On 25th March, Smash Edo, Bombs out of Brighton and 14 individuals were issued with intended injunctions under the 1997 Harassment Act, to be heard in the High Court on April 14th.
The law was first introduced to protect people from stalkers but was then used against anti-vivisection groups.. This is the first time it has been used against an anti-war or anti-arms trade group.
“SmashEdo” aims to shut down EDO MBM using awareness-raising and Non-Violent Direct Action tactics.”
If the injunction were granted it would limit demonstrations to no more than ten people for two and a half hours on a Thursday afternoon. Other prohibitions would include the banning of musical instruments/amplified sound, and protest camps within 3 miles of Edo’s factory or any of the employees’ homes. These terms are very similar to those on injunctions against animal rights campaigns, and the now defunct Stop Bayer Campaign.
If granted on the terms requested by injunction specialists Solicitors Lawson-Cruttenden it will represent a further twisting of the law’s originally stated purpose. One of the reasons that companies and the police use civil, rather than criminal law is that the burden of proof necessary to get an “interim” injunction is very low. In the case of this particular campaign there have only been a handful of convictions relating to minor public order offences (Obstruct highway/Aggravated Trespass).
The campaigns tactics have included: a visit by a Citizens Inspections Agency (CIA) team, weekly noise demos, Letter writing,a peace camp, Silent Vigils, demos in town A phone blockade,and a roof-top demo.
Other repression connected with the EDO campaign has included Solicitors threatening UK IMC with legal action and a campaigner who downloaded publicly available information from the Company House Website having his house raided and arrested by Sussex police.
Even without the injunction Sussex Police have used their powers to declare assemblies of two or more people subject to conditions.