OL/FIN: Lock-on blockades violently broken up

FB 04.09.2010 16:39 Themen: Atom Repression Weltweit Ökologie

Last Saturday August 28, 2010 in Olkiluoto (Finland) the very first publicly announced blockade of an atomic facility took place gathering some 150 activists from all over Finland and other countries like Belarus, France, Germany, New Zealand, Russia and Sweden. In Finland direct action is rare and the society is not used to civil disobedience or other kinds of direct action against powerful institutions. Thus it was an important action to establish direct actions as a part of the resistance against atomic power in Finland. The media was very curious about the blockade and the coverage was great and mostly positive without resentments against the activists.

The exit of highway E8 to the atomic power station site had been blockaded by between 50 and 100 activists of all ages and social backgrounds for some 9 hours. A couple of times even the highway itself was closed for a few minutes by the activists. Originally the police had announced to make all street blockades impossible and to limit demonstrations to the area next to the streets and on the site of a gas station at the highway. This was what the atomic operator TVO had demanded in media some days before. But when the blockaders moved to the road resolutely police could not prevent it.

Additionally several small group actions occured on the access roads to the NPP closing them for traffic nearly completely for several hours. Police had created street barricades to stop activists from reaching the area around Olkiluoto. A region of several smaller villages including the nuclear facilities were closed for public on this day. Everybody, except for workers of the power plant and residents were suspected without proof. Even journalists were prohibited to enter the area and to report about the happening. However, activists walked through fields and forests ending up on the roads they wanted to blockade. Even close to the atomic power plant itself a group of activists could create a lock-on blockade on the road, but it was removed by police quickly.

While the exit of highway E8 to the main access road to Olkiluoto was blockaded by a big group of activists having also picnics, music and tents on the road, another access road was blockaded the whole time by lock-on and sit-in blockades, and other places were at least temporarely closed by actions. Anyway, the goal was not to make any access to the atomic plant impossible, but to set a sign that people in Finland are also willing to break the law and to risk punishment for stopping the dangerous nuclear developments that don't respect environment and human health. The recent decisions in the Finnish government and parliament have shown to the last people that these powerful institutions are not made in favour of the people but to protect and promote the interests of power.

Besides blocking the streets, people talked with local residents, informed about the threats of atomic power, had coffee and cookies or did creative street theatre actions. Press conferences were held at the road blockade and several interviews given to the Finnish and Swedish speaking media of Finland and to international journalists.

The history of the blockade

When the blockade idea was developed by Finnish and international activists in spring, it was not clear yet which size and shape it would get. When Minister Pekkarinen, responsible for the uranium mining attempts of Areva and other atomic companies and for the plans to construct more nuclear reactors, published his position for more NPPs in Finland, a launching action was started to be prepared. May 8, the day of a big demonstration against nuclear power in Helsinki, was selected to be the day for the presentation of the action to the public. Hundreds of flyers were spread to activists in the demonstration and media had been invited to a media conference in the building of Helsinki's biggest newspaper.

When the government published their decision to follow Pekkarinen's proposal to support new reactors in Finland, a press release was sent out internationally criticizing this irresponsible policy and announcing the blockade as a reaction to the government's promotion of the dangerous atomic technology. At that time the initiators expected the parliament's decision on the issue in autumn - thus the blockade could have impacted the decision of the MPs in Helsinki and pushed the topic together with other activities of the anti-nuclear movement in Finland. But the government pushed the parliament to a procedure that never happened before in Finland's history: the parliament's sessions were extended after Midsummer, so that it was finally possible to make the decision already on July 1.

A big coalition of grassroots groups, NGOs, independent activists and concerned citizens did actions during the days before the parliament's decision and also on the decision day itself on July 1. It was an amazing crowd of people, and maybe the beginning of something that could be called a real "movement" (groups were cooperating intensively and acted together). It was no surprise that the parliament decided for nuclear power, anyway - that the MPs are not deciding in favour of the people's interests but for the powerful companies profits was clear before. This was also the procedure of getting approvements for the third reactor in Olkiluoto and the proposed final disposal site Onkalo at the same site. The disappointment and anger of people after July 1 was motivating very much for doing the first direct action of the movement - the Olkiluoto Blockade!

During the last weeks before the action several information events and blockade trainings took place in a couple of Finnish cities. There were also some soli gigs to collect some money for costs connected to the blockade. And nice t-shirts were printed and sold for a solidarity price to raise the money for expenses.

Some articles already reported about the activities on August 28 - please check them:
NPP Olkiluoto access road blocked by Lock-ons
Street theatre against atomic power in OL
More blockades on Olkiluoto's streets
Olkiluoto - blockade of mainroad + highway

Continuation of the mentioned reports

At this place an update of these reports:

Even after blockading the access road to the NPP and the cycleway that the police had used to let traffic pass the blockade, the police found new was for vehicles: they drove on the median strip or over the shoulders of the road, risking to injure the activists lying locked-on with each other on road and cycleway. When activists tried to stop this dangerous police activity by standing in their way, police pushed them away roughly and sent the next police cars close to the activists' bodies to pass the blockade.

This risky behaviour eventually could be stopped for a while when activists laid down on the road so that they could not be pushed away anymore. The police obviously didn't like to have to deal with this situation and gave up trying to let police cars (or any other vehicles) pass the blockade anymore.

The situation changed again when an arrogant police commander showed up at the place who was obviously not used to people not being impressed by his power. He tried to force the locked-on people to move from the street when he wanted to pass with his car. That no one was following his order seemed to annoy him much - he became angry and started to pull the lock-on tubes of activists and got some of them taken off from each other. These people were not really locked-on, but had used some tubes without carabiners to fix each other inside. He handled them very aggressively using violence and forced his troops to bring them off the street. When he wanted to get away the other activists, too, he dragged and pulled them not understanding, that they were fixed to each other and that it would be impossible to get them taken off without seriously hurting them. Police hurted them when they tried to tug them off the road causing some people to scream. Anyway, police didn't care but continued to drag them besides the road so that the police commander got his way.

In the time between the police commander and his unit had been distracted by the lock-on blockade that they maltreated. When the commander turned around with a satisfied face, he had to understand that several dozens of other activists together with a second lock-on had moved from this place on the road behind the former police barricade in direction to Olkiluoto. They had occupied another junction a bit closer to the atomic facilities and were blocking the whole road there. Now not only the access road that had been blockaded for several hours before was blocked, but also an additional smaller access road that had been used by workers to reach the facility by now. The commander seemed to be in despair, and hinting to the other police units that had not stopped the activists passing them he stammed "... why didn't they stop them?". But those police just shrugged and answered that he only ordered them to clear off the road, not to hinder the others from doing another blockade. The commander angrily left the place and the still locked-on activists that he recently had removed from the road and rushed to the other blockade.

At the second place he soon again tried to get the activists off the street, but this time police was a bit more careful and checked first if the blockaders were locked-on with each other. After a while they first carried away the sit-in blockaders and the activists with tubes that were not fixed to each other. The commander obviously was annoyed by the successful actions and changed now the tactics they had used the whole day - they started to arrest everyone who was taken off the road.

Soon the police ordered the public to move several meters away so that no one could see what they would do to the locked-on activists. Even press was forbidden in the area were police tried to open the lock-ons. It took some one hour before the road was open again. In the time between the commander again had decided to unprofessionally treat the locked-on people when he ordered his troops to try to open the lock-ons themselves with tools they found in their police cars. Eventually they opened all the lock-ons, but they risked the health of the activists as they were not experienced with this action technology and didn't exactly know how they have to treat locked-on people. Instead of waiting for a special unit of experts they let unexperienced police to open the lock-ons.

The small blockades were removed from the streets around 2 PM, while the blockade of the highway exit to Olkiluoto was still closed until 3 PM when the activists decided themselves to finish the blockade now to evaluate and spread the word about the success. Alltogether some 30 activists had been arrested, which had been released before the late night of the day. They are faced with fines of a total of some thousands of Euros now.

On the day after a seminar organized by Friends of the Earth and Women against nuclear power took place in Rauma, the next city to Olkiluoto, stressing the topic of final disposal challenges of nuclear waste. There were international experts talking from Sweden, Russia, France and Finland. About 60 people participated this event.


The blockade was a big success. - This is not a special statement after an action, as the organizers usually would somehow say that it was successful. However, the expectations towards the numbers of activists, the strength of the resistance of the Finnish activists, the number of small blockades and that activists followed the idea of a small group action concept although there was not much information about tactics, maps and techniques provided have been more than fulfilled. The initiators had not hoped to get so many Finish activists mobilized as direct action is no usual tactic of the anti-nuclear movement in Finland by now.

In most cases the police carried away sit-in blockaders carefully and treated activists not violently. But there were also exceptions, and especially the hurtful breaking up of a lock-on blockade ordered by a police commander was inacceptable and should have consequences for them. Lock-ons and other actions using special techniques to make it hard to get removed have to be dealt with be specialists who know what they do and how they can open lock-ons without harming the people - or they can simply let the blockade where it is and accept that a road can't be passed for that time. There must be pressure on the police responsibles to prevent that this unprofessional and people's health threatening treatment of activists will be repeated.

Another scandal is the closure of a big public area including several villages by the police for everyone. The access to summer cottages, forests (in Finland rules "everyone's right in forests - private ownership can't stop people from using forests for camping and passing - usually), public streets etc. was blocked by the police for everyone without proof or even discussion whether the concerned people would do actions (and even that would not necessarily be a crime) or not.

The media reported mostly positive or at least neutral about the action. The usual discreditting of activists didn't occur - quite the reverse: the journalists were very interested and open-minded towards the activists. The police's limitation of access to public roads for everyone including the press and the limitation of the freedom of press probably had also a positive impact on the media's coverage of the action. Anyway, it was the first publicly announced direct action against an atomic facility and in future it is possible that politicians, police and companies take more efforts to influence the media to create a bad image of activists, and we should not ecxpect them always to take our site. And also the police made their first experience with this kind of action and will probably take those things more seriously next time and be better prepared to disturb actions.


Many people were motivated after this action and is was amazing to see how so different groups, organizations and activists could work together and contribute their special skills and capabilities. Often people asked if there would be another blockade of Olkiluoto next year. It is very likely that in future more direct action will happen against atomic power in Finland. How this will look like is depending on the activists themselves - as it was the case with the Olkiluoto blockade, too: there is not a central group or body deciding about it, but it will be result of the activities and engagement of groups and individuals.

Several groups mentioned already ideas for future actions, but it is not clear yet. It would be great not only to get more people involved next time and to be better prepared with information resources of the area for small group actions, but also great to have more international action groups joining that prepare their own special actions depending on their special capabilities.


During the month before the blockade activists had mobilized to Olkiluoto for example with the Baltic Sea Info Tour spreading the word and distributing hundreds of flyers in English, Finnish, German and Swedish language. Some action ideas resulted from gatherings of the infotour in several cities around the Baltic Sea.

Blockade websites:

- http://olkiluotoblockade.info
- http://olkiluotoblockade.wordpress.com

Creative Commons-Lizenzvertrag Dieser Inhalt ist unter einer
Creative Commons-Lizenz lizenziert.
Indymedia ist eine Veröffentlichungsplattform, auf der jede und jeder selbstverfasste Berichte publizieren kann. Eine Überprüfung der Inhalte und eine redaktionelle Bearbeitung der Beiträge finden nicht statt. Bei Anregungen und Fragen zu diesem Artikel wenden sie sich bitte direkt an die Verfasserin oder den Verfasser.
(Moderationskriterien von Indymedia Deutschland)


more articles about the Olkiluoto Blockade

FB 04.09.2010 - 17:42
NPP Olkiluoto access road blocked by Lock-ons:

Street theatre against atomic power in OL:

More blockades on Olkiluoto's streets:

Olkiluoto - blockade of mainroad + highway: