The Federal Parliament of Lauchenoiria has had to be evacuated after an unknown number of mice were released into the building by a group of teenage protesters. The teenagers, who are members of youth environmental protest group Classrooms for Climate, were visiting the parliament during a debate on the sale of some government-owned land in the Fleurian Forest. If the sale is approved, it could lead to deforestation of the area for development, which has proven controversial.
The group entered the building through the visitors’ entrance, and it is unknown how they managed to get the rodents past security at the entry. The group waited until a member of the Conservative Party, who has been an unspoken proponent of the sale, was giving a speech before releasing the mice in the public gallery, loudly announcing what they were doing. It quickly became clear they were not bluffing as numerous rodents began to run throughout the debate chamber, and made it into the media area.
Chaos erupted as some members of parliament attempted to flee the building, while others began trying to catch the mice, and some others still began taking photographs and laughing. Security quickly evacuated the building until it could be ascertained whether the released mice were carriers of any disease, or produced any further threat beyond annoyance – and a few bites taken out of cheese in the break rooms! Fortunately, it quickly became clear that one of the protesters was the son of mouse breeders whose stock had passed health checks.
Parliament will remain closed tomorrow morning for pest control specialists to gather the remaining rodents and check that they are all (or at least mostly) departed. The teenage protesters were arrested following the incident, but have since been released. Since nobody was injured, it is unlikely that any further action will be taken; but a caution has been noted on their records. According to one protester, they released mice because “if deforestation goes ahead, wildlife such as wood mice will be chased into urban areas. We are giving Parliament a vision of the future”.
A spokesperson for Classrooms for Climate (not present at Parliament) told the Lauchenoirian Guardian that the organisation, while not condoning the tactics, agreed with the message. “In an attempt to distance themselves far from Communism, the government is rushing into the privatisation of things which should not be privatised. If this sale goes ahead, it will result in irreparable damage to local ecosystems, at a time when we ought to be doing all we can to protect nature. I hope that Parliament sees sense and votes against the sale.”