Naked couple protest in bed against Polish canal project

Environment


WARSAW (Reuters) – An activist couple spent Valentine’s day morning naked in bed on the site of a planned canal which Poland’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party wants to cut across a narrow strip of land that separates its eastern coastline from the Baltic Sea.

“Make love not canal,” said a banner held by other activists standing by the bed on the Vistula Spit, a heavily wooded sandbank 55 km (35 miles) long but less than 2 km (1.25 miles) wide, enclosing a coastal lagoon.

The PiS, deeply distrustful of Russia, argues that the canal is needed for economic and security reasons because the only access to the lagoon from the Baltic is currently a channel at the Russian end of the spit.

Poland is preparing to dig the waterway despite concerns in the European Union that it could damage the environment.

The organisers of the protest, Camp for the Vistula Split, said it was inspired by the Nobel lecture delivered by author Olga Tokarczuk, entitled “The Tender Narrator”.

“Tenderness is our response to this illegal action,” said Mayra Wojciechowicz, lying in the bed next to fellow protester Rudolf Robak and quoting part of Tokarczuk’s lecture, which she believes reflects the situation in the Vistula Spit:

“Greed, failure to respect nature, selfishness, lack of imagination, endless rivalry and lack of responsibility have reduced the world to the status of an object that can be cut into pieces, used up and destroyed.”

Tokarczuk, who in October was named the 2018 winner of the Nobel literature prize, has been critical of PiS policies on the rule of law and the judiciary.

Reporting by Agnieszka Barteczko; Editing by Giles Elgood



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