Four Americans Arrested In Bhopal, India

July 6, 2010

Greenpeace sent a letter to the Indian Ambassador to the United States, expressing outrage over the Indian police's excessive use of force on peaceful individuals, including four American citizens, in Bhopal, India.

Police kicked, slapped and punched volunteers as they arrested
them for trying to safely contain toxic waste at the abandoned
Union Carbide factory, site of the world’s worst industrial
accident in December 1984. The letter, written by Greenpeace
Executive Director John Passacantando, also demanded that the
Indian government take action to force Dow Chemicals (which now
owns Union Carbide) to clean up its contaminated site in Bhopal.
“Today’s police violence was totally unnecessary and unacceptable,”
said Passacantando. “The clean-up team was in Bhopal solely to
begin an independent clean-up of toxic wastes that were abandoned
18 years ago by Union Carbide Today’s clean-up efforts would never
have been necessary if Dow Chemicals had taken responsibility for
the clean up in Bhopal.”

Greenpeace demanded that India force Dow to clean up the site,
provide medical care for the survivors, and compensate the
residents who still suffer health effects from the toxic gas. The
letter also demands that India follow through on an extradition
request for Warren Anderson, chair of Union Carbide at the time of
the disaster, and other company officials who face criminal charges
in India.

At 9 a.m., Bhopal time, more than 100 police in riot gear
dragged away 56 activists at the site of the abandoned Dow/Union
Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal.Ý The volunteers, many of whom
are survivors of the 1984 disaster, were attempting to safely
contain some of the hundreds of tons of chemicals and obsolete
pesticides that Union Carbide left behind when it fled India after
a catastrophic gas leak. The leak killed 8,000 residents within
three days and has killed 20,000 people and injured half a million
to date.Ý Dow/Union Carbide abandoned the plant and has refused to
clean up the site.

The four Greenpeace activists
arrested were Stephanie Hillman, a Plymouth, Mass. native, Houston
native Nupur Modi, Seattle native Pat Finn, and Washington, D.C.
resident Rani Riber. All of the volunteers were specially trained
in hazardous materials handling and outfitted with hazmat
equipment.

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