Greenpeace protests outside IDC

Activists chained themselves to the gate of the IDC as a continental nuclear energy conference opened.

Greenpeace anti-nuclear demonstrators protest outside the IDC in Sandton. Picture: Tshepo Lesole/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Greenpeace protested a continental nuclear energy conference in Sandton on Tuesday morning.

The situation seemed calm at the site of the Greenpeace demonstration outside the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), where police have been deployed.

Activists chained themselves to the gate of the IDC as a continental nuclear energy conference opened on Tuesday.

The entrance to the IDC was lined with black bin bags marked as nuclear waste.

The remnants of the props were used by the IDC's private security to attack journalists.

Police lined the street while the IDC's private security company retreated after releasing several activists they had detained.

Greenpeace campaigner Ferrial Adam said they were manhandled and roughed up by security staff.

"Our suites were pulled and they used batons to hit our backs off the gate. They used the batons to break the locks," said Adam.

"They were very aggressive."

Activists in bright orange Greenpeace jumpsuits and hazard suits were beating disused oil drums.

Greenpeace wanted the South African government to invest as much into renewable energy as they were into nuclear energy.

According to the Greenpeace website, "Greenpeace is protesting because, although nuclear power is still being hotly debated and is far from being approved in South Africa, here our leaders are proceeding as if nuclear was a done deal. Rather than embracing a safe and sustainable future of abundant employment and reliable renewable energy, they are focusing on prohibitively expensive nuclear power, and jeopardising our future in the process."

"The Energy Minister support to expand nuclear power in Africa is extremely irresponsible given the socio-economic challenges prevalent on the continent," said Adam.

"As a continent we should be learning from what history has shown about nuclear power: it is a dirty and dangerous source of energy, and one that will always be vulnerable to the deadly combination of human errors, design failures, and natural disasters," added Adam.