by Ira Helfand
The 19th IPPNW World Congress got off to an energetic start this afternoon with the arrival here in Basel of the BAN (Biking Against Nukes) student bike tour.
More than 30 medical students from every continent except Antarctica arrived in the Marktplatz in front of the Basel City Hall at exactly 5:30 pm–this is Switzerland–after a 700 kilometer trip that started in Dusseldorf 10 days ago.
Along the way the students stopped in cities in the Rhine Valley, including Cologne and Bonn, meeting with local government officials and doing public education and media work about the need to abolish nuclear weapons. They also held a rally near the nuclear base at Buchel.
Arriving in the Marktplatz, the students were welcomed by the head of the Basel city government, Dr. Guy Morin, a physician and activist in PSR Switzerland. And Alex Rosen, organizer of the Tour gave an impassioned speech about the need to eliminate nuclear weapons. The square was marked with a large red “X”, one of several “Target X” demonstrations the students did during their trip to dramatize the immediacy of the nuclear threat.
For a full account of the student tour, visit the Ban blog site.
The Student Congress begins in earnest tomorrow and the general Congress will start on Friday morning.