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Bengal tiger threatened by dirty coal project, campaigners warn

CLIMATE change activists from over a dozen groups blocked the entrances of the Bangladesh High Commission in London today, protesting against the nation’s plans to build a coal power station in a World Heritage Site.

Campaigners today shut both entrances to the embassy for two hours and demanded that Bangladesh high commissioner Saida Muna Tasneem accept their alternative energy proposal.

They are concerned that the Bangladeshi Sundarbans mangrove forest, a Unesco World Heritage Site, will be jeopardised by a new power station which they say will remove a natural defensive barrier against floods.

The forest is also home to one of the last populations of the Bengal tiger.

In July the Bangladeshi government approved the Rampal coal power plant project near the Sundarbans.

Climate activists in Bangladesh have faced police brutality during demonstrations against the Rampal project.

London Solidarity Action organiser and Phulbari Solidarity Group co-ordinator Dr Rumana Hashem said: “Unesco’s own research and investigations confirmed the danger of Rampal coal-fired project for the survival of the Sundarbans.

“The government has violated Unesco’s recommendations and did not stop building coal plants and industrial constructions in the vicinity before a strategic environmental assessment is completed.

“People in Bangladesh have been protesting for years but [the government has repressed] them badly.

“We demand that the government of Bangladesh will see sense and scrap the Rampal project immediately.”

Committee to Protect Natural Resources of Bangladesh British branch spokesman Akhter Sobhan Khan said: “There is an Alternative Power and Energy Plan for Bangladesh, recommended by the energy experts belonging to the Save the Sundarbans movement, which shows that it is possible to generate up to 91,700 megawatts of electricity through renewable sources. 

“The government totally overlooked the alternative energy plan. This is not acceptable.”

Global Justice Rebellion and Extinction Rebellion International Solidarity Network joint co-ordinator Kofi Mawuli Klu said: “We stand firm with the communities to prevent their loss from worsening the looming catastrophe. 

“The most decisive victories of our International Rebellion will be won on such Global South battlegrounds as the Sundarbans, to effectively save all humanity and our entire planet Earth.”

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