Two days ago, Europe's biggest cycle race was taking place in Hamburg. Over 20.000 cyclists participated. For those interested the race is called ''Vattenfall cyclassics'', since the energy company Vattenfall is the biggest sponsor of the race, and the company is Swedish too.
I just walked right into the race, not literally, ha ha, but I did not know that it was going to take place. When walking into Hamburg, you could see that the city was preparing for some big event, but I did not know of which kind.
Anyway, I sat down, leaning against the steady wall of a church, in the center of the city, and this was were the race finished. After a while a noticed two men handing out flyers to people who passed. Too few were interested though, all the focus was, narurally on the race and the cyclists. I started to talk to them, asking what their cause was. They told me that they are a small group of activists who demonstrate against Vattenfall and all that that company stands for. Apparently Vattenfall recently got the permission from the government to build a coal plant power station (kolkraftverk) in the harbour of Hamburg, importing coal all the way from columbia. Yes, you can all understand how environmentally unsustainble this is.
This environmental group has made many actions against tje big energy companies that, pretty much rule Europe. Last year they blocked the race, so this year the Police was prepared to take action. 10 policemen and women constantly circulated around the environmentalists, and 1 guy got arrested, while the police could not explain why..
And I am not sure if it was last year or the year before, that the group raised a huge banner above one of the main bridges where the cyclists later during the day would pass, and where television companies had their main base. Unfortunately, Vattenfall found out about this before the cyclists passed and the cameras were on. So what they did, is that they called the police and told them to move all televison cameras to another area...
Even though all of this are the subjective stories of the activists, I still can't stop thinking about it. What the policemen and women did, is breaking the law. One of the most important pillars that a democratic country rest on, the freedom of speach and the right to demonstrate. Of course as long as you don't hurt anything or anyone, but they never did.
Talking to these people really made me reflect more about democracy and how it is operated in Europe. What we hear when listening to or reading the news is often is often the big problems that undemocratic countries are facing. This is almost always the main focus...
Hope this was interesting reading for you. It was just a funny and interesting event that I wanted to share with you. And here are some pictures from the race too!
Have a nice evening everyone :-)!
LOVE and PEACE