Thursday, 4 June 2020

republik freies wendland

Though only in existence for a month before police cleared the protest camp and micronation (see also) on this day in 1980 and evicted the occupants outside of Gorleben to rally against the excavation of a nuclear waste dump there and accused of high-treason by the interior minister of Niedersachsen, the self-proclaimed community of some five thousand encamped on a barren patch of the Lüneberger Heath that was cleared by the wildfires of 1975 had an impressive infrastructure designed for the long-term with permanent shelters, shared facilities, greenhouses, a health clinic, a hair salon, a radio station, sauna and solar- and wind-generated electricity.
Geologists had been conducting drilling tests to determine whether the salt domes beneath the nature reserve were suitable for storing nuclear waste. During the Republic’s final days, a sit-in was staged of at least two-thousand Wendlanders were carried away by police forces with the demonstration coming to a mostly peaceful conclusion, with authorities thanking them for their nonviolent approach. Though the controversial dump was ultimately built in October 1986, the anti-atomic movement progressed and did eventually achieve more and greater, transformative accomplishments, and also despite its brief existence Wendland has an enduring and outsized legacy, including as recently as 2015 the mayor of a nearby municipality extended to Edward Snowden asylum with a “Wendepass” from the days of the Republic.