On December 2nd, 2021, survivors of the 1984 Bhopal gas disaster held a series of protests across the city that lasted throughout the day and into the evening. They marched with banners and flaming torches and renewed their calls for justice, demanding once again that Dow Chemical and their CEO Jim Fitterling recognise their legal obligation to the survivors following Dow’s merger with Union Carbide. At the head of the protest march they wheeled an effigy of Fitterling on a handcart, followed by a long winding column of protestors with banners and placards calling for justice. The March followed the now well established yearly route through the city centre, before ending with the burning of Fitterling in effigy and the chanting of slogans.
In the evening, another march took place, this time with flaming torches and fresh banners, carrying messages such as ‘Justice and Dignity Come What May, Flaming Torches Light Our Way’, and ’37 Years is Too Long to Wait – No More Waiting’. This march wound its way to outside the site of the abandoned Union Carbide factory grounds where the statue known as Mother & Child, sculpted by Dutch Artist and holocaust survivor Ruth Waterman with the help of survivors, stands. At its base are carved the words ‘No More Bhopal, No More Hiroshima’. The survivors surrounded the statue and held a torchlit vigil at the site, paying their respects to all those who have died in the long years since that night. They held banners with the faces of some of those who have passed away, including notable activists and supporters of the survivor community. Some even brought instruments so they could sit together and play, a reminder that whatever comes they are always a community who will come together to share their grief, and in doing so strive also to heal.
The Protest in Pictures: