Mell Harrison of the Stop Nuclear Power Network gives her account of the Camp Against Nuclear New Build, held on Sizewell Beach, Suffolk over Chernobyl Weekend, 23-26 April 2010 :
Friday 23rd at around 2pm people arrived to set up the camp on the beach in front of Sizewell A and B in Suffolk. A kitchen, welcome tent, workshop spaces, toilets, tents, a info board and a fire pit were all in place by the evening.Letters were posted to all local residents in sizewell explaining the about why the cam...p was happening and giving a contact in case they had any issues over the four days. People from all over the UK arrived to take part in the camp against nuclear power, including a nuclear white elephant that had been cycled 30 miles on a bike trailer, plus the local council, police and local residents came to see what was going on. As more people arrived and more snakes (adders) where spotted it became clear that we would need to squat the land that belonged to sizewell A (as the adders preferred to hide and sunbath in the dunes). So we informed the civil nuclear police that we had now squatted the site and that if they wanted us to move an eviction would be needed. But no eviction came. Saturday after breakfast and a meeting people started to head to the gates of the nuclear power station and blocked the road with tape saying ‘ nuclear hazard’. Porta-party arrived and the tea stall was set up. We had some big boy visitors from London pop down- Ian from the National Extremist Tactical coordination unit (NETCU) and some FIT squad which made us feel very special and caused a little booo- hiss from the protesters for the ‘bad NETCU man’ Speakers at the demo included Charles Barnet from Shut down Sizewell and a spokes person from the stop nuclear power network. After this we blocked the entrance and danced to the sounds of the porta party, tunes included ‘there coming to take me away- ha ha-’ and Batman….After a few tunes and a little creative chalking and taping we headed back to the beach for a tour and info guide of the stations. Info was shared about what building did what, where the nuclear dump was being built and on the reasons behind sizewell B being shut down at the moment. The tour ended with a look over the large area of woodland that EDF plans to chop down to build sizewell C. After dinner a few from the camp jumped on their bikes and headed to Leiston for the public meeting where people from the camp spoke about why they are against nuclear power and why there had been more direct action and camps happening at Sizewell over the last year. Invites had gone out to local people and workers. Some of the camp spokes people were nervous about this meeting… but the meeting went well and attendees included ex workers, councillors and local residents. The meeting was 2 hours long and discussions were had about future solutions and the need for social change.Campers then headed back to camp and had a de brief…. around the fire. Sunday was the day of workshops which included a session on nuclear physics, what is energy, how to build a bike generator and a walk of the proposed site for sizewell C. A meeting was then held to discuss what we would do the next day to commemorate Chernobyl day. As everyone was ‘ saving themselves’ we decided to do a media stunt and to build a cairn out of pebbles from the beach which could be leaflet there and added to by passers by.The plans began and the fire pit gathering commenced. At midnight a spontaneous Chernobyl remembrance occurred. It started with a flaming torch and a few minutes of thought for all those killed by and effected by Chernobyl plus other nuclear disasters and finished with, and I quote ‘we must support each other as workers to tell the boss to fuck off- as if the workers at Chernobyl had been able to do so the disaster would never of happened’ Sunday morning we painted the recycling bins and began to build a cairn. The press arrived and we had a final circle around the cairn. All over the weekend we had local people visit the camp, it was great to be able to chat to them about our views on nuclear power and what we thought the solutions to the ‘energy crisis’ would be.The most successful thing about smallish camps is that we get to outreach and communicate to local residents. All sustainable campaigns need support from local people. All in all we had over 100 people come and stay at the camp. Some came for the day, others the night and some all four days, but everyone involved made the camp a really welcoming and enjoyable space to be. Some have gone away with plans for the next few months campaigning against new build, others with piles of the new tabloid produced by folk from the nuclear power network and sooty and sweep have gone away with some video footage… As we drove home I spotted some writing across the entrance of sizewell it said ‘We will be back- and next time you won’t know we are coming’. Watch this space.