Saturday 28 November 2009

Local Protest

ZSP members took part in organizing a local protest in the Praga district where the authorities want to liquidate overground pedestrian crossings, make more space for cars and force pedestrians to use underground tunnels. Although the city pays a lot of lip service to making Warsaw more "green", or promoting public transport, everything it does is oriented towards cars. The protest was called during a "consultation" with the public, which was a farce. Almost nobody was invited except a few people from NGOs - and only because they demanded the meeting and called other people. Only a couple of local people came, on our invitation, because the city only confirmed the meeting the day before. The city is building a metro station on the main intersection of Praga, currently one of the busiest in the city. While building the metro, they want to totally liquidate pedestrian crossings. Despite the fact that all gathered there were against the plans and that several architects already made alternative proposals, two which were presented at the meeting, it all doesn't matter because the politicians announce that it's "too late" to change their plans, that they consulted with nobody. No competition for the plans were even announced. Members of ZSP condemned the farce of social consultation and called on residents to walk overground anyway and to make a series of direct actions. The first one was organized very quickly and was mostly informational. Residents of Praga took part and Greens. People crossed the streets and blocked traffic, spoke on the corners and handed out leaflets. Some people heard about this for the first time and spontaneously joined the protest. We are calling for a bigger protest in upcoming weeks. Although this one was modest, it sparked a lot of discussion in the papers, on TV and among politicians and urban planners.

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