UK Feature Archive
05-07-2002 11:58On Wednesday 3rd July a number of arrests and raids were carried out in relation to a non-violent action in the same office block as the Israeli Tourist Board and the El-Al airline offices on 13th May. This follows the arrest of activist Emily Apple last week and who subsequently had her home raided and various items including personal diaries were seized. She was held for two days and was given the ridiculous charge of Violent Disorder (Section 2) which is usually reserved for serious rioting, and carries a sentence of up to 5 years imprisonment.
Police confiscated computers and other items from yesterday's arrestees, and one teenager had her house searched while police shut her home alone little brother in his room. Full report
29-06-2002 08:50Harmondsworth detention centre update: A full-scale prison regime is to be introduced for asylum seekers. Internal security gates are to be installed, hampering free movement and the freedom to engage in free association within the detention centre. Also a possible curtailment of visiting hours and much more. Read full report.
Woomera asylum seekers break for freedom: On the night of 27 June 27 asylum seekers escaped from the Woomera detention centre in the South Australian desert, aided by protesters. Five have so far been recaptured and four people have been arrested for aiding the escape. They are in custody in Port Augusta. Read full reports and updates.
Melbourne IMC | Woomera Refugee Embassy
Bristol defend asylum seekers: Action on Saturday 29th June outside BHS in Broadmead, Bristol, between 2 and 3, with petitions and creative kids participation for the local Mehmeti Family Campaign and other families and individuals threatened with deportation.
NCADC | Bristol IMC
For more up to date info see War in Palestine page, or links below.
22-06-2002 00:00EU Summit in Seville: General Strike and Actions.
EU Summit in Seville: General Strike and Actions - June 20-21
The main subjects of the Summit in Seville were the strengthening of "fortress Europe" and the toughening of immigration laws. Two days of action against the Europe of Capital took place in the city ending with a 200.000 strong demonstration. Trade unions across Spain also called for a General Strike in protest at the Popular Party government's reform of unemployment and workers' rights laws. Full report.
World Bank academic conference - Oslo June 24-25
Monday 24th was the start of the World Bank meeting in Oslo, Norway. At the same time a counter-conference called 'South meets North', and a series of events and demonstrations organized by the umbrella organisation Oslo2002 took place in the city. Full report.
Cross-Canada protests against G8 Summit - June 26-27
On June 26th and 27th two days of action took place in Canada as the leaders of the G8 countries met in the secluded mountains of Kananaskis, Alberta. Protesters took the streets of different Canadian cities to oppose the destructive agenda perpetuated by the G8. Full report.
[Report and Pictures | Trade Justice Movement: Reports and Pictures | Debate 1 | Debate 2 ]
20-06-2002 05:25On June 18th the UK home secretary David Blunkett abandoned plans to extend the electronic snooping powers given to the police (under the RIP Act) to a huge range of local authorities and public bodies. In what must have been the shortest privacy campaign ever around 1600 people sent faxes to their MPs through the FaxYourMP website. The anti-RIP website stand.org.uk which itself only relaunched a couple of weeks ago, led the fax campaign and now says "there are dozens of other bits of legislation hanging about with vast technological idiocies contained within - the RIP Act draft Code of Practices; the EU's Copyright Directive and Data Retention orders; laws against reverse-engineering; software patents and who knows what else". Read Report.
Background, Call and Schnews feature here.
17-06-2002 00:54Jarvis Construction plc, in conjunction with Lancaster University, want to build a new housing complex on a greenfield site to the south of Lancaster University. Part of this will involve a new link road between Green Lane and the A6. The scheme is being rushed ahead to try to forestall local objections and to capitalise on funding before the state's education budget is eaten up. Student representatives oppose the scheme, which is expected to drive up the rents. This cash cow, costing £120m, will be owned by Jarvis under a 35 year lease scheme, and will provide 1750 new residences. Other developments not shown on the plan include an 'Infolab' complex nearby. In addition, under 'Phase 1' there are also plans to pull down existing university buildings and put up a seven storey monster accommodation block. Eventually, 4,000 university residences are expected to be owned and managed by Jarvis. Read the full story: environmental destruction, roads and traffic.
The approach by the (TRC) for Stonehenge looks certain to be rebuffed by farmers and other landowners. It seems the police have been trying to stop such initiatives by warning off farmers and other landowners. This comes on top of the orders for Micheal Eavis not to provide a traveller park-up field for the Glastonbury festival itself.
Meanwhile in Feburary this year Mean Fiddler Music acquired a 20% stake in the Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Arts. This will see the Mean Fiddler receiving 20% of the net profit. In 2000, the event's net profit of around £700,000 was wholly donated to charities such as Water Aid, Greenpeace and Oxfam. The Mean Fiddler's involvement at Glastonbury will be the operational management of the event, incorporating security, crowd control and perimeter fencing. See a Corporatewatch news article.
A group of 4 Kurdish men went on hunger strike in Plymouth on Thursday 6th June because they are still waiting to hear from the Home Office after nearly two years. They want to be treated as asylum seekers. Their applications are in, but have not been processed.The men protesting outside the local immigration offices in Plymouth, they say they have reached breaking point and will continue their protest until someone listens to them. They are prepared to stay there until they die because that is their only hope. They have not heard from their wives or children and say; "we were going to die in our own country anyway".
They were joined by a fifth man on Friday evening.
The protesters have secured use of VW Camper van (donated by local activists) for night shelter - will park outside IND offices from 5.00pm - 8.00am daily, providing protection from the elements (and some of the racist abuse). The Haringey Campaign to Defend Asylum Seekers have sent their support and solidarity to the men on hunger strike.
Amass picket will take place on Sunday, outside Ballard House, West Hoe, Plymouth. Messages of support should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
Kurdish Human Rights Project
In London police arrested around 40 people in connection with an anti-monarchy protest planned for Tower Hill, removing them from the streets and even out of pubs, before detaining some on a double decker bus and then taking them to different police stations. The arrests were apparently to 'prevent a breach of the peace' and were 'intelligence led'.
Reports 1 : 2 : 3 : 4 : 5
A similar pattern was seen in Aberdeen where police followed anti-monarchy campaigners and confiscated their leaflets , while in Hereford an anti-monarchy gig was cancelled on the request of the police. A few days later on the 6th June a group of anarchists were arrested near Alexandra Palace where the queen was visiting, detained in vehicles and driven around until the queen had finished her engagement, before then being released. One campaigner said "It was just like the police stifling the chinese protestors the other year, then there was a huge public outcry, we don't expect one over this, so much for our rights in this country."
Meanwhile the police mounted a large operation to prevent an alternative Jubilee free festival commemorating the 10 year anniversary of the Castlemorton free festival which was widely thought to have triggered the much hated Criminal Justice Act. With helicopters, dogs, and roadblocks over a 5 mile area they failed to stop the Feeling of Life party going ahead on Stert Breach near Bristol. Thousands of people attended the festival which ran for over 4 days.
More evidence that the free party / festival scene is alive and well came from the number of other parties that went ahead in other parts of the country including Bracknall Forest, Norfolk, Mid Wales, Peterborough, the south coast and cornwall. An anti-jubillee graffiti party celebrating the work of artist Banksy went ahead in London on fri 31st may, although the police prevented the sound system from starting and a large mural portraying the queen as chimp complete with crown was whitewashed over early the next morning (report).
Later on the day, at around 3pm a group of activists managed to enter the office block housing the Israeli Tourism Information Office and the offices of El-aal - the Israeli airline - which has been deporting international activists from Palestine and Israel. The word "TERRORISTS" was sprayed on their walls.
By the light of the moon in the early hours of April 25th, protesters moved into a pink castle on one of the two GM sites that besiege Littlemoor near Weymouth.
The pink fortification stands guard over the entrance of the field in which the mutant remains of last years GM maize crop can still be found. The residents hope to stay in the field long enough to prevent Aventis' controversial GM maize from being planted this year.
The protesters intend to defend the field and the castle. There are lock-on's built into structural parts of the two towers and mono-poles have been erected in key positions around the field. The occupation has been going on for over 11 days now and has generated much interest and support. Pink castle website
04-05-2002 02:44Newham teachers, supported by Newham Teachers' Association (NUT), have launched a petition affirming that refugee children are welcome in schools and opposing any moves towards segregated schooling as proposed by the government. The petition condemns the comments made by David Blunkett, the Home Secretary, that refugee children have 'swamped' local schools. The Home Office plans to establish special 'accommodation centres' where asylum seeker children will be educated separately from others in remote areas of the country.
Latest reports from the trial
Yesterday three 'Wombles' - whose trial began on Monday - had their charges dismissed. The remaining four will be presenting their defence today. Read report. The week-long 'show trial' of seven Wombles activists, who were attacked and arrested on Halloween last year, was part of a campaign of intimidation by the MET police.
The TACT website gives more background on the case: "The Halloween seven trial is an attempt to crush a group of people who tried to stand up for themselves in self-defence against the bullies in blue. The Wombles should not have to fight this trial alone - when the State tries to criminalise dissent then WE ARE ALL WOMBLES!" Read this personal report from Monday.
Taking the atmosphere of a traditional 'Mayfayre' celebration, up to 15.000 people celebrated a sunny Mayday 2002 all over downtown London. From Mayfair's exclusive avenues to Soho's red-hot backstreets, crowds thronged the streets and enjoyed themselves in what was described by most as a successful and beautiful day. Carnival, movement and music were the themes of the day.
Critical Mass bike rides started Mayday simultaneously in north and south London, bringing much of the capital's traffic to a halt. Many paused for an impromptu breakfast at Horseferry Road Magistrates Court in solidarity with the Wombles Seven, who are currently subject to a show trial. While the trade union march departed from Clerkenwell at midday, several groups of up to 1,000 Mayday revellers started to move about Mayfair, Oxford Street and Picadilly, many dressed in carnivalesque costumes. By moving continuously people thwarted several attempts by police to cordon them in. Scuffles broke out in the afternoon when police tried to stop several thousand Mayday celebrators from joining the 10,000 strong trade union march at Trafalgar Square, using heavy-handed tactics, but the situation soon calmed down. Meanwhile 2-3000 people played football and others conga-ed down Oxford Street.
Carnival took Soho by storm as the street party called for by the Sex Workers Union began at 5pm. For several hours up to two thousand people danced to the rhythms of a Samba band, moving around in the small backstreets of the downtown neighbourhood. Despite the festive and peaceful atmosphere, riot police started to mass in the area and finally surrounded the samba crowd at 7.30pm, in what was the only Section 60 detention imposed that day. Inside the Section 60 people were baton-charged, had their photos forcibly taken and were only let out individually after several hours. According to the Legal defense and Monitoring Group, 50 people were arrested on the day. LDMG report
Read the full timeline with all London reports.
More Mayday events took place in Glasgow, where everything was 'relaxed and chill', in Leicester, where free cake was given out, in Bristol, 300 cyclists brought the centre to a halt with a lively critical mass - see the report and video on the Bristol.indymedia.org site, and also a small but traditional event in Greenwich.