Anti-nuclear Stop in Lithuania

Anti-nuclear Stop in Lithuania

Vilnius is the capital of Lithuania. The country had the Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) Ignalina in operation until December 31, 2009. As a precondition of joining the European Union this NPP had to be shut down. The government proposed a new (Visaginas) nuclear power plant in the site of Ignalina NPP and is currently (and unsuccessfully) looking for strategic investor for the plant. In addition, people living in the country have to deal with the impacts of the nuclear power developments in the countries around: the Belarussian government wants a nuclear power plant close to the border to Lithuania, appr. 50 kilometres to Vilnius; in Kaliningrad, at the border with Lithuania, the new so-called "Baltic NPP" is under construction; Poland has also proposed it's first nuclear reactor.


The Baltic Sea Info Tour stopped as an alternative for those participants who couldn't join the infotour stop in Belarus in Vilnius from July 15 - July 16. After these two days of activities the participants of the infotour had a few resting days in the region for recreation.

The Baltic Sea Info Tour had a press conference, several public street actions in Vilnius with focus on the NPP developments in Lithuania, Poland and those countries, whose reactors release most of radioactivity into the Baltic sea - Sweden and Finland, and we had the chance to connect to anti-nuclear activists from Lithuania.


As expected, anti-nuclear activists gathered in Vilnius July 14th. The fact that this infotour stop should be successful, could be seen from the activist's enthusiasm – in the evening they were preparing speeches for the next day's press conference and leaflets for the pickets.

July 15 (Thursday): 10:00. There was a press in conference hall the news agency ELTA. Participants Linas Vainius, Laura Gintalaitė (environmental activists from Lithuania) and Leena Pukki from Finland presented their speeches, and answered to the journalist questions. At the end the conference was attented by the public, who wanted to hear more information about this infotour, radioactive pollution of the Baltic Sea and its impact to the human body. It was expected that the press conference takes only 40 min, but it lasted almost 1.5 hours.


12:00. The infotour activists held an picket at the Embassy of Finland (Kalinausko g. 24, Vilnius). In the time of picket, the participants raised a banner „Nuclear free region“, held a small performance "I am a nuclear power victim". Darius and Linas spoke trough the loudspeaker to the Finnish embassy staff and the occasional public about Baltic Sea region problems, invited not to be indifferent and to engage in an open debate to express a clear position against Finnland's plans to build new nuclear reactors and the final repository of highly radioactive waste by our common sea.


Staff of the Finish embassy also heard the speech in Finnish, spoken by an activist from Finland. A little bit active were the occasional members of the public (passers-by) who wanted to know why the picket is organized. The activists Darius and Linas handed information to the Finnish Embassy about problems that nuclear energy causes in Finland and might cause to all of us.


14:00. The infotour activists held a picket at the Swedish Embassy (Didžioji St. 16, Vilnius). Since the embassy is located in the Old Town, in an active touristic place, police came very fast. The participants of the picket had to move from the Embassy at the silly permissable distance of 25 meters. As well as at the Finnish Embassy, they raised the banner, held a small performance "I am a nuclear power victim", which gained the interest of the passers-by. Darius and Linas spoke trough the loudspeaker. A Swedish embassy employee was interested why the picket is held. Linas gave the information, had a small conversation. The members of the public also paid attention – a few photos were made by the foreign tourists and passers-by as well as leaflets were distributed.


July 16, Friday: Dzień dobry, Polska. Picket at the Polish embassy, which is in the place where only a few people pass by. However, speeches from the loudspeaker were heard by policemen, embassy staff and people living nearby. Linas has urged Poland not to participate in the Visaginas project (new power plant in Lithuania!) and not to build nuclear power plant by the Baltic Sea and to develop ecological projects instead.


The government of Lithuania is happy, while the bigger half of the population is pro-nuclear, but in the protest days we met just a few people, who were for this dangerous power plants. As police had noticed that there were not 9, but 10 protestors at the Polish embassy, so 1 of us had to move away. According to the silly Lithuanian laws, 10 protestors, who did not ask for "permision" to protest, are too many. Elžbieta Kuzborska from the embassy got interested in the picket. She promised to bring our message to the ambassador.


Another picket was held at European Commision representative with a banner "Nuclear Free Region" and leaflets spread the message. We urged the EU not to finance electricity grids from the Baltic NPP in Kaliningrad and any nuclear projects within EU. The Media spokesman received the wider explanation why it is harmful. After the pickets the participants distributed leaflets to people at the center of Vilnius.

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