Irina Velicu and Mikuláš Černík*
Between 21st and 25th of June 2017, the first international Climate Camp organized in Czech Republic took place in Horní Jiřetín, a town of northern Bohemia. The initiators, a grassroots movement Limity jsme my, see themselves as part of the global struggles for climate justice, similar to other events such as Ende Gelände, Plane Stupid, Reclaim the Power.
The slogan “Limity Jsme My” / “We are the limits” (to open cast mining and fossil industry) is encapsulating decades of efforts to set (and respect) the limits to the areas that can be mined because of a history of more than 80 villages being wiped out by coal-mining in North Bohemia during the communist regime. The image below, few minutes walking distance to Horní Jiřetín, clearly illustrates what open cast mining meant for the region.
The successful action was not without difficulties for some of the participants: deprived of water and hand-cuffed for 8 hours in the heat, pushed and moved around by somewhat aggressive policemen for one day and one night. Most of the participants who were more severely treated were the foreign ones (mostly German, French and Polish, but also Slovak). According to one of the organizers, this could have been the result of interference from the German police, exemplifying transnational patterns of intimidation. However, the remarkable international collaboration of activists underlines an ongoing shift in coal mining resistance, as climate change does not recognize any national borders.
Finally, participants who did not get involved in the direct action joined the protest to the power plant and the solidarity actions at the police-stations where the majority of the direct-action participants were eventually taken. The power-plant Ledvice (see picture below) is where the coal from Bílina mine is combusted.