UK Anti-militarism Feature Archive
In London, over 300 people followed a call by Amnesty International to protest [Photos 1 and 2 | Videos 1 and 2 | Slide show] and to stage a vigil outside the US embassy. A break away group of protestors later targeted the arms manufacturers company Lockheed-Martin for profiteering from Guantanamo Bay [Video]. Another vigil [Photos] by London and Oxford Catholic Worker communities took place in solidarity with 90 anti-Guantanamo US activists that were arrested in an occupation of the U.S. Federal Court House in Washington DC [Report | Photos] A further candle-lit vigil was set outside Downing Street [Video]
In Birmingham around 80 people gathered in front of Hiatt, a UK company that makes shackles and other torture equipment used by the US military in Guantanamo Bay over the last five years [Report and Photos]. In Edinburgh there was a protest outside the US Consulate, and a meeting in the Scottish Parliament [Report and Photos]
To read more about facts and the mistreatment of prisoners in Guantanamo click at the Full Article link above.
The Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 (SOCPA) is a major piece of legislation, which established the Serious Organised Crime Agency, an FBI-like agency to tackle "serious organised crime", as it says on the box.
People-trafficking, drug wholesaling, violent armed robbery, torture, extortion and murder, is the kind of thing that might spring to mind. The bill, however, was used as an opportunity to deal with issues that might not be considered so serious. It introduced us to ASBOs, for example; outlawed animal activists' "interference with contractual arrangements" and, most pertinently, the right to protest in designated areas without prior permission.
Below is a comprehensive 'diary', put together by IMC UK activists, of events related to SOCPA since it came into force on 1 August, 2005. See also the SOCPA topic page for full coverage.
Campaigners have won a massive legal battle after they proved that the police violated their rights to protest when around 120 peace protestors were prevented from reaching USAF/RAF Fairford on the 22nd of March 2003. Three coaches full of protesters were first stopped and searched, then forcibly returned to London under police escort. At the start of the war with Iraq, Fairford airbase in Gloucestershire (and the B-52 bomber planes that were flying from it) had become a focus for anti-war protest and direct action.
The High Court and Court of Appeal had already ruled that the police acted unlawfully in detaining protesters on the coaches. But on Wednesday 13th Dec, in a judgement that has implications beyond the Fairford case, Law Lords ruled that the police also violated the right to freedom of expression and lawful assembly. See campaign Press Release.
Original coverage on Indymedia UK: Pics 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | Reports: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | Video: 1 | 2
July 03: Civil Liberties and Anti-war Protest Policing | Aug 03: Judicial Review Granted | Feb 04: High Court Victory [ruling] | Dec 04: Court of Appeal Outcome [ruling]
The reinvigoration of anti-militarism campaigns, with a renewed focus on direct and confrontational actions, continued this week as the first in a series of open public meetings were held in London and New York, building on calls (UK | US) to mark the fourth anniversary of the start of the war on Iraq (Monday, 19th March, 2007) with a "Global Day of Action for Iraq and Beyond".
In reaction to this, the Stop the War Coalition has called for Tuesday, 20th March 2007, to be "National Troops Out Day", with an afternoon demonstration in Central London ending with a mass die-in and Troops Out rally in Parliament Square, in place of their now traditional Embankment-to-Hyde Park march. Despite this nod to civil disobedience, past events suggest everything will be tightly stage-managed and agreed with the police in advance (reports: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4).
Campaigns advocating and organising anti-militarist action include: Block the Builders | Campaign Against the Arms Trade | Counter Recruitment UK | Iraq Occupation Focus | Smash EDO | State of Emergency | Stop Arming Israel
For the second time this year [previous action], Palestine Solidarity activists blockaded Israeli company Carmel Agrexco's UK headquarters in Hayes, Middlesex, in the early morning of 26 Nov 2006 [press release]. The action was part of an ongoing non-violent protest against recurrent breaches of human rights and international law in the occupied territories of Palestine and to highlight Agrexco's illegal activity in court.
The blockaders braved torrential rain for nearly 6 hours, completely stopping all deliveries to and from the depot. A structure was erected from metal fence panels, blocking Agrexco's main gate. Two activists were locked onto the company's vehicle access gate, inside the company grounds, while another two secured the second gate.
Once again, Agrexco made a decision not to prosecute the blocaders for fear of the negative publicity another court case could generate [see previous trial].
Read: Text of letter to Carmel-Agrexco | Report on Carmel's involvement in the Jordan Valley | War on Want's report: Profiting from the Occupation | previous actions: 1 | 2
On Wednesday around 50 protesters including the rhythms of resistance samba band turned out to 'greet' Mike Baunton, the Vice President of Caterpillar, who was due to speak at the Institute of Mechanical Engineers' Annual Dinner. The function was held in the ballroom of the Grosvenor House Hotel.Caterpillar hold the sole contract for the supply of military D9 bulldozers to the Israeli army. Caterpillar machines are used to destroy Palestinian homes in acts of collective punishment, build checkpoints and roadblocks to restrict civilian movement, build illegal Israeli colonies on Palestinian lands, destroy Palestinian olive trees and agricultural land, build the illegal annexation wall and murder civilians.
28th and 29th October saw a weekend of Nonviolent Resistance in London against the Occupation of Iraq on the 2nd anniversary of the US/UK massacre in Fallujah culminating in an unprecedented 'unauthorized' Peace Camp in Parliament Square defying the SOCPA.
Personal Accounts:here and here and Rikki’s Report
'William Bradley Roland, also known as Brad Will, 36, a documentary filmmaker and reporter for Indymedia New York in Mexico, Bolivia and Brazil, died today of a gunshot to the chest when pro-government attackers opened fire on a barricade in the neighborhood of Santa Lucia El Camino, on the outskirts of Oaxaca, Mexico. He died with his video camera in his hands.' (source: Narconews) Read NYC-Indymedia statement and a Call to all independent journalists to support the struggle in Oaxaca.
Brad had been in Oaxaca taking video and reporting on the state wide popular uprising and teacher strike that began in June with the violent attempted removal of the striking teachers from their encampment in the centre of Oaxaca City by federal police forces. 3 others were also killed alongside him (making 4 dead in total); 1 member of Radio Universidad was also injured: he was taken to the hospital in a volkswagen van as police would not let any ambulances come.
Since the beginning of the strike in June, teachers and other groups have formed the APPO - the Popular Assembly of the Oaxacan People - and have called for the removal of the governor of state Ulises Ruiz of the PRI. There is a long history of Mexico using government sponsored paramilitaries to repress social movements, including a massacre of hundreds of students in Mexico City in 1968. As reports of protesters surrounded by armed government forces and police continue to pour in, activists in cities around the world are planning protests at Mexican embassies and in cyberspace in outcry against the violent aggression against the people of Oaxaca.
If the 'war on terror' were really about stopping terror, then you would have thought that, when the largest ever haul of bomb-making chemicals, rocket launchers and a nuclear biological suit were found by police at a house in Lancashire, the suspect would be interned for 90 days, the story would make headlines for days, and they would be assumed to be guilty. Well, that's what you would expect if the suspects were Muslims.
But in this case, they are white nationalists; one of the two was the BNP candidate for the Vivary Bridge ward of Colne last May. So the police assumed he was innocent: "He's not a terrorist and it's not a bomb factory", Superintendent Neil Smith said, reassuring residents. He has been charged under the Explosives Substances Act 1883 and remanded in custody, and is due to appear in Burnley Crown Court on October 23rd. The second suspect was released without charge.
As the Lebanese people are reeling from Israel's illegal bombing campaign, and the people of the West Bank and Gaza are suffering a continuous onslaught by the Israeli military, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) and the Boycott Israeli Goods Campaign (BIG) activists joined a nationwide Boycott Day of Action against Israel on 7 October, 2006. A similar day of action was organised on 24 June, 2006, and a further day of action was held by the Irish Palestine Solidarity Campaign.
During the day of action, pickets and demonstrations took place at stores selling Israeli products across the UK. Concerned individuals took part in creative actions to persuade the public not to buy Israeli goods and demand that retailers do not stock them. Pickets, street theatre and demonstrations took place in Bradford, Camden, Whitechapel, Hackney, Brighton, East London, Oxford, Slough, Cambridge, Halifax, Exeter, Brent, Cardiff, Reading and Leeds.
The actions today were part of a concerted campaign calling for boycott, divestment and sanctions against apartheid Israel. Prevous actions and campaigns include:
Agrexco: Blockade of Israeli Company Carmel-Agrexco | Corporate Complicity in the Ethnic Cleansing of the Jordan Valley | Letting Apartheid Bloom | The Uxbridge Seven: Day One | Day Two | Seven Blockaders Acquitted
Caterpillar: Caterpillar Manchester Protest 2005 | Anniversary of Rachel Corries' Death | Film: Caterkiller Shut Down | Anti Caterpillar Motorcade | Rhythms of Resistance Anti Cat Shoes Protest | Caterpillar Trade Fair Action | Caterkiller Awarded Housewrecker of the Year | ESF Florence Action
Supermarket protests: Boycott Van | Marks and Spencers Stencilled | Repression of M&S Protesters
Academic boycott: AUT Boycott | NAFTHE Boycott | CUPE Ontario | COSATU (South Africa).
The trial of two Oxford peace activists who attempted to disarm B52 bombers on their way to Iraq is taking place all this week. Toby Olditch and Phil Pritchard went into Fairford airbase just two days before the planes were used, hoping to disable the bombers and thus save civilian lives in Iraq and inspire others to action.
They were arrested before reaching the planes but have gone on to fight a high-profile legal battle, using their case to challenge the legality of the war and raise awareness. The upshot of this has been that various courts, up to and including the House of Lords, spinelessly (but predictably) refusing to allow arguments about the legality of the war. The legal argument for the trial now focuses on Phil and Toby's reasonable belief that they were acting to prevent war crimes.
Support at court is very welcome during the trial, either to come inside or with banners etc outside; Bristol Crown Court is on Small Street, off Corn Street, in Bristol town centre. Check the trial blog for the latest updates.
Margaret Jones and Paul Milling's trial for a similiar action resulted in a hung jury recently and they are awaiting a re-trial.
Meanwhile a Peace Picnic takes place this Saturday 7th October at RAF Croughton, a local US/UK spybase.
B52two trial blog | B52two homepage | trial report | press release
"We think it's because it's the Labour conference and they don't want us going and voicing our opinions" Rose Gentle, Military Families Against the War
"They have got every right to protest, and I think we will find they will protest. Whoever is responsible for this are idiots." Walter Wolfgang
A protest group is planning to defy a ban on setting up a peace camp in Albert Square imposed on them by Manchester City Council. Military Families Against the War - an organization of relatives to members of the Armed Services opposed to the war in Iraq - will be pitching camp outside the town hall in the run up to the Labour Party Conference. Come Saturday the camp will be joined by thousands of people protesting against the continuing military occupation of Iraq and British foreign policy in the Middle East.
The Council claim the ban is in place for 'logistical' and 'health and safety' reasons, a claim that is strongly disputed by MFAW, who say the council is merely doing the bidding of the Labour Party. A further claim that there were 'security issues' with the camp have been denied by GM Police.
The conference is set to meet a high level of dissent this September. Aside from the peace camp a march and rally has been called by the Stop the War Coalition on Saturday 23rd which will include an anarchist block. Also on the menu, welfare rights group, Coalition Against the Welfare Reform Bill, are planning a demonstration and lobby on Monday 25th in reaction to the punitive approach towards disabled welfare claimants outlined in the bill.
A number of Palestine Solidarity activists blocaded the UK headquarters of Israeli company Carmel-Agrexco for over 11 hours on 30 August, 2006, to gain ruling on the legality of trading with Israeli settlements [see report]. The purpose of the protest was to expose an Israeli company that is engaging in continuous unlawful and brutal activity by importing fresh produce originating from illegal Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Carmel-Agrexco, however, chose to withstand the disruption and not have the blockaders charged with 'aggravated trespass'. At the end of the day only one activist was arrested and subsequently de-arrested.
The method of protest was to construct two large metal triangular cages at each entrance. Protestors secured their necks to the cages by using bicycle D-Locks, with several supporters close at hand. One cage served to totally shut down the exit, and the other caused major disruption at the entrance.
Read: Text of letter to Carmel-Agrexco | Press release from previous trial | Report on Carmel's involvement in the Jordan Valley | War on Want's report: Profiting from the Occupation | previous actions: 1 | 2
While the recently agreed-on 'ceasefire' between Isael and Hizbullah is being portrayed in most of the mainstream media coverage as an end to the 'crisis', the catastrophic cosequences of the hostilities, which lasted for over a month, go underreported. And while fighting on a much smaller scale conitnues, hundreds of thousands of displaced Lebanese are making their way back, many to find their homes destroyed by Israeli bombs.
In a flagrant breach of the ceasefire, Israeli warplanes and helicopters launched fresh raids in eastern Lebanon on 19th August.
According to official figures, some 1,130 people have been slaughtered (30% of them children), 3,600 injured (40% of them children) and about a million displaced. Omar Nachabe has reported 1,700 confirmed dead so far, over 3,000 injured. Israeli strikes on Lebanon have destroyed much of the country's infrastructure, including Beirut airport, ports, bridges and roads, residential buildings, factories, mobile telephone and television stations, fuel containers and service stations and even medical and relief trucks.
Meanwhile, Israel is still denying NGOs like Medecins sans Frontieres and the Red Cross a safe passage. On 15 August, an activist aid convoy was stopped by the Lebanese National Security Guards while trying to reach the South, as the area is still declared unsafe.
Ongoing coverage: Lebanon War 2006 - topic page
Upcoming: Sack Parliament, Stop their wars | 9th of October, Houses of Parliament
Previous features: The realm of the real - photography from Lebanon | Mass Demo Against Israeli Attacks | Worldwide Protests Against Israeli Aggression | War in the Middle East While the World is Watching
Links: IMC Beirut | IMC Israel | IMC Cyprus | International Middle East Media Centre | Palestine News Network | Electronic Intifada | Electronic Lebanon | Palestine Blogs | Lebanon Updates | Civilian Resistance in Lebanon | Tadamon | Wikipedia: the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict
In the last few weeks, an increasing number of horrible, very upsetting photos of the massacres committed by Israel have been coming out of Lebanon. The alternative media are doing everything possible to break the censorship of images that was enforced by the Corporate and authoritarian State media which only show a sanitized war, disinfected images of material destruction. The smuggling and widespread dissemination of images from 'the realm of the real' that are coming out of Lebanon and Gaza now make all of us uncomfortable. For those of us who do editing and publishing work, they bring up the awful worry of "is this appropriate?" (source: Cyprus Indymedia)
Photographer Guy Smallman has been reporting from Lebanon since early this week. His photo reports show the harsh reality of war and a growing refugee crisis. New York Indymedia photographer Andrew Stern published photos taken after the bombing of two residential buildings in the town of Chiah, near Beirut on August 8th. The Cyprus Indymedia has been reporting constantly on the conflict since it started mid-July. Their website contains numerous (photo) reports on conflict, struggle and solidarity.
Photo reports by Guy Smallman:
- Kofi Annan is Welcomed to Dhayiya. Monday - August 28th
- Art against war in Lebanon. Friday - August 25th
- Bent Jbeil, South Lebanon. Sunday - Aug 27th
- The enviromental cost of Israel's lunacy - August 24th
- Evidence that Israel has in fact struck military targets - Wed 23rd Aug
- Israel’s ‘special’ forces in spectacular cock up - Sun 20th Aug
- Baalbek, Capital of the Bekka Valley - Sun 20th Aug
- Ali el-Nahri Remember Their Dead - Sat 19th Aug
- The Destroyed Factory - Sat 19th Aug
- Dhayiya, Lebanon - Fri 18th Aug
- The Battle of Aita Al-Shabb - Thurs 17th Aug
- The Unexploded Bombs of Jbah - Wed 16th Aug
- Lebanon - Driving South - Wed 16th Aug
- Refugees Return to South Beirut - Mon 14th Aug
- South Beirut and Palistinian Refugee Camp Bombed - Sun 13th Aug
- Activist aid convoy stopped by Lebanese National Security Guards - Sat 12th Aug
- Lebanese Hospitals Under Threat From Fuel Crisis - Thurs 10th Aug
- Martyrs Square Vigil, Lebanon - Wed 9th Aug
- Dhayiya. Attacked Again - Wed 9th Aug
- Activists Help Lebanese Refugee Kids - Tues 8th Aug
- Beirut Flyposting
- Demos Banned for Arab League Ministers Meeting - Mon 7th Aug
- Sanayaa Park Refugee Centre, Lebanon - Sun August 6th
- Lebanon's Increasing Refugee Crisis - Sun 6th Aug
- South Beirut After a Night of Bombing - Sat Aug 5th
- Driving Into Lebanon - Friday August 4th
Other photo reports: Photo Essay from Lebanon | Photo Essay from Lebanon - 2 | Indymedia Photography from Lebanon | Civil Defense members removing corpses from Marwahin, Lebanon | Lebanon: Day 8 ~ While the world is turning its back and closing its eyes | Bomb Number Five, Salaam | Lebanon: Full Color Pictures of the Atrocities
61 years ago on 6th August 1945 the first nuclear bomb, "Little Boy", a uranium bomb, was dropped on a civilian target, the city of Hiroshima in Japan, 3 days later on 9th August "Fat Man", a plutonium bomb, was dropped on the city of Nagasaki. These Americian acts of genocide, which killed as many as 210,000 people, were unnecessary and were designed "to kick-start the Cold War rather than end the Second World War".
CND (Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament) in the UK have shown that 59% opposes the replacement of Trident, Britian's submarine-launched nuclear ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missiles) system. On Friday 5th August protestors handed in 53,000 signatures on a petition to 10 Downing Street calling on the government not to replace Trident or develop any new nuclear weapons system. On Tuesday 2nd August two peace activists were arrested after painting "Trident is Terrorism" outside Faslane naval base. In October Faslane 365 begins — a year-long continuous peaceful blockade at Britain’s Trident nuclear weapons submarine base.
Protests against nuclear weapons are expected to take place around the world, 80 protests have been organised across the USA: To mark the 61st anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, rallies, vigils, teach-ins, and nonviolent protests will be held in more than 60 cities in 24 states across the country to demand an end to nuclear weapons and wars. Antiwar, nuclear abolition and indigenous rights groups are focusing on facilities run by the Bechtel Corporation, one of the world's leading nuclear weapons contractors, war profiteers, and violators of indigenous rights. Activities will take place under the banner: From Hiroshima to Yucca Mountain to the Middle East: No Nukes! No Wars! End War Profiteering! Support Indigenous Rights!
Protests are also expected in Perth and across Europe.
Links: CND | Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space | Nuking Iran is not off the table | Calculating the risk of war in Iran | The Hiroshima Myth | Wikipedia: Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
The Israeli wars of aggression in Lebanon and Gaza have been now been going on for almost four weeks and there have been three protests against it in Cambridge. On Friday (28th July), there was a small meeting in The Market Square, which was attended by about 30 people, followed by a larger demo on saturday (150-200 people). [report] Other activists conducted leaflet drops in the Grafton Centre and from Great St Marys Church (leaflet). On Sunday there was a vigil for the victims of Hiroshima [report].
Also in the region, it was revealed that US bombs bound for Israel have passed through Suffolk and Norwich people called for a ceasefire
Israel has been targetting civilians, journalists, the UN and ambulances using cluster bombs, depleted uranium munitions, bunker busters via Scotland and a catalogue of other illegal weapons. The USA is the main source of Israeli weapons.
The Israeli war of agression against Lebanon has now been going on for almost four weeks and there have been two protests against it in Sheffield, the first one was held on 22nd July and it involved a spontaneous march around the city cente in a downpour and the second was held on 2nd August, it involved a five-minute sit down protest in Pinstone Street and a speech from Jews against Zionism. On 5th August many people from Sheffield attended the London demo against Israeli attacks.
Israel has been targetting civilians, journalists, the UN and ambulances using cluster bombs, depleted uranium munitions, bunker busters flown in via Scotland and a catalogue of other illegal weapons, the USA is the main source of Israeli weapons. According to UNICEF: "Thirty per cent of those who have died are children and 45 per cent of those who are displaced are children".
The capture of two Israeli soliders, which has been used by Israel to justify the attack on Hizballah, has been shown to be a pretext: "Israel's assaults on the Occupied Territories and Lebanon were planned well in advance with the full knowledge and approval of the US." The Israeli government was given the green light to attack Lebanon by the United States and the other states attending the G8 in Russia. The US-Israeli goal for Lebanon appears to be, as a minimum, regime change or worse, total annihilation, as with the wars in Iraq and Afganistain the role of oil appears to be key. Wider Middle East war was predicted at the end of June and the unfolding events appears to be part of an imperialist carve up of the Middle East.
One response, from a branch of the CNT in France has been to say: "Just as we firmly denounce this military escalation, calling for an immediate cease-fire, and an end to the bombings, and withdrawal of Israeli troops from Lebanon and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, we believe, as internationalist workers, that one of our urgent tasks is to support the development of a third camp - the camp of the workers - in the Middle East, at one and the same time against imperialist domination and against Islamist oppression."
Thousands marched in London on 5th August, 2006, to protest against Israel's attacks on Lebanon. Starting at Speakers Corner in Hyde Park, the march went via the US Embassy and Downing Street to Parliament Square. The demands of the march were for an unconditional ceasefire, to stop Israel's attacks on Lebanon and Gaza and to end Tony Blair's support for Bush's wars. The demonstration follows 30,000 people demonstrating in London two weeks ago and many smaller protests around the country.
In front of the US Embassy: "territorial support group police suddenly flooded the road and formed an arbritary barrier in the middle of the crowd. They then began pushing forward, shoving and occasionally hitting people in a pointless show of thuggery. There were several arrests and then they were suddenly recalled and the march returned to peace."
Outside Downing Street: "Hundreds of empty tiny children's shoes symbolising the outrageous number of child casualties were piled up there which made a very poignant display."
The Rhythms of Resistance samba band staged a die-in opposite Downing Street: "Others gradually joined the sit-down, although stop the war coalition stewards were urging the passing crowd to not join in, and police quickly surrounded the sitting protestors. After some twenty minutes, the samba band moved on, but some activists tried to use pipes to lock on on the ground, and were viciously arrested by police before they managed". 7 Anti war activists were arrested outside Downing St
At Parliament Square there were speaches including one from Bruce Kent, "The other day, I was in Downing Street, handing in a petition against replacing Trident, and I thought how wonderful it had been if I had taken in a warrant from the International Criminal Court, and I was offering it to Mr Blair and a policeman would arrest him. That’s a dream that will come one day. This is a war crime.”
The policing of the demonstration was heavy handed and reflects the slide towards fascism.
Tens of thousands throughout the world took to the street on Saturday, July 22nd, to protest against the ongoing Israeli war on Lebanon and Palestine. For the past 12 days and nights, Israeli air forces have destroyed countless civilian buildings and means of transportation in operations that have killed more 400 people, mostly civilians, and wrecked havoc on Lebanese cities, harbours, airports and other infrastructure, leading to the displacement of more than half a million people. The International Day of Action had been called by various anti-war and solidarity campaigns.