The SmashEDO Carnival Against the Arms Trade was held in Brighton on Wednesday 4th June. Over 500 people marched from The Level to the EDO/ITT factory in Moulescombe. Police plans to contain everyone in a pen outside a neighbouring unit were foiled, and protestors managed to get to the factory. The factory gates were mysteriously opened, and a police van attempted to block the entrance to the EDO/ITT car park but protestors seized the opportunity to enter the car park and vent their rage against the arms company. A few arrests were reported.
Photos: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | Video  | More videos | FIT watch Video
Arrests updates: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7
Smash EDO Press Releases: 10 Still in Custody over EDO Protest | Death of Marie Vesco | All Arrested Released Without Charge | Post Carnival Message from Smash EDO
[23:00] Report that 10 arrestees are being held at Hollingbury Custody Suite, and that it is anticipated they will be held overnight. For arrest support and/or accommodation on release ring campaign phone 07502159330.
[15:50] Report of one violent arrest of person leaving. His head was covered in blood and he was complaining of a broken arm.
[15:45] Reports of 4 arrests - 2 outside factory and two of people leaving. An attempt to arrest a legal observer seems not to have worked. Report of 10 people kettled on the Lewes Road.
[15:35] Protestors are now moving in small groups back towards town. One police motorcycle outrider seen covered head to toe in gloss paint [Pic]. A random arrest for no discernible reason seen under the bridge.
[15:20] Crowd is now moving away from main gate and down the hill. Police appear to be in disarray. Latest report is that gates may have been opened to allow a police van in, and crowd (possible 100 - 150) took the opportunity to force their way into the car park.
[15:03] Report that a protestor de-arrested himself and managed to escape through 2 police lines.
[14:59] Police are now using dogs to force crowd back.
[14:55] About 200 people have got into the car park, having managed to block a police van which attempted to block the gate. Car windows and factory windows have been smashed. Police are getting into formation to try and evict the people in the car park.
[14:45] The march seems to have split into two groups, with one group outside Covers, the neighbouring unit. Those outside EDO/ITT are within metres of the second gate. There are about 15 cars in the staff car park.
[14:35] Marchers have managed to push through the police cordon, which was trying to prevent marchers from getting to EDO/ITT. Marchers are on the road directly outside the factory - which is protected by a line of officers. EDO/ITT management are watching from the windows.
[14:17] March has reached top of Home Farm Road. Scuffles reported as police attempt to force marchers into the pen.
[14:10] Extra 24 officers formed line at junction of Home Farm Road to prevent march proceeding further down Lewes Road. March entered Home Farm Road.
[14:26] The marchers managed to get past the police vans blocking Home Farm Road . A line of police officers were seen batonning the front of the march, aiming for the marchers' legs and chest area. Some confusion, but it is possible that a Section 14 POA has been imposed. Report of a police attack on a man carrying a 2 year old child.
[13:55] Steve Discombe of FIT was seen kicking a protestor who took his photograph - no arrests reported. 24 police officers have approached the march from the side. The march is still on the Lewes Road.
[13:45] March is now coming up to old T.A base and University buildings in Moulescombe. Chief Inspector Mills appear to be heading the police operation.
[13:30] FITwatch have started obstructing cameras - crowd is chanting 'You can stick your FIT team up your f*cking arse!' and 'Sean McDonald is a Wanker!'. Police may have been grouping in case the march tried to turn off the Lewes Road, and low level of policing is now reported.
[13:25] March is approaching the Vogue Gyratory on the Lewes Road, where police appear to be massing. There are contingents from Leeds, Bradford, Manchester, Bristol, Brum, Notts, Newcastle, Worthing and London supporting the march, along with many from Brighton.
[13:10] March is now going up the Lewes Road, occupying half the road. A trailer mounted sound system with a generator has joined in, and the police presence remains low - with reports of about 20 officers. FIT and EG teams are amongst the marchers. A large banner at the front reads 'Stop the Arms Trade' and others include 'Capitalism Kills' and 'Stop killing people you f*cking tw*ts'.
[13:00] Crowd has swelled to about 500 and has set off, with the Critical Mass and a Samba band, in the direction of the Lewes Road. At the front is a group dressed mainly in black, carrying barriers.
[12:40] About 30 - 40 bikes from the Critical Mass have arrived at the level, along with a bike mounted sound system disguised as a red tank.
[12:30] There are now about 200 people gathered on the level, many dressed in red. The police presence is still small. The atmosphere is reported to be relaxed and a small bike mounted sound system is playing tunes. Banners read 'Smash EDO' and 'Smash ITT'. It has been reported that a pen has been set up outside Covers next to the EDO site in Moulescombe. The EDO site is currently operating as usual.
[11:59] There are an estimated 100 people gathered at the Level. Some police including FIT and Sussex Evidence Gathering (EG) teams are there, and a larger police contingent is milling around outside Brighton Station.
[11:30] A Critical Mass ride has set off from Brighton Station.
[10:30] FIT team and 2 police vans waiting outside Brighton Station.
IMC news crew
I was standing near the gate when it opened. Someone had been shaking it while someone else commented that it was “never going to open” and then it just did! It was a fluke – face it - sometimes we just get lucky. There was a moment of hesitation (I was thinking if we run in are we going to get isolated and trapped) but a few of us ran in and others followed. About a minute later a cop van then moved to try and block the entrance but people got in front of it and blocked it, allowing everyone else to flow in.
I’m sick of this “the police must have let it happen” attitude. There is a tendency amongst activists to fixate on the power of the cops. Are we so afraid of our own power that we want to feel on some level that the cops must always be in control? Look - sometimes we win – admittedly not very often, maybe that is why people can’t recognise it when it happens! Yesterday the cops got it wrong. They were obviously embarrassed by the ‘On the Verge’ film and thought they could get away with an initial low profile and then a line of vans and barriers to form a pen. But we are not sheep! They did have enough cops there to eventually push us out of the car park, but they were slow, disorganised and taken by surprise. Which brings me on to…
We were f**king great! Lets not just put it down to the cops getting it wrong. They got it wrong because we surprised them. The look on their faces when we just walked up to their precious barriers and started pulling them to pieces was priceless. Everyone seemed to bring a spirit of fun AND determination. Without knowing each other we spontaneously made the most of each opportunity to push through or weave round the cops. If anything I think we took ourselves by surprise – if we had been more prepared in what we had brought we could have achieved even more. And was that five mobile sound systems I saw – brilliant – even made the samba band tolerable! The only criticism I have is we didn’t have any medics, which is fairly surprising considering what a big deal has been made about action medic stuff over the last few years. Well done to everyone who just turned up on the day from all round the country and got stuck in.
Lets not forget about those still in the cells. Keep checking back for updates.
Here’s to more of this sort of thing!
Just after 2.30 I took a look at the fence and the gates at EDO and thought that there was no way protesters could get past them with the number of police present. I went and took a few pictures of the overall scene from a high viewpoint (they show roughly 300 outside EDO, and there were quite a few more further down the road) and then decided it probably wasn't worth hanging around, as it looked like the situation had reached a stalemate, so I left. Later events proved me extremely wrong!
Quite who decided to open the gates to the factory for the protesters - or why or how they did so - I have no idea. But much of the policing of the demonstration was also hard to understand. Police used thin lines and barriers that might have stopped a Sunday School outing, but not a determined demonstration of any size, holding reinforcements and the riot police back. Earlier the police photographers had been running away so fast from the Fitwatch that it was hard to catch up and photograph them.
The police's most important duty is I think to protect people - including demonstrators. The car park outside the factory on Home Farm Rd was not a good place for police to pitch a battle, with a vertical drop of perhaps 50ft to the railway line below protected by only a low barrier to stop cars parking over the edge. Some individual officers clearly realised this, andI was politely given some entirely appropriate safety advice. Of course they also have a duty to protect property and the rights of individuals, including that of peaceful protest.
EDO seemed well-fenced and relatively easy to defend and a protest outside it should have raised no particular problems (though it might well be 'aggravated trespass.) So why did things go wrong? Was it just a lack of planning and forethought along with incompetence at the scene or had a decision been taken at a high level to facilitate a certain amount of disorder and damage? If so, what would the motives be?
Here are a few pictures from Home Farm Road. I'll post more from the this and the earlier part of the action - starting from the Critical Mass (which really left the station more or less on noon) on My London Diary http://mylondondiary.co.uk/2008/06/june.htm#edo shortly.
they have been released on bail on suspicion of charges ranging from Section 5, Obstruction of the Highway, Assault Police, Conspiracy to cause Aggravated Trespass and Conspiracy to cause Criminal Damage
Houses have also been raided
everyone's houses have been raided
People were bailed on suspicion of Assault PC, Section 4, Section 5, Obstruct Police, Obstruct Highway, Conspiracy to Commit Criminal Damage and Conspiracy to Commit Aggravated Trespass
lack of charges suggests police have little evidence....
AFTER A TWO DAYS OF MIXED EMOTIONS AND THE LOSS OF A GREAT ACTIVIST WHO WILL BE SORELY MISSED IM SURE WE COULD ALL DO WITH A SMILE.....
PAINTING COPS SHOULD BE AN OLYMPIC SPORT
Here is a link to some great footage from this weeks Smash EDO carnival against the arms trade in Brighton on www.friction.tv:
Have a look and leave some comments!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m7HFUKga2SE (6 mins)
Footage from IMC activist:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ijo8NG8v7aI (1 min)
Confrontation on the frontlines:
Guy Peppersprayed at Smash EDO:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fnDigCImBB4 (1 min)
Until All Are Free TV