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Shelltosea solidarity action in Göteborg.

category mayo | rights, freedoms and repression | news report author Tuesday February 21, 2006 21:53author by Eoin Ó Broin - Shelltosea Report this post to the editors

A manifestation to show solidarity with the Shelltosea campaign in Ireland took place at the Shell Station at Ullevi in Göteborg on Saturday 18th February as part of the International Day of Action in support of the campaign. The station is located along a dual carriageway which runs near the city centre so the main impact of the action was that lots of passers by saw the banner and placards. The banner read "Bojkatta Shell" while the placards read "SOLIDARITETSAKTION med KAMPANJEN 'Shell To Sea' på IRLAND. Friends of the Earth (Miljöförbundet Jordens Vänner, Göteborg) brought 'along their mobile display box decorated with Shelltosea posters and a Statoil advertisement with "Greenwash" printed accross it.
Facing the Dual Carriageway and the tram tracks
Facing the Dual Carriageway and the tram tracks

We set up camp just after 1pm on the intersection outside the garage where the dual carriageway meets the tram tracks. We had applied for and received permission from the Swedish Police to demonstrate a few days previously. In doing so we knew that a blockade was out of the question and that we would have to stay off Shell property. This decicion was taken following consultation with participants and those in the know. As such it seemed only logical to do everything by the book. I called to the shop in the Shell garage the night
before to tell them there would be an action the next day but surprise surprise, they already knew. There were 2 policemen waiting at the garage. Once they saw the size of the crowd they departed. Another 3 came along shortly afterwards though apparently to admire the husky like Alaskan malamute dog who was with us. A Shell employee showed up just after we started to ask what the purpose of the manifestation was. We told him and gave him a flyer. He told us he worked for Shell in Stockholm but was from Göteborg and presumably home for the weekend. He offered us coffee and biscuits if we needed a break inside. He must have been their PR man for the day. The offer wasn't taken up but was an interesting change of tactic from your average garage owner back home who would be screaming at the protestors that they were going to cause him bankruptcy and that he was going to get the guards to have them all arrested. I guess the Swedish approach was to try and draw as little attention to the issue as possible so that it would just "go away".

There were not too many pedestrians passing by so we started giving flyers out to the cars stopped at the traffic lights. It seemed all immigrants driving cars were very keen to know what was going on while of the Swedes about half were interested. After an hour and a half we left the scene and wheeled the mobile display through the city's pedestrianised streets to give out the last of the 150 leaflets we printed.

The demo was small but plenty of people saw it from their cars and trams and the webpage advertising it on the "socialism.nu" website was accessed over 800 times. Against this the main local newspaper "Göteborg Posten" were not interested. They rang me a few hours beforehand to know how many people would be there but when I said 15 or 20 the excitement vanished from their voice. No one from Sweden's renowned Socialist, Anarchist, or Anti Fascist community were there either. Perhaps they didn't know about the action or didn't think it was relevant or thought the plan was too tame or were doing something else. There were no other demonstrations in the city on the same day though... It would have been good to have some of them out as there are literally thousands of them. Ironically there seems to be a keen interest among them in Irish Republicanism. Perhaps if I had emphasised that Sinn Fein were major supporters of the campaign some would have come out...

Beforehand I had formally contacted a number of organisations to see if they were interested. The anarchist Union SAC who have 1,000 members in Göteborg said that if the issue didn't directly affect their members they would probably not be interested though one guy from the anarchist youth group SUF told me that they would be very interested but had their annual conference on the same day. I had also called to the Vänsterpsrti (Left Party) offices to tell them about the action and that their MEP Jonas Sjostedt was a supporter of the
campaign. That didn't seem to impress them much though Jonas himself sent his best wishes by email. Emails to Nordic Greenpeace and Faltbiologerna (Nature & Youth) elicited no response. None of the lads from the GAA team came either though I didn't get to tell them and only got to put a poster up in the local. That was a first for me - a pup that was willing to put a poster for a demonstration on their noticeboard! I might have been better off concentrating on them. When the Iranians have actions here (and they do!) it seems to be only
15 or 20 of them gathered to make their point. I guess word of mouth goes a lot further than random posters by random people about random events... Chancing calling for a blockade at a staion that was not located beside Police Central HQ may have been more worthwhile too though if we had done that the action might not have lasted very long...

Well we gave it a lash anyway. The weather was "white" and the air was fresh and sure it went grand:-)) And how many of us was there? Exactly 7 including the dog!

Thanks to Friends of the Earth in Göteborg for all their help!

Good luck with the rest of the campaign at home and if you want any stickers or anything given out send them on! Hold tight when it comes to it in a few weeks time! Hopefully if some people in Mayo make a stand others from all over the country will follow!

Mobile display box and the dog
Mobile display box and the dog

FOE snowman commemorating 1 year of Kyoto joins protest
FOE snowman commemorating 1 year of Kyoto joins protest

Ullevi, home of IFK Gothenburg in background
Ullevi, home of IFK Gothenburg in background

International Solidarity:-))
International Solidarity:-))

author by maura harrington - shell to sea; davitt leaguepublication date Wed Feb 22, 2006 11:40author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Quality is always preferable to quantity and, as has been seen so often, small committed groups can, through their determination, provide quality information that gets round so that, at some stage hopefully, there will be quality and quantity!
The same degree of thanks is due to seven brave, cold souls as to seven hundred or thousand.
Thanks a million...beir bua agus beannacht. Maura

 
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