Ansar Ahmed Ullah:
On 17 October climate justice protesters gathered outside the Bangladesh High Commission, London demanding the scraping of India Bangladesh joint venture coal fired Rampal power plant, close to the Sundarbans. Protesters claimed that the plant would destroy the Sundarbans, the world’s largest mangrove forest. Huge carbon emission, air, river and land pollution will cause destruction of the forest. They demanded immediate halt of the project and all industrial infrastructures in and around the Sundarbans.
In a press statement issued by National Committee to Protect Oil Gas & Mineral Resources in Bangladesh, the UK Branch (NCBD), UK said amidst heavy policing passionate climate and mangrove activists from Bangladesh and the UK blocked the main entrance of the High Commission for three hours. The press release, signed by Dr Akhter Khan Masroor Member Secretary, NCBD, the UK Branch, further claimed non-violent Bangladeshi activists wanting to hand in a memorandum to the High Commissioner from the protest were denied access to the building. Despite advance permission sought, Ms Saida Muna Tasneem, the Bangladesh’s High Commissioner, refused to meet the activists and receive memorandum to save the Sundarbans, which the activists called appalling.
One of the participants Mr Fe Fiammaif said, “We came to hand in a memorandum and for a peaceful a protest on an important issue, but the High Commissioner called police rather than meeting us. I am appalled by the manner of my Ambassador. ”
Protesters condemned deployment of heavy police to silence peaceful gathering. National Committee to Protect Oil Gas & Mineral Resources in Bangladesh, the UK Branch (NCBD), UK was joined by Phulbari Solidarity Group, Reclaim the Power, XR youth, XR Global Justice Rebellion, XR Liberation, Environmental justice Bloc in solidarity to save the Sundarbans protest.
The memorandum demanded that the Bangladeshi government immediately take positive steps to save the Sundarbans and withdraw from building coal-power plants near the Sundarbans, protect mangrove forests and comply with the UNESCO World Heritage recommendations as elaborated in the decision of the 43rd session at the World Heritage Committee’s conference in Baku.