India: police fire on anti-nuclear protesters

A months-long civil disobedience campaign against the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) at Idinthakarai village, Tirunelveli district, in southern India’s Tamil Nadu state, turned violent on Sept. 10 when the police used teargas and baton charges against protesters at a checkpoint near the plant. Protesters later massed at police stations, and set police barricades on fire at another checkpoint, and the uprising spread to neighboring districts. One man was killed when police fired on protesters who attempted to storm the police station in Manapadu village of Thoothukudi district.

Authorities are about to start loading uranium at the KKNPP facility, over the objection of local fishing communities who fear their economy will be ruined by thermal pollution. SP Udayakumar, leader of the Peoples Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE), is in hiding, having been slapped with charges related to the violence. But through his public spokesman, anti-corruption campaigner Arvind Kejriwal, he disavowed the attacks and pledged that the campaign of satyagraha, or nonviolent resistance, against the plant would continue. (Indian Express, Deccan Chronicle, IBN, Oman Tribune, Sept. 13; IBN, Sept. 12)