UK Feature Archive
This Saturday (15th) people will be protesting at various places around central London to give the new 'stable, national interest' coalition a warm welcome.
SchNEWS gives a round-up of all the events taking place over the weekend to get your action-hungry teeth stuck into.
On May 4th, Middlesex University students occupied the executive board room on Trent Park campus in protest at the management's decision to close the entire philosophy department, after a meeting with the Dean and Deputy Vice Chancellor was cancelled. The following day, they occupied the entire building, following a rally attended by at least 100 people. Over a week on, occupants are stilling holding strong and organising various events and activities.
Update Occupiers were served with a High Court injunction, which came into effect at 8am on 15th May. They stayed till 4pm, then decided to leave.
"I told many people in Gaza about the people's strike on EDO MBM... When I recounted this action to people, I saw an expression come over their faces that I hadn't encountered before when talking about international solidarity. It was a kind of respect, a sense of surprised pride at a tiny move towards a leveling between the blood sacrifices and living hell of so many here, and sacrifices made by people in comparative comfort zones on the other side of the world - for them" - Ewa Jasiewicz - human rights activist/journalist eyewitness to Operation Cast Lead
In the early hours of 17th January 2009, during Israel's 'Operation Cast Lead' offensive against Gaza, six people broke in to the EDO/ITT weapons' components factory in Moulsecoomb, Brighton, and caused hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of damage to the production line. (see SchNEWS 663 and also check out the local paper's video of some of the damage)
In SchNEWS: 721 | 663
With the national elections less than a week away, Mayday celebrations to remember the Haymarket massacre of 1887 (and in support of worker's movements internationally) took place in many towns and cities across the UK. Despite that fact that the authorities had banned the planned march in Coventry, a spontaneous event took place marching from the Council House to Millenium Square, with a No Borders slogan reading 'Asylum is not a crime' at the head of the procession. In Nottingham, hundreds joined a procession which managed to overcome the City Council’s bureaucratic machinery. Several hundred people joined a march in Chesterfield and 400 braved the rain for Dublin's march which ended with a speech by Arthur Scargill. In Bradford people gathered on Infirmary Fields and in Manchester up to 200 joined a march, and enjoyed a firework display, and in Edinburgh about 100 joined a rally at West Princes Street Gardens.
In London, trade unionists and Communists marched from Clerkenwell Green to a rally in Trafalger Square. The four horsemen of the apopcalypse, last seen out at the G20 protests last year, were central to the 'Election meltdown' which saw effigies of party leaders dragged from their party HQs to Parliament Square for public execution, before an estimated crowd of 500. While some stayed to set up a Demockracy village in the square, many others were led to a tunnel by the samba band, for a Rave Against the Machine.
AS PROPOSED IMF SOLUTION SPARKS RESISTANCE...
Greece is further troubled as government officials get ready to announce IMF imposed wage cuts that will resonate across the country’s entire public sector. Emergency demonstrations were held across the country (Thursday 29th April) in protest against the cuts by grass-roots trade unions, leftist and anarchist organisations.
An increasing number of grassroots campaigns and groups around the country have been set up to support unemployed workers and benefit claimants, fight privatisation and resist corporate profiteering from the welfare system. Below is an incomplete overview of some of these groups and what they do.
Related: Corporate Watch on the 'unemployment business' | Mule: Forced labour for Jobseekers | Mule: Welfare Reform: who will it affect? | Plotting and scheming for Welfare not Workfare | Cambridge Unemployed Workers Union founded | UWU Picket of A4E | Sheffield Claimants and Unemployed Workers launch meeting | Unemployed Workers and Claimants Union in Oxford | Unemployed Workers Unions spring up from Salford initiative | Week of Action on ‘Welfare Abolition Bill’, March 7 – 15th | Precarity: New forms of exploitation, new forms of resistance at Beyond ESF
Bristol eco-village set up camp this week with huge support from the local people and activists from all over the country. The off-grid urban community kicked off last Saturday (17th) on a patch of waste land in St.Werburghs previously notorious for fly tipping, arson attacks and hard drug users.
On 23rd March 2010, a high-profile conference about 'policing the borders' that brought together Frontex, the UK Border Agency and senior police officers from various UK police forces was disrupted by No Borders activists protesting against Fortress Europe [press release | video]. Protesters have since posted two of the main presentations that were included in the welcome packs left behind by the delegates who rushed out of the conference hall, one by Frontex on "how to solve cross-border challenges and create an integrated border control system" and the other by ACPO on "the national strategy for UK border policing."
Over the past seven days, animal rights activists have hit the streets and campuses nationwide, calling for an end to animal experimentation in universities as part of the Week of Action Against University Vivisection organised by SAEAB.
Banged up Sea Shepherd campaigner Pete Bethune is facing a long prison sentence after boarding a Japanese whaling ship during protests in the Southern Ocean in February. Operation Waltzing Matilda was the most successful Sea Shepherd campaign yet against illegal Japanese whaling (see SchNEWS 713), but it wasn't without a cost for Sea Shepherd after their £2 million boat the Ady Gil was rammed and sunk by a whaler on January 6th.www.seashepherd.org
This time last year, few people in the UK had even heard of the Alberta Tar Sands. Now they are moving rapidly up the public agenda, thanks largely to a growing grassroots campaign of resistance and international solidarity. The latest example of this has been the national “Fortnight of Shame” (April 1st- 15th 2010) to oppose BP's planned involvement in the tar sands, which came to a head on Saturday 10th with protests in London, Oxford, Brighton and Cambridge, including a Party at the Pumps in Sheperds Bush, and which culminated on Thursday 15th April with the BP + Tar Sands = Climate Crime protest outside the BP Shareholders AGM at the ExCel Conference Centre.
IMC UK: Tar Sands Topic
AS REPRESSION INC ARRIVES IN LONDON TO PEDDLE ITS WARES.....
Roll up, roll up, one and all for the ‘Counter Terror’ Expo 2010. Kicking off at London’s Kensington Olympia on April 14th, the two day event will showcase the surveillance and ‘security’ technologies of 250 companies hoping for a slice of the paranoia dollar. Also on the Big Brother bandwagon are NATO, the MoD and other representative associations from the police, military and private security industry. There are several good reasons to show up at 12pm, Wednesday 14th April (at Olympia Way W14) and counter the terror expo.
The International Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement has been growing, as Israel continues to beseige Gaza, and take land in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The call for BDS was issued by Palestinian civil society in 2004 in protest at the occupation and colonisation of Palestinian land, the unequal status of Palestinians, which has been likened to South African Apartheid which ended in 1994.
On Tuesday 30th March, about 50 activists 'occupied' a Waitrose Supermarket in London's Barbican, in recognition of the Second Global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Day of Action. Activists distributed leaflets to customers and explained the action to staff and shoppers before leaving the supermarket to chants of "Free, Free Palestine".
Corporate Watch | EDO Decommissioners | BDS Day of Action | Gaza Demonstrators Support Campaign | ISM London
From the newswire:
Defend the Gaza Protestors | Pickets against Ahava build momentum | UK Company Exporting from Settlements | Russell Tribunal On Palestine|London Dump Veolia Potest - Sat 10th|
"It's rapidly becoming obvious that this is a nationwide issue - somehow the police have got it into their heads that music and dancing are bad for society. They've used the licensing laws as a weapon." - Strawberry Fair organiser
In what is fast becoming a summer tradition, yet another gathering has fallen victim to party-pooping police tactics. One of the UK's last free open-air festivals has been cancelled under police pressure. Strawberry Fair, in Cambridge, viewed by many as the starting gun for the festival season, has been stopped in its tracks after 37 straight years. Some (on Facebook at least) are vowing that some kind of festival will go ahead anyway.
On Sunday night twenty five activists occupied the site of the Blair House Open Cast Coal Site in solidarity with near-by communities and in direct intervention of the environmental destruction that it will cause. Contractors have been felling trees on the site over the past week, and activists have moved in to stop this work and put an end to UK Coal's plans for mining the Black Wood Wildlife site.
The United Nations wildlife conference in Qatar this week, where delegates from 175 countries gathered to make decisions on the protection of recently endangered species has pulled grey clouds over the world of conservation. The CITES meeting failed to add the threatened Atlantic bluefin tuna to the Appendix I listing of the CITES legislation, which would have resulted in a ban on the international trade of the fish. In the last 50 years over 80% of the bluefin tuna population has disappeared as a result of industrial overfishing. If this incredible creature, which is also referred to as the tiger of the oceans, is not protected by some kind of international measure soon, it will soon be no more.
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has announced it will take aggressive action against tuna poachers in Southern Europe this summer. Their ship, the Steve Irwin, which recently returned from the anti-whaling campaign in Antarctica, is currently under way to Europe, where actions will start in May. Last year Greenpeace took action against tuna fishermen in Malta. The fishermen responded aggressively when activists attempted to board their ships. Conservation group Oceana which has been monitoring illegal fishing practices in the Mediterranean for the last few years might also return this summer.
On the weekend of 12-14 March, Nottingham Animal Rights and Veggies hosted the national animal rights spring gathering at Nottingham's Sumac Centre. This was a weekend of networking, workshops, discussions, actions and social activities and well attended by activists from across the county.
This included a city-wide (and beyond) Day of Action on Saturday 13 March, with campaigns against shops selling fur, foie gras and KFC, Greyhound Action, a demo against the 'great' British Circus, a vegan free food giveaway & McDonalds demo and a mass hunt sab. Following the day's campaigning, French Living have pledged to discontinue the sale of foie gras and thanks to the presence of Nottingham Hunt Saboteurs and many friends, no foxes were killed by the Grove and Rufford Hunt, on the last day of their season. Meanwhile residents at Waddington, near Lincoln, have pledged that the Great British Circus will never return.
On Sunday, Notts Stop the BNP got news that Nick Griffin was to speak at the Nag's Head, Sutton-in-Ashfield. Due to the short notice only a few campaigners were able to make the hastily organised protest. Fortunately, three minibuses of animal rights activists from the gathering arrived to show their opposition to the BNP.
Upcoming event; Animal Rights Summer Gathering, 27-30 August, near Northampton.
On the newswire: Griffin blames the labour party for blocking his meeting! | Report on protest against BNP Sutton meeting | KFC protest | Free Vegan food Giveaway at the AR Spring gathering | Nick Griffin vs animal rights | National Animal Rights Spring Gathering
Links: Fur Free Nottingham | Greyhound Action in Nottingham | National Animal Rights Gathering | Nottingham Animal Rights | Nottingham Hunt Sabs | Notts Stop the BNP | Veggies | Notts Indymedia animal liberation newswire
In 2007 UK Coal submitted plans to Telford and Wrekin Council to open cast mine 900,000 tons of poor quality coal from an area at the foot of the Wrekin in Telford over 32 months. The plans included destroying parts of an ancient woodland and will be responsible for a minimum of 1,500,000 tonnes of CO2 emitted into the atmosphere. The Wrekin is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
After discovering last week that many of the trees had already been felled signaling that work was due to begin imminently, West Midlands Climate Action and a coalition of local groups and activists last week swooped upon the Huntington Lane Surface Mine Site to claim the land.
As part of Fossil Fools Day, West Midlands Climate Action are putting on a weekend gathering at the newly established Huntington Lane Camp from April 1st to 4th. The weekend will include a ramble over the proposed Surface Mine Site, Banner drops, campaign planning and most importantly carrying out any work on site that needs doing to help establish a permanent base on site. They are calling on people to attend the weekend, and to support and defend the camp in any way they can.
Well blimey. Against all the odds it looks like Titnore Woods has been saved from the developers' evil clutches.
The decision made by Worthing Council's planning committee to reject the development plans for the new housing estate on the ancient woodland site on Monday (15th) had everyone shouting with joy and dancing in the public gallery. The crowd were so beside themselves they even gave the bloody councillors a standing ovation.
Students at Sussex University came into violent conflict with riot cops on Wednesday (3rd) as they occupied the executive nerve centre of their university. Several weeks in the planning by Stop the Cuts campaign, around 80 students rushed the 'fortified' Sussex House building with a supporting demo outside of around 300 people, all in protest against the proposed cuts to university funding. The occupation was part of a national day of action, called against £950m of government cuts to higher education announced on February 1st. There were also actions in Norwich, Leeds and London.Links: Indymedia Coverage:1 |2 |3 | 4
Videos of the protests | Stop the Cuts – Defend Sussex