By this time numerous papers have already published the explicit photo of the injured Greenpeace activist Jens Leowe as he was being tended to by Debra Pristor. Many articles have been in circulation depicting the action at varying angles and at the end of it all the question as to why they were there remains to be an issue that has been kept on the sidelines.
This piece is but an attempt to speak about the very issue addressed by the which is about coal plants and its role on climate change. But before anything else let me just remind you that this one would be of significant difference than the other pieces that have already been written about the violence that has transpired other than the fact that I was there when it happened. But also because in a way this piece is written under a predisposition of partiality to the activists that were hurt and detained since I personally know them and most of them I’ve spent lighter moments with . This is just a simple telling of my account of the event. But this is the story of those who dared to make a difference last November 10, 2005 for their bravery and dedication to the fight for clean energy has earned them the title of ‘energy revolutionaries’.
visit www.greenpeace.org.ph for the entire story
8:00 AM After driving through Edsa which has been congested with the morning rush our traffic we safely arrive at the meeting place in where we'll be meeting with the media folks that'll be covering the action.
8:15-9:00 One by one the media folks start arriving greeting each other in their familliar banter and gestures.
9:15 AM It's exactly 9:15 in my writstwatch when we decided to go to the San Miguel Avenue Gate of the Asian Development Bank where we see a line of Greenpeace activists dressed as human smokestacks rushing towards the the ADB gate accompanied by others wearing orange 'Clean Energy Now' Shirts while there are some also who're carrying banners that read the same message as that on their t-shirts.
It was also around that time that security personel on the building engaged the activists inquiring of their presence in the bank's compound. It's quite interesting also to see how a dozen human smoke stacks change the seemingly busy landscape of the Ortigas financial district as traffic in front of the building comes to a sudden halt due to the action as well getting the attention of a number of pedestrians and the construction workers who're presently working inside the ADB compound all inquiring of the Greenpeace presence in the building perimeter. In response to the congested traffic several ADB traffic enforcers came and re-directed the traffic to ease its flow since the area is a very busy financial center.
Within a few minutes following the rush of the smoke stacks a number of security personel ask of their reason for being there, and it was immediately followed with Athena Ronquillo and Red Constantino's media statements
challenging the ADB to "put their money where their mouth is". Following their statements a couple of police cars to support the security that are already present in the building's surroundings. Thankfully Greenpeace are disciplined and did are veterans of non-violent direct actions so there was no tension between the activists and the police and security personel around the building.
While all this was happening Red and Athena were giving interviews to the media people that are present in the action. In the background, Beau Baconguis and Jasper Inventor are busy in doing their job as negotiators.
9:30 AM Soon they were met by ADB personel and were invited to go inside the building for further talks on the issues addressed by Greenpeace. So as they were entering I along with other media people rushed towards the gate to take a shot of Red and Athena as they enter the building. As I was looking at a good angle to take pictures of them inside the ADB building my attention was caught by a small phalanx of ADB guards donning anti-riot gear.
In a while some other folks from the ADB invited several media personel to join them in their dialogue. The sunlight was really astounding and pretty soon all of us are drenched in our own sweat good thing though there was one volunteer that started distributing bottled water to the activists and press alike. While waiting for news from the inside I decided to go across the street near the area where our legal team is on standby, so there I sat on a gutter shaded by a parked police car and finished my drink in a single gulp.
After finishing my I again rushed back to the scene where I got a chance to talk to Philip Ball a Rainbow Warrior crew who volunteered for the action he explained to me the role of the ADB in climate change in Asia. Remembering how hot the day was I fondly asked him what he thinks of the weather, and I was amazed to hear him say that it was nice, and that compared to his home country of New Zealand this is basically nothing. Later on I noticed another vehicle park near the ADB compound apparently carrying, a SWAT-team.
9:55 AM I also got the chance to chat with Eboy who looks very much exhausted since he's been standing there with his 'Clean Energy Now' banner, and according to him he really doesn't mind it and like he said the cause was worth it. Later on I also decided to talk with Tomas another volunteer, he said that the very fact that Red and Athena got to enter the ADB compound for discussion is a good sign that the ADB people are open to talk about the issues addressed by Greenpeace and that he's certain that no trouble would come out of the discussion. As I was about to conclude my interview with Tomas, I saw Red and Athena exit the compound smiling simultaneously the human smoke stacks exited the ADB perimeter ending today's action peacefully.
10:00 By the time the ADB gate has been fully vacated by the activists, our ride back to the office also arrived just in time for us to go back and see how the
visit Greenpeace Southeast Asia
note: photos without the Greenpeace logo are taken by Chuck Baclagon