an escort of eight riot police vehicles.
Around that time
the "Theaterstraat" foundation coach, our transport to
Brussels, also regained it's freedom. Earlier that day the bus was
confiscated and all our luggage was searched intensively, with goggles,
'Ecodefense!' books etc. being confiscated. Brussels' mayor told
the news proudly that knives, radio scanner spying devices, gas
masks and balaclavas were confiscated. Obviously, we were violent
and evil. The police surprisingly later sent out a statement that
yes, they were only ordinary pocket knives, that it wasn't very
clear that we had violent intentions and that they had used 'necessary'
violence against us, but then all the crap accusations had resounded
That the Belgian
state news bulletin is setting things up, was obvious from the fact
that there literally was untruth in every sentence. The deportation
had been delayed because we tried to escape from the bus through
the roof, those kind of things. A police chief made a slip of the
tongue and started talking about "violent football supporters,
uh... demonstrators". Only the 'De Morgen' newspaper managed
to make a decent article that had some actual reflection on the
ideas behind the occupation.
with the actions in Prague and Genoa where a number of the occupants
were a part of, this action was not focused on the conference center.
What's new about globalising capitalism is that the clear distinction
between the state and the market is disappearing. The relationship
between the EU and CEFIC is an expression of this development. In
cannot be maintained that a large institute such as the EU can,
using legal measures, offer a solution to the dying of the earth
and the accompanying social crisis. The EU model of 'planning competition'
(just think of the huge European coordination schemes for infrastructure
expansion), between regions, and with the US, is the new gestalt
for our opponent. Defending the
earth is not anymore possible without an accompanying plea for far
reaching down sizing all elements of society, and autonomy of local
communities. Direct action, such as the shutting down of a symbol
of our new adversary is a direct expression of our desires and our