It’s not unusual to arrive at the European Parliament to find a swarm of police cars sitting in the vicinity and various roads closed off. It’s understandable really – the Parliament does get a lot of dignatories who need an escort (in the last fortnight, these have included Jacob Zuma, President of South Africa, and José Ramos-Horta, President of Timor-Leste).
What you don’t expect to see is a swarm of police looking on as people shimmy up the flagpoles.
This was a protest by Greenpeace against nuclear power use in the EU. They targeted the flag-poles of the 16 EU member states which have large amounts of nuclear waste. The signs they put up read “Nuclear Waste, No Solution” in various languages.
They also brought along samples of contaminated material taken from various sites which are either in the EU or used by EU powers during nuclear fuel refinement process. One of the samples is taken from a beach near Stellafield reprocessing facility in North of England. Annoyingly, I didn’t realise they had these samples when I went past and only found out when I was emailed a press release about the protest. Had I realised what the barrels were, I’d have got some clear photos of them. As such, I was only able to grab a few shots of protestors handcuffed together around the sample containers (which were both lead and concrete lined).
I didn’t get a chance to ask Alyn about his opinion of the protests due to the rush surrounding the votes on Thursday morning. The line from the Greens-European Free Alliance group, which the SNP is a member of, is very much in support of the protest and a reduction in the use of nuclear power.