UK Feature Archive
17-03-2003 07:53As Blair commits to a war against Iraq regardless of a 2nd UN resolution and Robin Cook resigning, there has been an unprecedented level of calls for direct action and civil disobedience - beyond the regular actions and widespread protests that have been occuring daily across the country.
* Following an international meeting of anti-war groups from 26 countries, a national student day of action has been called for Wed March 19th.
* A week of action and disobedience "Obstruct and Resist" supported by several groups will take place from for 17th-23rd march (likely encompassing the start of war), with mass protests at USAF Fairford, Menwith Hill Listening Station, as well as Flyingdales, Chetwynd Barracks, and at Plymouth Dockyards.
*In Ireland, St Patricks Day (March 17th) has been called as the next major day of protest.
* Campaigners are planning further protests at military bases throughout the country during the weekend of the 5th-6th April under the banner 'Reclaim The Bases'.
In addition to plans from Stop The War Coalition groups and others around the country for immediate widespread civil disobedience on the day war is declared, there will also be actions in London the following day called by the Disobedients, as well as mass protests the following Saturday. Meanwhile almost 4600 people have now signed the ARROW Pledge of Resistance to take action when war starts.
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Indymedia is committed to reporting resistance to the war. We encourage everyone to participate by publishing your own reports of anti-war protests and actions (text reports, pictures, audio and video). Do Indymedia!
For full story and first hand reports see our feature in the IMC-UK World Page
International Solidarity Movement
17-03-2003 07:12On the 17th March, three protestors from the anti-militarist camp at RAF Welford, Berkshire, were arrested while taking their minibus back to London. The reason for their arrest was given as conspiracy to cause criminal damage despite there being no evidence of conspiracy whatsoever. They are currently being held at Newbury police station. It is likely that the main reason for these arrests is to get the protestors away from RAF Welford. RAF Welford's primary mission is to support the bomber forward operating location at USAF Fairford. Reports say that in the event of war on Iraq bombs will be taken from Welford to Fairford. The arrests are only one of the ways in which the police have been harassing protestors. A Section 44 of the Prevention of Terrorism Act has been put in place in the whole Thames Valley policing area, enabling police officers to stop and search people and vehicles at any time. Police officers have also been coming into the camp and harassing the protestors, taking photographs of them while they're asleep. However the camp continues, and the protestors are calling for more people to join the camp. For more info call 07817 061183 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Full report
The arrested have been released [Report].
13-03-2003 00:27Ploughshares activist Ulla Roder entered RAF Leuchars Air Base early Tuesday morning in north-east Fife and damaged a Tornado plane with a hammer, putting it out of action. The Tornado's at Leuchars are important in the UK's mobilisation for war against Iraq, and the base, whose motto is "Attack and Protect", is believed to have been involved in the bombing of Iraq since 1991. Also on Tuesday 11th, 9 'citizen weapons inspectors' cut through fences at RAF Lakenheath and cycled around the base, some locking on and obstructing the runway for 3 three hours.
Prior to Ulla's action, early on the morning of Monday 10th March, two other anti-war activists had breached security at RAF Leuchars in order to inspect the base ahead of its likely illegal use in an attack on Iraq. The action followed a demonstration at the weekend with around 200 people protesting at the base - Full report.
Also at the weekend another 20 people were arrested at USAF Fairford in Gloucestershire, after a group broke into the base (pics + report). A number of people made it onto the runway and delayed the take off of a transport plane (report 2) - landing lights were also disabled. Recently at USAF Fairford a new razor wire fence (pics) was erected by US soldiers right through the bomb spotting camp (pics), and in what is believed to be its first use, Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 has been authorised at Fairford in an attempt to control legitimate peace protests.
This years Women’s Day took particular recognition of the recent war preparations and increases in military budgets. Women all over the world added their voices to the consensus global priority - to reclaim these budgets for, and demand a change in, the priorities of the global economy. The changes fought for include paid recognition to carers, rights to resources such land and water, and justice against inhumane treatment and unacceptable living standards exacerbated by poor working, economic and cultural conditions.
In the UK, women demonstrated in London (see pictures 1 | 2 and report + action against sweatshops); in Sheffield (see also pictures), Aberdeen , Derry, Manchester - (video); in Colchester there were 24 arrests as people sat down in front of the 16 Air Assault Brigade headquarters.
On the eve of inernational women's day, women and men stormed the protected Ashford Women's prison in Middlesex. (see report).
Click here for information on countries participating in the Global Women’s Strike, as well as other actions and resources on International Women's Day.
Toronto report | Statement of women from Anatolia| Remember the women of Afghanistan | Washington DC | Minneapolis | LA: report & pics | Alice Walker, Amy Goodman & Other Notable Women Arrested in Anti-War Protest
Anti-war campaigners at RAF / USAF Fairford in Gloucestershire have been maintaining a Bomber Watch [pics] outside the base since US B-52 bombers started arriving there at the start of the week (one campaigner was arrested after four hours inside the base). The use of military planes from Fairford signaled the start of the previous Gulf War bombardment. Many protests including civil disobedience and direct actions have been held at Fairford in recent months (see previous features) - there is also an ongoing peace camp (recently moved).
Police have stepped up security around the base using Section 60 to enable stop-and-search powers.
Fairford is also one of only a few bases outside the US that can accommodate the nuclear capable B-2 Stealth Bombers. Despite rumors there has so far been no confirmation of B-2 deployment at Fairford, although U2 spyplanes have been seen.
Bombers continue to arrive, and campaigners are calling for more people to join the bomber watch. They also intend to hold a Picnic 4 Peace this weekend ahead of a mass protest planned at the base and elsewhere on March 22nd.
The action mirrored the rise in civil disobedience throughout the country with many anti-war demonstrations over the weekend including sit down protests.
Read reports 1, 2 [pics]
Read full report + pics
While both Shannon demonstrations were underway people also gathered in Dublin (Audio ) and in Donegal to voice their opposition to the war.
See IMC Ireland for full story.[audio]
A group from Cardiff Anarchist Network used a home made rope ladder to scale a seven foot spiked fence and bolt cutters to get through chain link fencing. The action lasted several hours and activists gained access to sensitive areas despite the best efforts of security guards and police. There was one arrest for criminal damage, although BAE declined to press charges.
Read reports: 1, 2
01-03-2003 09:00Edinburgh Claimants destroyed armed forces recruitment material in an Edinburgh Job Centre in resistance to the threatened war with Iraq. Group spokeswoman Ethel MacDonald said "The army and other armed forces try to take advantage of unemployed people's poverty. They produce glossy brochures, portraying exotic locations. The reality is killing and being killed". She continued "And what's it all for? Protecting the interests of the rich - like safeguarding the oil in Iraq for the western multinationals".
The protesters removed a large quantity of Army, Navy and RAF recruitment material from a city Job Centre. Thiese were shredded and returned through the letter box to Leith Walk Job Centre on 26th February. Read report
See feature in IMC-UK World Page for more information on this issue and reports on the recent mobilisations in the Basque Country.
Greenpeace UK says the oil giant Esso campaigns to keep the US hooked on oil, fuelling war and causing global warming and has funded front groups that are aggressively advocating an attack on Iraq (see greenpeace esso pdf report). Read full report.
The main gate was pulled open and dozens of civillian inspectors made it into the base with their high-tech array of "hypocrisy detectors" and "collateral damage anticipation indicators". Oppressive police tactics and around ten arrests were reported as riot police moved in, but the good natured protestors, as always retained the moral high ground against a war machine hell bent on destruction in the middle east. There was also a march around the base (where other breaches of the perimiter occured), which ended at the recently established peace camp.
Fairford, like several other military bases, is fast becoming a focus for direct action and civil disobedience against the war. March 22nd will see a national demonstration at both Fairford and Menwith Hill.
Read reports: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 / pics / 2 / 3
Prior to this on Saturday February 22nd more concerned "civillian weapons inspectors" from all over Britain went to their local police stations to report the presence of illegal weapons of mass destruction on British soil. Jeremy Clines, who reported Trident nuclear missiles to the York police, said: "We hope we get a positive response, but if we don't we will have no option but to take peaceful action ourselves, at the Really Big Blockade of Faslane on 22nd April." Read full report. Meanwhile a few days earlier on thursday 20th Feb four people blocked the runway at RAF Brize Norton.
The camp will run for 28 days and seeks to draw attention to the B-2 Stealth Bomber base at Fairford and its key role in the planned war on Iraq. The camp will monitor aircraft during the build up to war and provide news for other peace campaigners on activity at the base.
The camp was attacked by vigilantes on 19th Feb; they will not be detered by such tactics, but they encourage others to come and support.
Global Indymedia Portal coverage
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For full coverage of F15 in London, timelines of events including first hand reports, photos and videos see our special feature in IMC-UK Major Reports page.
London will see perhaps up to one million people protest (police now estimate 500,000)[details], marching to Hyde Park, after the governments embarrassing climbdown over the ban on the rally in the park. At 5pm people will also gather at Green Park to engage in civil disobedience against the war, (thus far ignored by mainstream media). Huge protests are expected in Glasgow are in ireland. In New York campaigners have been refused permission to march by the UN building, but over 60 autonomous feeder marches have sprung up, all intent on converging at the UN.
The protests are set to be so large and widespread that mainstream media coverage is expected the world over. However despite being content to cover the protests, the BBC made it clear in an internal magazine that presenters and senior editorial staff should avoid participating in the name of impartiality, a move which was not applied to the countryside alliance protest. Furthermore the BBC decided to remove a band with an anti-war message from the World Music Competition on Radio 3.
Links to anti-war websites here. Schnews launch direct action anti-war website. Route of march map (inc oil and arms companies).
ARCHIVE of anti-war newswire postings: here - (Jan 26th - Feb 13th) includes various direct actions, protests, and the build up to the massive feb 15th global demo.
For more information, reports & photos see feature in IMC-UK World Page.