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(en) Russia, Azov rocks!

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Thu, 17 Jul 2003 13:28:50 +0200 (CEST)

A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E

Welcome to protest camp of Rainbow Keepers and Autonomous Action
in cooperation with local inhabitants, to be organised from 20th of July
onwards in the city of Azov, South of Russia.
> Background
Azov is a city of 90 000 inhabitants, located 45 kilometres southwards from Rostov-na-Donu,
which is the biggest city in South of Russia. Azov is planned site of liquid
chemicals terminal project, which dates back to 1996 but was halted until
April of this year due to legal obstacles. Terminal, mainly meant for
methanol export, is being built by Azovprodukt, joint venture by DECAL (51%
of shares, a member of Italian multinational Triboldi) and Roshleboprodukt
(Russian corporation which has 49% of shares). Triboldi already controls
methanol trade in Mediterranean sea, owning 6 other terminals. The terminal
would consist of six chemical storage tanks with common capacity of more
than 20 000 cubic meters, a railway connection, a jetty for tanker loading
and related infrastructure.

According to plans methanol tanks are to be located only 400 meters, and
high-pressure methanol pipeline less than 90 meters from the municipal
dwelling zone. According to Russian regulation safety zone around methanol
storage should be at least 1000 meters, in Italy a 7 kilometre safety zone
is required. Azov sea, which is connected to larger Black Sea only by a
narrow channel has an average depth of 4.2 meters only, and only 280 cube
kilometres of water - thus a single accident with a tanker carrying
poisonous methanol load would destroy the sea ecosystem completely. Shallow
water means also dangerous short waves during storms, which have sunk ships
with much less dangerous loads in the past. Listing numerous legal
violations committed during the project here would mean few people would
ever make it to the end of this action call...

Happened so far

Since 1996 local inhabitants have organised countless pickets and rallies
against terminal project, 15 000 people have subscribed the petition with
their full personal details. Initiator group for binding municipal
referendum has been founded seven times, city council has once decided in
favour of the referendum and twice it has make a resolution against the
project. However city mayor Evgeni Lesnyak has submitted under the pressure
of regional government, although he took the post over from his pro-terminal
precedent in last elections by promising not to build the terminal.

Soon after court gave green light to construction in April 8th 2003, local
inhabitants began organising protests. First Rainbow Keepers arrived to city
10th of June, organising a continuous information point in the centre of the
town. On June 26th, July 3rd, July 4th and July 7th demonstrations and
blockades of the road to construction hours were organised. From 700 to 9000
people participated in demonstrations, almost one tenth of the local
population participated to the biggest demonstration organised 3rd of July.
The campaign is supported by one local newspaper, and events got attention
of national mass-media. The symbolical protest camp has now been set up near
the construction place.

>From 7th of July onwards local people, Rainbow Keepers and Autonomous Action
made a continuous blockade on the road leading to the site of the project
during working hours, this has lead to halt of the construction. 10th of
July a lorry driver tried to ride over blockade, injuring one Rainbow

Heat is on

This is just the beginning. Most of the activists will get to the site
around 20th of July, and protest camp will last until the ultimate victory,
or at least weeks.

You may reach Azov by travelling to Rostov, and taking a mini-bus which
costs 19 roubles, some 60 cents to Azov. If you do not find camp in Azov,
call the local contact phone. Take cutlery, sleeping bags, matrasses and
lots of good fighting spirit with you!

Camp site:
+7-(8)-86342 409-92 Yuri Golubev, golubev@rambler.ru
Support in Moscow:
+7-8-916-732-78-96 Olga Miryasova, kuzja@ecoline.ru
+7-095-124-79-34 (press service of Socio-Ecological Union) seupress@seu.ru
(only until
beginning of the August)

For continuous updates in Russian language, hook to Russian indymedia
Or Autonomous Action website

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