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Police Censorship of Smash Edo film goes Nationwide

Andrew Beckett | 19.03.2008 17:27 | Culture | Repression | South Coast

Police have intervened across the country to censor 'On the Verge' an independent documentary about a campaign to shut down a Brighton weapons manufacturer. So far establishments in Southampton, Chichester and Bath and Oxford as well as Brighton have come under police pressure to cancel film showings. In Brighton police intervened to prevent a showing at the Duke of York's Cinema.

Staff at the Arthouse Community Cafe in Bedford Place, Southampton were approached at 11 a.m (Weds 19th March) by police accompanied by licensing officers. Threats were made concerning their licensing if the film, due to be shown on Thursday 20th was screened. Jani Franck director of the Community Cafe said “I grew up in South Africa and this feels awfully familiar. This has nothing to do with protecting the public this is nothing but censorship”

Sussex Police initially denied involvement in the decision to cancel the screening at the Duke of York's cinema, with Chief Inspector Taylor telling the Argus newspaper that “Police played no part in the controversial cancellation”.

Subsequently however the police were forced to admit that “a junior officer, who is not based in the city, alerted the city council to the showing and they advised the cinema of its responsibilities.”

Spokesman for the production company SchMovies, Steven Bishop said ““I am extremely disappointed but not entirely surprised by the police's action. There may be issues with certification but as we're not charging for entry this shouldn't be an issue. If the police really had problems over the certificate they could have approached us at a much earlier stage. Our film although focussing mainly on the rights and wrongs of protest shows a number of examples of questionable police behaviour – Perhaps this is why they left their move so late”

Andrew Beckett, spokesman for the campaign said 'It looks like a co-ordinated campaign against the film. When the police are reduced to banning film showings via the back door another blow has been struck against our rights to free speech and free assembly'


Steve Bishop – SchMovies 07879 261625
Andrew Beckett/Chloe Marsh 07875 708873
Arthouse Community Centre, Southampton 02380238582

Sussex Police Press 01273 404173
Hampshire Police Press 01962 871619


On the Verge – An independent film about the SMASH EDO Campaign – View a trailer at

“In 2004 a group of Brighton peace campaigners began to bang pot and pans outside their local arms manufacturers EDO MBM in disgust of their part in the Iraq war. This has grown into the Smash EDO campaign, which has cost the company millions, been the subject of large scale police operations and has tested the right to protest in the UK.Using activist, police and CCTV footage plus interviews with those involved in the campaign, 'On The Verge' tells the story of one of the most persistent and imaginative campaigns to emerge out of the UK's anti-war movement and direct action scene.”
The Company
EDO MBM Technologies Ltd are the sole UK subsidiary of huge U.S weapons manufacturer EDO Corp.From their base in Moulescoombe Brighton, EDO MBM
manufacture vital parts for the Hellfire and Paveway weapons systems,laserguided missilesused extensively in Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine and Somalia. EDO Corp
were recently acquired by ITT in multi-billion pound deal. ITT's links to fascism go back to the 1930s. The founder Sosthenes Behn was the first foreign businessman
received by Hitler after his seizure of power.
The Campaign
There has been active campaign against the presence of
MBM in Brighton since the outbreak of the Iraq war.Campaigners include students, Quakers ,
Palestine solidarity activists, anti-capitalists and academics. Despite an injunction under the protection of harassment act (which failed) and over
forty arrests the campaign is still going strong.Their avowed aim is to expose EDO MBM and their complicity in war crimes and to remove them from Brighton.
They hold regular weekly demos outside the Moulescoombe factory on Wednesday's between 4 and 6.

Andrew Beckett
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- Homepage:


Nottingham screening all go !!

25.03.2008 12:27

Despite what has been described as a nationwide attempt by the police to stop the film being shown, renowned Brighton activist group Smash EDO, working in association with SchNEWS will be bringing 'On The Verge', a documentary about their struggle, to Nottingham Uni on April 23rd.

The Documentary will be shown at 7:00pm in room C11 of the Portland Building On University Park Campus, accompanied by a speaker from Smash EDO who will take questions and be available for discussion. Entry will be FREE.

See this article on Notts Indymedia for more info.

Notts Indymedia


Hide the following 9 comments


19.03.2008 18:18

can anyone think of any genius ways around this?

maybe screenings across the country to coincide with campaign for free assembly actions or international days of action for autonomous spaces?

i really wanna see this doc lol.


dont worry...

19.03.2008 18:46

the film will be shown across the country despite police efforts.

keep an ear to floor ;)


What now?

19.03.2008 18:47

I was planning to go see this in Oxford - what happens now?


it'll backfire

19.03.2008 18:54

Ha! All this will just end up backfiring on the police and they'll wish they hadn't bothered trying to suppress it. EVERYONE wants to see a banned film - it'll end up with cult status and loads of people who'd never have thought of watching it otherwise will get to see it and find out exactly how the cops operate. I'm sure it's creating a headache for the tour at the moment though. Hang on in there guys - this is really really good news!


Support Smash EDO event in Oxford

19.03.2008 19:03

One way or another the Smash EDO film and discussion will take place in Oxford. Enough is enough, it's time for all who believe in freedom of speech to make a stand.

Mary Magee

Government complicity

20.03.2008 02:09

No doubt Edo have had a word with their friends in government, who in turn have leant on the police (not that they would take much leaning on) to try and stop this film from being shown.
Just why are the authorities scared of this film being shown?
This government purports to be a bastion of democracy and complains about censorship in other countries, what utter hypocrisy. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black!
All are welcome to come and see the film free of charge in Oxford on Monday 24th March 7pm.

Mary Magee


20.03.2008 13:02

Careful now....

The Police

Well done Oxford

21.03.2008 15:32

Good on you Oxford people for seeing that this filming is going ahead - and good luck!
We all must stand up to police/government intimidation and censorship.


Licensing Act 2003

21.03.2008 16:03

Licensing Act 2003 stipulates that 'one off' showings of films for up to 500 persons at a cinema need to have a licence for the showing. This has to be applied for in writing a minimum of ten days before the event to the licensing Dept of the local council. They notify the police - the relevant Chief Constable can then object to the showing on a couple of grounds - including a potential outbreak of public disorder.
This means the police can approach local council licensing committees complaining that no application for a one off licence has been authorised. The council then acts because they believe a breach of the new licensing system is about to occur. In short, Labour has given the police a veto over independent screenings which amounts to a censorial power which circumvents the normal film classification system.
If this film is to be seen widely - other than at very small screenings - the organisers of the tour need to apply for the relevant licences - then, if they are rejected, challenge the decision in the courts.