PROTESTER ARRESTED FOR PLAYING WALTZING MATILDA
21ST AUGUST 2007
Press Contact Andrew Beckett or Chloe Marsh
For more details tel. 07875 708873 or 07754 135290
The police used a local by-law designed to quieten noisy traders and buskers to seize the sound system and arrest Glenn Williams, a fifty year old protester, during the playback of ‘The Band played Waltzing Matilda’ a protest song about the horrors of the First World War.
Campaigners are calling on Brighton and Hove Council to step in and restrict police use of council byelaws. Chloe Marsh said “Sussex Police are manipulating a byelaw to hinder lawful protest. Brighton and Hove Council never intended for this byelaw to restrict freedom of expression. Articles 10 and 11 of the Human Rights Act protect the right to assemble and protest, these cannot be overriden by council byelaws.”
Police have used local byelaws for over a year now against anti-arms trade protesters. Five arrests have been made under them, including three for karaoke singing and one for playing an acoustic guitar, equipment has been seized and a protest camp evicted.
Glenn Williams, who regularly attends protests at EDO said “I've been bailed not to go to Home Farm Road. So I'm devastated that after going to protests almost every week for over four years I now have been arrested and will possibly be jailed just for playing protest songs. Does Brighton Council really want to suppress free speech so much?".
Notes for Journalists
EDO MBM Technologies Ltd are the sole UK subsidiary of huge U.S weapons manufacturer EDO Corp.From their base in Moulescoombe Brighton, EDO MBM manufacture vital parts for the Hellfire and Paveway weapons systems,laserguided missilesused extensively in Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine and Somalia. EDO Corp were recently acquired by ITT in multi-billion pound deal. ITT's links to fascism go back to the 1930s. The founder Sosthenes Behn was the first foreign businessman received by Hitler after his seizure of power.
There has been active campaign against the presence o f EDO MBM in Brighton since the outbreak of the Iraq war.Campaigners include students, Quakers ,Palestine solidarity activists, anti-capitalists and academics. Despite an injunction under the protection of harassment act (which failed) and over forty arrests the campaign is still going strong.Their avowed aim is to expose EDO MBM and their complicity in war crimes and to remove them from Brighton. They hold regular weekly demos outside the Moulescoombe factory on Wednesday's between 4 and 6.
On the Verge is an independent film about the SMASH EDO Campaign
“In 2004 a group of Brighton peace campaigners began to bang pot and pans outside their local arms manufacturers EDO MBM in disgust of their part in the Iraq war. This has grown into the Smash EDO campaign, which has cost the company millions, been the subject of large scale police operations and has tested the right to protest in the UK.Using activist, police and CCTV footage plus interviews with those involved in the campaign, 'On The Verge' tells the story of one of the most persistent and imaginative campaigns to emerge out of the UK's anti-war movement and direct action scene.”