UK Feature Archive
Saturday 8th December saw two separate days of action happening across the country. The first was the start of a week of action against the governments Workfare scheme. Workfare replaces jobs and undermines wages, this can be seen by Superdrug in Brighton not hiring any Christmas temps because they have free labour from the job centre. The Work Programme actually reduces your chances of finding a job, whilst the Mandatory Work Activity has had no effect on unemployment levels. Since 3rd December, disabled people can now be sent on time unlimited workfare placements. If they say no, their benefits will be cut to £28/week indefinitely. Unemployed people who refuse can have their job seekers allowance cut for up to 3 years.
The second day of action was against Starbucks tax avoidance. Starbucks have not paid any corporation tax in the past 3 years, and only £8.6m in the 14 years they’ve been trading in this country. Costa Coffee, whose turnover last year was £377m, just £21m less than Starbucks paid £15m in corporation tax.
On the newswire: Workfare’s Christmas Bonus For The Bosses | 100 people at #Sheffield @ukuncut #Starbucks Action | UK Uncut protest against tax dodgers Starbucks | Anti-Austerity Protest, Manchester Report and Pics | small determined workfare demo in holloway, london yesterday | islington starbucks ukuncut actions yesterday - report & pics 1 of 2 | islington starbucks ukuncut actions yesterday - report & pics 2 of 2 | Bath Anti-Starbucks Demo | Boycott Workfare day of action | Anti-Workfare Pickets Glasgow Report | Boycott Workfare Video | Starbucks action in Cambridge by UK Uncut
Previous Features: Workfare: Enslave us and we'll shut you down!
Israel launched a new offensive on the people of Gaza last week which claimed the lives of 162 Palestinians. Four Israeli civilians and one soldier have also died as a result of retaliatory rocket attacks.
As of 20th November 23% of Palestinian casualties were children. The youngest victim of the recent Israeli aggression is 11-month-old Omar Al Mashharrawi.
Hundreds of solidarity demonstrations have been held globally and a national demonstration is planned in London on Saturday 24th November. On Friday 16th November a demonstration was held in Birmingham and another is planned for Thursday 22nd outside the BBC offices to protest biased reporting. In Brighton on Saturday 17th November activists locked on to the Ecostream store, a shop owned by an Israeli company that has its main manufacturing facility in the West Bank settlement of Mishor Adumim. Later on a hundred strong crowd marched to the store and held a noisy demonstration outside the shop. On Monday 19th a phone and twitter blockade of the company was held.
The same day in Wrexham activists picketed Barclays Bank in protest at Barclays investments in companies supplying weapons to Israel.
On Tuesday 20th a group of solidarity activists occupied G4S headquarters over the company's contracts with the Israeli prison service as well as providing equipment and services to Israeli military checkpoints and maintaining contracts with businesses working in Israel's settlements.
The 'Don't Dance with Israeli Apartheid' campaign held demonstrations against London performances of the Israeli state sponsored Batsheva dance troupe at Sadlers Wells on the 19th-21st November as part of a coordinated international campaign. There were also protests both inside and outside of the Birmingham performances at the Hippodrome on the 14-15th November coinciding with the start of the latest Gaza massacre.
Palestinians in the West Bank have also been demonstrating in solidarity with their brothers and sisters in Gaza, only to be met with typical Israeli oppression. On Saturday, 31-year-old Rushdi Tamimi was shot by an IDF soldier at a protest in the village of Nabi Saleh. He died of his wounds in hospital on Monday around the time news surfaced that Hamdi Mohammad Jawwad Al-Falah, 22, was killed after being shot four times during a demonstration in the Bir al-Mahjar neighborhood in western Hebron. A baby also died in hospital on Monday after an Israeli tear gas canister landed in his bedroom in Qalandia refugee camp.
A ceasefire was reached on Wednesday 21st of November. However, the conflict is likely to continue if Israel does not end its siege of Gaza and attempts to control the Gazan economy. The need for solidarity with the people of Palestine struggling against Israeli militarism, apartheid and occupation has never been greater.
Upcoming events: Thursday 22nd November - Gaza solidarity demo in Brighton at the Old Steine at 5pm and Die In on the BBC Steps at the Mailbox in Birmingham 6pm-7pm| 23rd/24th November - Don't Dance with Israeli apartheid demos in Plymouth| Hebden Bridge Gaza solidarity demo - meet at the Central Intersection at 5pm| 24th November - Mass Gaza Solidarity demo in London| Sunday 25th - Demo at Ecostream, Western Rd, Brighton, 1-3pm
The month began with the successful eviction resistance of the squatted social centre Gremlin Alley on October 4th, when bailiffs turned up faced with a barricaded building and a supportive crowd outside, eventually realising they had no hope of gaining access. The gremlins occupying the centre spent the rest of the day having a black bloc style party on the roof, while supporters partied to a local band who turned up to play, and cops kept their distance but remained present for most of the day. A communique followed the next day, expressing solidarity with imprisoned squatter Alex Haigh and the Cuts Cafe crew in London who were raided by TSG on the same evening. A video commmunique was then released the following week, in English and Welsh, explaining the reason for resisting, as well as expressing general disgust for the state and the increased criminalisation of homeless.
After a busy two weeks improving barricades by gremlins and supporters, the first attempt to deport the Saleh family occured on Thursday 18th, with their home being raided by UKBA officers and two activists being arrested for obstruction. While solidarity was shown for the activists at Cardiff Bay police station, others made an attempt to block the detainees coach on the motorway sliproad, followed by a successful communications blockade of Egypt Air’s telephone lines and their facebook page. The family avoided deportation that day due to a security mix-up, and were instead taken to Cedars detention centre in West Sussex. By the morning, Friday 18th, UKBA offices in Cardiff had its windows smashed – no doubt in response to the attempted deportation, signifying more resistance to come.
Related articles: Gremlin Alley EVICTION RESISTANCE happening now (UPDATE - 3pm) | Communique :: The Gremlins are still resisting in Cardiff | Video Communique from the Gremlins | Timeline of anti-deportation resistance in support of the Saleh family | Shroukie’s family LATEST: coach blocked for 5 hours, fingers crossed ... | Prisoner Art Tour Launch Night This Friday in Cardiff | Legal Training Evening @ Red & Black Umbrella | Red & Black Umbrella 1 Year Anniversary Halloween Bash + Gig!
Links: Gremlin Alley Social Centre | No Borders South Wales on Saleh Family | NCADC on Saleh Family | Save Mrs S and Her Two Children @ 38 Degrees | Save the Saleh Family | Cardiff Anarchist Black Cross | Cardiff Defendant Solidarity | Red & Black Umbrella
Saturday’s October 20th "March for a future that works" demonstration organised by the TUC saw over 150,000 out on the streets of London to protest the government's cuts and austerity measures. It's been almost a year since the TUC leadership tried to look like they were actively opposing the cuts and well over a year since the last big demo. The organisers sent out a somewhat mixed message by first calling for a general strike but then allowing Ed Miliband a platform to announce he'll carry on cutting where the Tories leave off if elected.
The demonstration also saw hundreds of black bloc and Boycott Workfare activists target Oxford Street stores that use workfare and tax avoidance, whilst DPAC activists successfully blockaded Park Lane.
On the Newswire: October 20: The view from Oxford Circus | #Oct20 150,000 on TUC demo PHOTOS | unions cuts march and london anti-workfare actions - pics & report | Oct20: we got work to do ... | March For A Future That Works
Previous Features: SchNEWS: One Strike and You're Out? | "You Can Shove Your Rubber Bullets Up Your Arse!": 'Total Policing' of N9 Demos | Anti-cuts protesters take over London | March 26th - All out against the cuts
The Conservative Party Conference came to Birmingham this week and was met with almost daily protests from angry plebs. But whilst the protests where going on outside, inside the class warfare was turned up a notch after it was announced that a further £10billion will be cut from welfare and that the government plan on scrapping workers rights in exchange for offering them "shares" by their employer. These rights such as protection from unlawful dismissal, flexible working time and maternity leave have been won by workers struggling hard over the past 100 years for a decent standard of living. To add salt to the wound, the announcement delivered by George Osborne came with the Orwellian Doublespeak "workers of the world unite". Well if that’s what he wants …
On the Newswire: Welcome The Tories To Birmingham | Lobby Tory Conference re Ballymurphy Massacre | Picket the Bigots - Tory Party Conference | Badger Cull Tory Conference | Hunt Saboteurs protest against badger cull at Tory Party Conference | Remploy Demonstration At Tory Party Conference – 8:30am Wednesday | Tory Conference Demo | Badger Cull Campaigners to Target Conservative Party Conference | Sacked Remploy Workers Demonstrate For Their Jobs
While over seventy countries now possess drones, so far only the UK, the US and Israel are known to have used armed drones. The UK has launched over 300 drones strikes in Afghanistan but there is little public information about these strikes. Israel regularly launches drone attacks in Gaza and the US has been using drones in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen. It is suspected, but not confirmed that US drones have also undertaken strikes in Mali and Philippines this year.
On the newswire: Ground the Drones Week of Action announcement | Drones Week of Action events listings | The faceless face of military drones at Menwith Hill: 9 October | Veterans for Peace action at General Atomics | Terrorist drones come to Lincolnshire – drones peace walk | Drones and Thrones – A London Diary
Government and local councils are planning to spend billions of pounds on dozens of new roads over the next few years, and new 'growth' funds and devolved spending powers for local councils threaten to add hundreds more disastrous projects to this list.
Could this weekend's actions be the beginning of a new upsurge of anti-roads protests?
On the newswire: Local residents camp & rally against Bexhill-Hastings link road | Twyford anniversary action | Stop the Road! Rally & Camp | Parking the car … for good | Bikes alive bike blockade at King's Cross | Video of Bikes Alive! Protest | Climate Rush give cake to Sustrans | 'bikes alive' action at kings x tomorrow | No to Road Building | Tenth anniversary of the siege of Wanstonia M11 link rd | Pics from Arundel 2nd bypass protest march
Links: Combe Haven Defenders | Hastings Alliance | Campaign for Better Transport | Bicycology
Birmingham Tenants & Homeless Action Group have occupied an abandoned council house with the intention of handing it over to a homeless person. They've contacted the council and demanded that they put the property back into use as low cost social housing and then do the same with the other nearly 12,000 empty properties around the city. Otherwise they have said that despite changes to the law on squatting they will continue with occupations of the other empty properties with the intention of handing them over to the homeless. With 11,924 empty properties, the highest rate of homelessness in the country and an estimate by city planners that Birmingham is currently short of 11,000 affordable homes, putting the abandoned houses back into use is the only logical step
Previous Features: Birmingham's Homeless Crises
On the newswire: Tenants & Homeless seize abandoned council house | Birmingham Tenants & Homeless Action Group - What we are doing | Squatting sleepover! Homeless but not helpless! | Police arresting homeless in Birmingham | First eviction protest for B.E.R.N | VIDEO Birmingham Eviction Resistance Network first eviction protest | Birmingham Eviction Resistance Network meeting | Food not Bombs every Sunday at Holloway Circus | VIDEO FNB in Victoria Square
Update 19/8/12: Police arresting homeless in Birmingham
On the Newswire: Brum FnB at the Birmingham Social Centre | First eviction protest for B.E.R.N | BERN BABY BERN fundraiser for Birmingham Eviction Resistance Network | Birmingham Eviction Resistance Network meeting | Food is a right not a privilege – statement of solidarity | Food not Bombs every Sunday at Holloway Circus | Birmingham Food Not Bombs is back
While the London 2012 Olympic open ceremony was underway on Friday 27th July, there was a massive police and military operation underway, which included the use of CS gas, to contain and eventually arrest 182 London critical mass cyclists. The cyclists were held in a police kettle for two hours, handcuffed in buses for three hours and held in a police cell from six hours to two days. Out of 182 cyclists, only 3 have been charged with any offence. However, all have bail conditions imposed on them until September 18th 2012 restricting their freedom to move, assemble, associate and live their lives. Some groups have issued advice that the bail conditions may breach Articles 10 & 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights. They point out that "breaching bail conditions is not a criminal offence."
A petition for justice for the 182 has been launched with the following demands:
- All bail conditions should be discharged
- All data including DNA, fingerprint, addresses etc taken from those cyclists should be removed from all paper and comupter records of police & other agencies.
- An independent review of the police behaviour on Friday 27th July should be conducted as a matter of urgency.
On Monday 16th July 2012 Smash EDO held a Citizen's Weapons Inspection' of EDO. Kent, Sussex and Hampshire Police used new Police Liaison Officers and a steel wall against demonstrators.Despite this, activists dressed in white suits managed to breach the police cordon and hang banners outside the factory gates and close down the industrial estate by locking-on to the police cordon.
On Sunday 15th July Smash EDO hosted a gathering against the G8, launching a new network. There will be a workshop to plan action against the G8 at Earth First and the next gathering will be 22nd September in Birmingham.
At 1pm on Monday 16th July a group of concerned citizens from Brighton and beyond will be attempting to inspect the EDO MBM factory in Moulsecoomb to further highlight the factory’s complicity in the murder of innocent civilians around the world.
It has long been known that this local company has links with illegal and immoral arms deals and Smash EDO intend to hold them to account. In January 2009 six activists broke in and successfully decommissioned the factory and then waited to be arrested by the police. At their later trial a jury found that their actions were entirely legal as they were acting to prevent war crimes against civilians in Gaza.
This mass action is part of an ongoing 'Summer of Resistance' which has seen almost daily actions by protesters against the factory in May and June and which will continue until the end of July.
Demonstrators will converge at the Level at 1pm.
A call has been made to FITwatchers to kettle the police and to sabotage their new tactic of using Police Liaison Officers to pacify the crowd.
The day before the demo anti-capitalists will be converging in Brighton for a day of plotting and scheming against the 2013 G8, to be held in the UK
Local Contacts for the Weapons Inspection: London: firstname.lastname@example.org | Bristol: email@example.com | Manchester: firstname.lastname@example.org | Swansea: email@example.com
Campaigners in the UK and Sweden have taken various actions against G4S over the last month. Meanwhile, various discussions and meetings are taking place to coordinate efforts aimed at forcing the multinational security giant to halt its “unlawful and criminal activities”, as well as to put pressure on public authorities to withdraw from and not award new contracts to the notorious company.
On 27th May at Rothamsted, Harpenden, Hertsfordshire, more than 400 growers, bakers and families from across England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, France and Belgium marched against the return of open air GM field testing. Take the Flour Back linked arms with their European counterparts, notably France’s Volunteer Reapers and walked calmly towards the field of GM wheat before being stopped by police lines.
From the newswire: European activists link up to draw the line against GM| Final details| Take the Flour Back defend Direct Action on Newsnight| Open letter to Rothamsted| What is food sovereignty| Pull up the GM wheat, or we will, say growers| Meet-up point announced| Callout
Links: Take the flour back
By now the glad tidings that ninety of her majesty's most loyal subjects were happy to celebrate 60 years of her reign by kipping under a bridge before a joyful thirteen hour shift of telling union-jack-sporting buffoons the way to the big river in the middle of London without being paid has been splashed all over the papers. But it's just the tip of the iceberg.
On the newswire: Liverpool Workfare Walk of Shame Occupies City Centre Exploiters| Mayday workfare demo shuts Oxford Street stores| Workfare actions around Birmingham in April| Workfare conference cancelled due to protest | Workfare Unravels | 'It's exploitation and it's repellent' | Tesco’s Secret Workfare Slaves | Demo shuts Westminster Tesco | GMB Union Promotes Workfare as Answer | DWP Locks Down FOI Responses | Legal Challenge to Government’s slave labour scheme
From Corporate Watch: Benefit claimant forced to accept Jubilee steward position for less than minimum wage | To pay or not to pay: Asda and Argos choose workfare over work | Regulating workfare (or not)| 'It's exploitation and it's repellent': Retailers, councils and charities benefiting from workfare | Unemployed people bullied into work
The UK antimilitarist movement is building fresh coalitions against new developments in state militarism. In March activists converged in Bristol to confront an unmanned drones conference and a ‘Disarm the National Gallery’ campaign was launched in London to end arms trade sponsorship of the gallery. This week delegates visiting the annual Counter-Terror conference were met by a counter-protest and Vince Cable's speech at the UKTI conference was disrupted.
Smash EDO, who have campaigned to shut EDO MBM down for eight years are launching three months of action, from May 1st to August 1st, next week with a mayday noise demonstration, a bad music demonstration and a phone and twitter blockade to name just a few of the planned events.
Smash EDO Summer of resistance reports: Picket of Barclays - 27/4/12| A few words on sensationalist journalism, protest bans and the local rag| The Summer of Resistance starts here| Mayday! Mayday! The Summer of Resistance Day One| Day Two: Face the Music| Day Three: Hot on the Wire| Day Four: Surprise! Surprise!| Smash EDO Summer of Resistance Week Two begins| Bikes not Bombs: Smash EDO Summer of Resistance hits the Pedals| Ratchet up the Racket: Summer of Resistance Continues| Summer of Resistance Targets Barclays
Around 1000 people converged on Hinkley Point in west Somerset on the weekend of 10th-11th March 2012 to mark one year since the earthquake, tsunami and start of the Fukushima nuclear crisis in Japan, and to demand that the UK abandon its plans for new nuclear power stations at Hinkley and up to seven other sites in England and Wales. The weekend involved a rally and 'surround the power station' action, followed by a 24-hour blockade of the entrance to the existing power station. People came from all over England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Ireland, France, Spain, Portugal, Germany and Taiwan; and, notably, a number of individuals from Japan took part, including a pair of Fukushima evacuees and a Buddhist monk and nun. Speakers included Green party leader Caroline Lucas MP; environmentalist Jonathon Porritt; Kate Hudson, General Secretary of Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament; Steve Mitchell from the French Nuclear Phase-Out Network; and local anti-nuclear activist Nikki Clark; with musical entertainment from Somerset-based activist folk band Seize the Day, and words of encouragement from the band's lead singer, Theo Simon, who had helped occupy the recently-evicted Langborough Barn.
Theo led demonstrators on a tour of the land EDF plans to begin clearing and excavating later this month. Allegedly inaccurate signs marking sections of the land as part of the Hinkley B nuclear licensed site were removed, with other signs being defaced, and double harris fencing around the recently-evicted Langborough Barn being torn down. Security for EDF tried to evict people parked and camping overnight in the designated car park, before eventually retreating after heated words with some of the organisers. Around 100 people stayed on for the blockade, with over 60 still in place by 9am on Sunday, and others joining later in the morning.
Shortly after 1pm on Sunday, the Buddhist monk and nun led a procession to the beach to float lanterns in memory of the many thousands of victims of the earthquake and tsunami, and present and future victims of fall-out from the triple meltdown at Fukushima. The blockade ended with a closing circle at 3pm. One man was arrested late on Sunday afternoon, after most people had left, for allegedly stealing a sign. This was the only known arrest over the course of the weekend, with police adopting a largely 'hands off' approach to the weekend's demonstrations.
Previous Hinkley Feature: Hinkley Blockaded: No More Nuclear Power! | On the Newswire: Fukushima 1 year on: Hinkley Point to be surrounded and blockaded | Successful anti-nuclear rally at Hinkley Point on Fukushima anniversary | Anti-nuclear activists claim double record at Hinkley Point demo | Hinkley Barnstormers need you!! | Hinkley C ~ Site Occupation | EDF Energy seeks high court injunction against protestors | Anti-nuclear protesters occupy Hinkley Point | Hinkley Point Barnstormers - Occupiers aim to stop EDF land trash | Farmhouse squatted to defend land from EDF Energy's bulldozers | Directions to the new camp at Hinkley Point power station | Troubled Over Bridgwater | Concerned Locals take to the Trees at Hinkley Point | Nuclear energy fat cats EDF Energy targeted for fuel poverty days of action | Fukushima: The Big Lie | Don't buy the lie: Say No to nuclear energy before it's too late
Audio: Ecoshock: Fukushima Disaster - One Year Later | From Nuclear Weapons to Nuclear Energy: The U.S., The Marshall Islands, and Japan
Occupation Videos (YouTube): 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | Photos (Picasaweb): 1 | 2 | 3 | SchNEWS: Barn Stormed | Barn Storming | A Bridgwater Too Far
Bristol IMC Articles: Barnstormers Released | Reclaim Hinkley Protestors Arrested | Reclaim Hinkley Eviction | Hinkley Barnstormers Eviction Imminent ! Help Needed ! | Hinkley barnstormers call for support | Hinkley Barn Squatters Imminent Eviction ! | Boycott EDF/Stop the development of HinkleyC nuclear power station | Hinkley Barnstormers need you!! | EDF puts the stain into sustainability | Nuclear Energy Company EDF seeks high court injunction against protesters | Hinkley Point Barn Occupied | Support the Anti-nuclear folk at Langborough Farm! | Activists needed to defend squatted farmhouse near nuclear power plant | Directions to the new camp at Hinkley Point power station | Hinkley Occupied Again | Hinkley Tree Protesters Evicted | Warm Socks v Hot Nukes-Tree Action Update | Concerned Locals take to the Trees at Hinkley Point near Bridgwater, Somerset
Protests took place outside stores across Britain on 3rd March 2012 as campaigners stepped up their opposition to the ConDem workfare slavery scheme, (started under Labour,) by taking the online campaigns, which have resulted in many firms pulling out, onto the streets .
In Edinburgh two Tescos were 'invaded' and pickets were mounted outside a Poundland and British Heart Foundation store. The Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty delivered a letter to the BHF store insisting “that BHF withdraws completely from the Work Programme and all workfare schemes”
Bristol cops arrested two protestors at a picket of a McDonalds, and a solidarity action was held outside Trinity Road cop-shop later in the day. In Birmingham about 50 campaigners stopped off at Sainsburies and Superdrug to congratulate them on pulling out the scheme, whilst pickets were held at Poundland and McDonalds. In Sheffield campaigners who were chucked out of a Tesco on West Street, continued their tour with visits to stores which included Marks and Spencers, McDonalds and Primark. Nottingham campaigners picketed Wilkinsons before moving on to other stores
In Lewisham, McDonalds, Boots, Greggs, BHS and Primark werre targeted by a group of about 30, whilst Oxford Street saw a few dozen campaigners target outlets including McDonalds, Pizza Hut and Holiday Inn in a game of cat and mouse awith the police. On Friday Ian Duncan-Smith was challenged by protestors as he arrived at a conference in Tottenham. He insisted that "workfare is a brilliant scheme".
Newswire: Workfare conference cancelled due to protest | Workfare Unravels | 'It's exploitation and it's repellent' | Tesco’s Secret Workfare Slaves | Demo shuts Westminster Tesco | GMB Union Promotes Workfare as Answer | DWP Locks Down FOI Responses | Legal Challenge to Government’s slave labour scheme
On Wednesday 15th students from around the country joined students from Birmingham to protest the injunction the university has obtained banning all forms of occupational protest for 12 months. The university has been heavily criticised by human rights groups including Amnesty, Liberty and the Index on Censorship calling the actions aggressive and censorious. Sabina Frediani, campaigns co-ordinator for Liberty has been quoted as saying “Universities should be places where ideas and opinions can be explored and they should be engaging with the students in their care – not criminalising them. How exactly will taking out court orders against protest encourage future applications from aspiring undergraduates?”
The march started at the guild of students and several attempts were made during the march to gain access to various buildings on campus but were stopped by the overly aggressive security who had the backup of police, on standby around the campus. The route of the A to B march was quickly abandoned in favour of something a bit more impromptu and resulted in a demo outside the building where the disciplinary hearing was taking place for Simon Furse, the only student in the country to be disciplined by a university for taking part in an occupation. The disciplinary had already been disrupted once earlier in the day as a group of students stormed the room and read out statements.
The march continued on in an impromptu fashion after this until a door with no security was found, at which point the march became an occupation, breaking the injunction. The building in question just happened to be the University’s Corporate Conference Centre in Staff House which was occupied in November, the first in this latest round of occupations.
On the Newswire: Calling all students, take back your campus | Occupation - Defending the Right to Protest | University of Birmingham Corporate Conference Centre occupied - over 100 students | Take back your campus
Related Features: Your Education is Being Sold: Occupy the Academy! | Student’s squat gatehouse at University of Birmingham | Birmingham University Students Occupy Corporate Conference Centre | Council House & universities occupied: students reject cuts and fees hike |