LONDON, 30 October 2010 – A human chain forming event has been observed in Altab Ali Park in East London on the 29th October 2010 to express solidarity with the Bangladeshi people’s movement against open-pit mining and exporting of their natural resources.
The event was organised by local activists and attracted many people from different walks of the society including students, professionals, politicians, musicians and housewives.
The participants demanded that open-pit mining must be banned in Bangladesh which has the one of the highest population density on the planet. They mentioned some serious negative effects that open-pit mining can cause in Bangladesh including widespread de-watering, desertification, mass-displacement and possible social unrest.
“We don’t want another hill-tracts disaster in Phulbari” said Mahbub Kalyan, one of the activists. Dr. A S K Mashroor pointed out that 94% share of coal will go to Asia Energy (GCM Resources) and Bangladesh will receive merely 6% royalty, which is unprecedented in history. The activists warned that as local people have already demonstrated their strongest resistance to open-pit mining by sacrificing their lives, any attempt to continue with the project means committing genocidal actions.
The group also circulated a newly designed information leaflet in Bengali to create awareness about the movement among the local Bangladeshi population.
Issued by Supporters of Oil-Gas-Protection movement of Bangladesh in the UK
Press Release
National Committee’s Long March completed 415 kilometers
Demands have been made to ensure that national resources be utilized for people by establishing Public Institutions
Leaders of National Committee on protecting Oil-Gas-Mineral Resources, Electricity and Port has condemned consecutive governments for serving as the appendages of the long term destructive projects of the Breton Woods Institutes. According to the speakers instead of trying to enhance the national capacities; these governments while serving the interests of the foreign invaders have damaged our capacities further. Public Organizations such as PetroBangla, BAPEX, PDB and Geological Survey has been gradually and deliberately relegated to become losing concerns through several self-destructive policies and contracts by the governments. These vicious things were done to strengthen the invasive grip of several foreign companies’ in the country’s oil, gas, coal and electricity sectors. Long March demands an end to this situation. It also insists on absolute public ownership on the national natural resources and development of national capacity to utilize these resources. In the long march, demands were also made towards establishing and developing necessary bodies such as universities, research institutes and exploration-extraction corporations and thereby ensuring the highest utilization of the national resources for the sake of the people of Bangladesh.
The long march, with their 7 point demand including the demand of resolution of gas and electricity scarcity, on its 6th day has reached Dinajpur this evening after crossing 415 kilo metres. In the morning (9.30 am 29.10.10), the marchers started from Rangpur and had attended numerous Street rallies, Meetings and dialogues on their way to Dinajpur touching points like Medical, CO Bazar, Paglapeer, Taragaj, Saidpur, Ranir Bondor, Dosh mile etc. Leaders have spoken in the massive rally at Dinajpur this evening. The speakers in all these rallies and meetings included convener of the National Committee Shekh Mohammad Shaidullah, secretary general Professor Anu Muhammad, Monjurul Ahsan Khan, Bimal Biswas, Khalequzzaman, Nur Muhammad, Tipu Biswas, Ruhin Hussain Prince, Ahsan Habib Labloo, Kamrul Ahsan, Mojammel Huq Tara, Shuvrangshu Chakravarty, Bazlur Rashid Firoj, Saiful Huq, Moshrefa Mishu, Rageeb Hassan Munna, Zonaed Saki, Professor Abdur Sattar, Ranjit Chattopaddhaya, Dheeren Sinha, Shahadat Hussain, Nazrul Islam Hakkany, Abdul Kuddus, Ansar Ali, Tushar Kanti Das and many other local and national leaders of the committee.
We aspire that on the last day of the long march which is tomorrow (30.10.10) Phulbari will literarily turn into a sea of people.
Tomorrow, the marchers who started from Dhaka will reach Phulbari from Dinajpur via Parbotipur and Boro Pukuria at around 2 pm. Besides, another group of marchers from several other districts and sub-districts of the country will join the long marchers at Phulbari through Ambari, Dinajpur. The marchers predict there will be massive turn out at the Phulbari Rally tomorrow at 2 pm. From that rally the Phulbari Declaration will be made and the 7-day long march will come to its victorious end.
Bangladesh’s Long March: 7 Days, 250 Miles, & 50 rallies
The aim of halting one of the world’s largest open pit coalmines has united tens of thousands of people in Bangladesh and they are, once again, on the move this week.  The major highways and rural byways of Bangladesh have been transformed, as thousands of people have converged from numerous sub-districts to unite in a one-week march stretching more than 250 miles.