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Worthing Freedom March Kicks Off

Freedom March | 22.02.2009 11:46 | Repression | Terror War | South Coast

A REBELLIOUS 'Freedom Picnic' in Worthing, West Sussex, on Sunday (March 1) will kick off a month-long festival of liberty-related events in the seaside town.
Publicity for the 2pm event in Liverpool Gardens calls on people to "defy the drink ban" and "irritate the town wardens", while bringing "food, drink and smoking substances to share".
It forms part of Freedom March, an eclectic mix of activities, including folk singing and photography as well as more traditional meetings, which is aimed at mobilising local opinion on the topical issue of freedom coming attack from the authorities.
Four days after the picnic, Freedom for Palestine will be on the agenda when a member of the International Solidarity Movement will be speaking at a Freedom March event staged at The Grand Victorian Hotel opposite Worthing station at 8pm.
The month will also include a talk by former Guantanamo Bay prisoner Omar Desghayes at the Labour Hall in Lyndhurst Road at 2pm on Sunday March 29 and a protest against surveillance and 'police state' powers meeting outside the town hall in Chapel Road on Saturday March 14 at 2pm.

Said a Freedom March spokesman: "There is increasing concern across the country at the erosion of our freedom, often carried out under the pretext of fighting terrorism.
"We believe this is a red herring designed to stop people standing up for their rights - and so do many others, including Stella Rimington, the former head of MI5.
"Here in Worthing there is a lot of anger about the double standards involved in the case of Chief Inspector Sharon Rowe, who the authorities will not prosecute for theft, even though there is apparently enough evidence for this to go to court.
"How can the police be seen to be exempt from the very laws they are out to enforce? The same is true of the new 'counter-terrorism' legislation which states that photographing the police amounts to terrorism and means you could be arrested.
"We are all under constant surveillance from CCTV and the police and wardens increasingly use photography and video filming on the public, so how can it be fair that we are not allowed to photograph them? What are they frightened of exactly - that they will be caught abusing their powers, perhaps?"
The full Freedom March programme is currently as follows, though residents are advised to keep an eye on www.myspacecom/worthingfreedommarch and for any last-minute changes:
* Sunday March 1. Freedom Picnic. 2pm, Liverpool Gardens, Worthing. Defy the drink ban! Irritate the town wardens! Stuff the authorities! Bring food, drink and smoking substances to share!
* Thursday March 5. Freedom for Palestine. 8pm, Grand Victorian Hotel, opp Worthing station. Guest speaker from the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) , a Palestinian-led movement of internationals and local Palestinians, based in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. It has been frequently reported in the Israeli press that the presence of international and Israeli volunteers at Palestinian demonstrations reduces the level of the soldiers' violence against the demonstrators - it is much less likely that they will use live rounds. The ISM carries out direct actions in the UK, working with Jewish and other peace groups, bringing attention to the violent apartheid system and illegal Israeli occupation under which Palestinians suffer. As with the anti- apartheid movement in South Africa, the ISM works to promote a sporting, cultural and academic boycott of Israeli goods.
* Wednesday March 11. Freedom from Oil. Find out about the new Worthing Transition Town project. A Transition Initiative is a community working together to look Peak Oil and Climate Change squarely in the eye and address this big question: "For all those aspects of life that this community needs in order to sustain itself and thrive, how do we significantly increase resilience (to mitigate the effects of Peak Oil) and drastically reduce carbon emissions (to mitigate the effects of Climate Change)?" Check website for venue.
* Thursday March 12. Freedom to Protest. 8pm, Grand Victorian Hotel, opp Worthing station. Guest speaker from Smash EDO!, the campaign group fighting a controversial weapons parts factory in Brighton, in advance of its big Mayday Mayhem protest on Monday May 4. For centuries Mayday has brought people together and out onto the streets. People danced for the coming summer and the fertility of the crops. People marched in remembrance and solidarity with their fellow workers around the world. People gathered in their cities to fight against global capital and exploitation. Smash EDO invites you to a celebration of all these aspects of Mayday.
* Saturday March 14. Freedom March Protest. 2pm, Town Hall, Chapel Road, Worthing. Worthing Freedom Coalition (WFC). Voice your opposition to the police state, to the town wardens, to ID cards, oppressive laws, CCTV cameras and email and phone surveillance! The idea of Freedom is about a lot more than 'civil liberties' as they are usually understood. It's about our whole lives, it's about who we are as human beings, about the purpose and dignity of our very existence and the sort of world we want to leave behind to our children and grandchildren. If you don't want that to be a cross between a hi-tech prison camp and a battery chicken factory, then now is the time to stand up and voice your resistance!
* Thursday March 19. Freedom from ID cards. 8pm, Grand Victorian Hotel, opp Worthing station. With Phil Booth, national co-ordinator of NO2ID. NO2ID is an an entirely independent group formed in 2004 to campaign against the United Kingdom government's plans to introduce UK ID Cards and the associated National Identity Register, which it believes has negative implications for privacy, civil liberties and personal safety. With the Government pushing ahead with its Big Brother database, despite fears expressed at all levels of society including the House of Lords, the grassroots rebellion must begin! Find out how to get involved with the Worthing NO2ID group.
* Thursday March 26. Freedom March Forum. 8pm, Grand Victorian Hotel, opp Worthing station. An overall look at the theme and the festival. What has it achieved so far? What happens next?
* Sunday March 29. Free at Last! 2pm, Labour Hall, Lyndhurst Road, Worthing. Brighton resident Omar Desghayes will speak about his detention in Guantanamo and the campaign for his freedom. Omar was held without charge by the US for nearly six years. He was the victim of arbitrary arrest in Pakistan in January 2002. Transferred to Bagram, Afghanistan, he was subjected to cruel torture and abusive interrogations. In September 2002, shackled, hooded and blindfolded, Omar was transported to Guantanamo where he remained until December 2007. There he suffered solitary confinement, force feeding while on hunger strike and physical abuse including the loss of the sight in one eye. Since his release, Omar has been campaigning for the remaining British Residents to be returned to the UK and for Guantanamo and all US secret prisons to be closed. This is an open meeting. Everyone is welcome.
* Tuesday March 31. Songs of Freedom. 8pm, Sidney Walter Centre, Sussex Road, Worthing. Across the centuries people have not just struggled for freedom, they have also sung of freedom. Perhaps it was the songs that gave cheer to desperate people, giving them the strength to fight on? This evening is for anyone who would like to hear or to sing these songs of the people. To start the evening Emily and the Hares will be performing a short set of songs from the English and American tradition of unaccompanied singing. There will then be an opportunity for any other singers to sing a song or songs. Equally, don't worry if you don't have a song - joining in is not obligatory! To end the evening Emily and the Hares will sing some more ballads and anthems. From the Luddites to the American 'Wobblies', there will be selection of songs spanning some two hundred years.
* Throughout March. Freedom to Photograph. Counter-terrorism legislation is being used to stop photographers - so take photos around Worthing's public spaces all month and email them to to be included in an online exhibition. But remember, it's illegal to photograph the police...
* Throughout March. Freedom for the Trees. Ongoing occupation of Titnore Woods, West Durrington, in opposition to planned housing development.


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