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USAF Fairford: US base breached by protestors today

rikki | 24.02.2003 00:04

(Sorry if this story is doubled - there was no confirmation the first time)
Hundreds of peaceful protestors held a day of action today at USAF Fairford in Gloucestershire. Amazingly, many breached the base in various actions around the perimeter, but the most dramatic moment came when the main front gate was forced open and the crowd surged through.

At a little after midday today, a group of several hundred protestors started their march from Fairford village to the USAF base two to three miles away. It is from Fairford that B52 and Stealth aircraft will launch sorties on Iraq in the event of a war and it may include the possible use of "bunker-buster" mini-nuke bombs.

The crowd included a wide age range, and people had come from as far afield as Manchester, London, and West Wales, as well as the Midlands and West Country. A carnival atmosphere was aided by the many colourful costumes and banners as well as samba sounds from members of 'Rhythms Of Resistance' from London. Many of the protestors wore white 'weapons inspectors' outfits and there was also a young anarchist bloc dressed in black.

This motley collection of people took up position infront of the main gates of the base and proceeded to adorn the fence and gates with peace banners, flowers and toys, while a pantomime style call and response asked for access to the base to inspect for possible weapons of mass destruction. One woman managed to climb to the top of the gates to put up a flag, and a handful of police watched from the other side of the gates. One of the police even tossed her some chewing gum at one point, and everything was quite light hearted. Unfortunately she cut herself quite badly on the razor wire which has been recently added to the top of the gate, and decided to come back down after a while.

After all these theatrics, some protestors decided it was time to get down to the real purpose of the visit to the base - to gain access for inspections. To the consternation of the police on the other side of the gate, ropes were quickly attached to the front gate and dozens of activists managed to pull in a rhythmic fashion until the latch broke and the gate swung wide open. Suddenly there was a space of around twenty feet through which the crowd began to surge. Police reinforcements soon arrived to try and gain control as many protestors managed to breach the initial police lines and run into the base.

A few police lost it and started lashing out at members of the crowd, but the protestors were determined and yet peaceful while pushing to breach the lines. The dramatic events unfolded to a powerful beat from the samba players and the media were having a wank-fest, though very little (as usual) has appeared on terrestial mainstream news. Sky apparently did cover it though, and there is a report on the BBC website, so News 24 may have covered it. While further police reinforcements (many now in riot gear) gained control of the main gate, further breaches were occuring with the aid of wire cutters at various points near the front entrance.

After around twenty minutes, the authorities had regained control and the excitement subsided. Next came a march round the perimeter fence to visit the peace camp set up last week round the other side of the base in the village of Kempsford. One particular sergeant (G140) kept overstepping the mark and in front of various witnesses assaulted members of the public for walking on the wrong side of a deserted country lane. Policing generally was becoming more aggressive.

The procession passed one section of the perimeter fence that was only made of wooden slats, and some of the young anarchist bloc started ripping the slats away and once again provided access to the base for inspectors. Many more riot police moved in quickly and some protestors were handled quite violently and dogs were used, but there were actually relatively few arrests.

The demonstration carried on up to the peace camp. In fact a few who wanted to return to Fairford were forced to march on to the peace camp by lines of cops in riot gear - kinda what happens in totalitarian states - guilt by association and all that!

At the camp, a bio-diesel minibus (running on vegetable oil) ferried some people back to Fairford and others in vehicles helped out too.

The legal support team report that ten people were arrested. Most arrests were for aggravated trespass, but there were a couple of criminal damage charges and one protestor found in possession of a police helmet was charged with theft. By 11 o'clock tonight legal supporters were waiting for the last few to be released on police bail at Stroud Police Station. It appears unlikely that anyone will be held overnight.

The action at Fairford was a resounding success and is just a small taste of the sort of determined resistance the authorities can expect if they actually refuse to listen to the vast majority of the population and proceed with their inane, immoral, illegal war.




Display the following 9 comments

  1. Like attracts like... — Poodle
  2. its the ropes wot done it — nursing the bruises
  3. Crap meedja coverage — gnome
  4. we didn't want to inspect... — stopthewar
  5. re dogs — bob
  6. next time gonna shut the place down — la la bo
  7. Papers are lazy — rikki
  8. Re: Papers are lazy — careful
  9. Breaking the police line — RAF217