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International Day of Action Against the Arms Trade – Brighton

Blix Bloc | 22.03.2005 00:13 | Anti-militarism | Repression | South Coast

Brighton arms dealers EDO MBM were visited today by a Citizens Inspections Agency (CIA) team who demanded access to their weapons manufacturing facility. EDO MBM manufactures release mechanisms for the Paveway series of bombs as well as other military hardware. They are a wholly owned subsidiary of the American EDO Corp, and have a multi-million pound contract with the UK MoD related to the Paveway bomb.

Around 20 inspectors, clad in head to toe white overalls attempted to inspect warmonger EDO MBM's factory as part of the International Day of Action Against the Arms Trade called by the 'destroy the arms trade' session at Beyond ESF in October. Police and private security seriously obstructed our efforts, and as a result we are concerned that EDO MBM do indeed have something to hide.

Subsequently, the inspections team read out the names of some of the more than 100,000 Iraqi civilian casualties of the illegal invasion, and held a two minutes silence interrupted only by sniggering police officers. Mass murder, what a laugh! The cops had had enough, and with none of their usual guff about 'facilitating' our protest they imposed a section 14 order under the Public Order Act, demanding we disperse because we were 'intimidating' and might 'compel' EDO staff to cease work – by reading out the names of their victims? Surely the compulsion would come from the employees conscience officer?

The CIA team is dismayed to report that three of our members were then kidnapped in a white van with blue flashing lights by some dodgy characters in day-glow jackets who seemed to be acting as EDO's private security. They claimed to be police officers. In any case, such grave attempts to obstruct weapons inspections could lead to serious consequences. It was unclear why the first arrest was made, the second was clearly for filming the first and the third, ten minutes later was apparently for meditating alone on a grass verge. Police also assaulted a camera man filming the second arrest.

Our remaining team members then retreated to the main road where re-enforcements were massing (well, 5 more people and 4 dogs). Public opinion was clearly with continued inspections as passers-by congratulated our efforts and cars honked horns in support. Nonetheless, the Police insisted on trying to silence a musician playing his clarinet. Asked if a ban on music had been slipped in with the recent anti-terror laws, the police told the musician that it wasn't illegal but he 'might end up getting arrested' if he didn't shut up. He carried on playing, his dog howled along in a kind of endearing out of tune way and the police backed off.

After convening to make further plans, the CIA team relocated and rendezvoused at the Brighton war memorial, where we placed a list of some of those who had been killed by the Coalition bombing in Iraq.

Blix Bloc
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