Greenpeace today took action in Belgium and Germany against the ongoing rainforest destruction in British Columbia on Canada's west coast. In the port of Antwerp, Belgium, this morning 30 Greenpeace activists from Germany, Netherlands, UK, Belgium, Denmark, USA, Sweden and Austria met the S/S Saga Wind with inflatables. The vessel is carrying pulp and lumber from the temperate rainforests of British Columbia.
The activists painted the 100-metre long slogan, "Don't buy rainforest destruction. Stop Doman and Interfor!" on the hull of the vessel in two-metre high letters. Doman and International Forest Products (Interfor) are the two main Canadian forest products companies.
The Belgian Union of Workers A.B.V.V trade union have acknowledged Greenpeace's concerns about the destruction of Canadian temperate rainforests. "You don't have a choice between jobs and trees. If your forest industry was managed properly we would have plenty of both".
Today in Germany, Greenpeace demonstrations are occurring in 23 cities. Greenpeace is also continuing to block the main entrance to the plant of Clariant (45 per cent owned by German chemical company, Hoechst) in Frankfurt, which began on March 26. Clariant buys chemical pulp from Canada's rainforests which is used to make paints, glues and other products. Yesterday Greenpeace activists occupied the roof of the Canadian embassy in Bonn for 10 hours before being removed by police.
Meanwhile four activists were sentenced to three weeks jail in Canada yesterday after protesting against rainforest destruction on the west-coast. They had been charged with criminal contempt of court. In Vancouver, a British Columbian Supreme Court judge sentenced them to 21 days in jail and 2 years probation for blockading a logging road on King Island in the Great Bear Rainforest region 1997. The defendants were locked to various pieces of equipment during the blockade. The four activists are; Shayla Healy, 24, (Canada); Wim Van De Vyver, 31, (Belgium); Marleen Van Poeck, 27, (Belgium) and Patricia Fromm, 33, (Germany). Judge Pamela Kirkpatrick sentenced the remaining 14 defendants to a 21-day-in-jail suspended sentence in addition to 2 years probation for their participation.
Yesterday the Dutch labour union FNV issued a statement criticising Canadian forest practices. "FNV supports sustainable forest management in line with FSC principles. The FNV believes that current Canadian forest management does not meet these standards", FNV said in their statement issued while the vessel was being unloaded in the port of Vlissingen, Netherlands.
"Antwerp is a major European port for Canadian wood products. This is one of the key-places where Canada's rainforest destruction enters Europe", said Greenpeace's Filip Verbelen.. Greenpeace is urging the Belgian wood industry to join the European campaign against rainforest destruction. "If the Federation of Belgian lumber importers fail to act, Greenpeace will approach Western Forest Products' and Interfor's Belgian customers and urge them to stop buying timber from these rainforest destroyers", said Verbelen.