UK Anti-militarism Feature Archive
From December 27th 2008 to January 18th 2009 Israeli bombers pounded Gaza. The Israeli assault was the most violent since the occupation began in 1967. On the eighth day of the attack Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) entered Gaza and remained there for two weeks. Throughout the 22 days of the assault civilians were delierately targeted, hospitals were attacked, schools were bombed and 1417 people were killed, including at least 318 children.
The international Palestine solidarity movement is calling for January 2010, the first anniversary of the massacre, to be a month of solidarity actions in support for the campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel. One such call has come from the Free Gaza movement, whose volunteers broke the siege in order to stand in solidarity with the people of Gaza during the massacre.
On December 27th demonstrations, commemorating the first day of the massacre, were held in Brighton, Sheffield, Liverpool and Birmingham while a thousand strong demonstration was held outside the Israeli embassy in London. Elsewhere Manchester's Target Brimar campaign has called for 22 days of waging peace, incuding several actions against Manchester based arms manufacturer, Brimar, who supply equipment used in Israeli fighter aircraft, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign has called for a week of action, from the 9th to the 17th of January, against supermarkets selling Israeli goods, a mass 'die in' is planned in Trafalgar Square on the 16th and Smash EDO have called for a mass demonstration against EDO MBM/ITT, now ITT Integrated Structures, who supply components for F-15s and F-16s used by the Israeli military.
The Viva Palestina convoy was supposed to arrive in Gaza today, breaking the siege and bringing much needed medicine and rebuilding materials. However, the convoy has not been allowed to enter Egypt and has been in Aqabah, Jordan, since December 25th. On the 27th the convoy members began a hunger strike calling for the Egyptian government to allow them to enter. Activists are also arriving in Egypt to join the Gaza Freedom March, a march from Egypt into Gaza and to the Erez crossing. Freedom marchers have already suffered repression from the Egyptian authorities with dozens arrested (and then released) and a Gaza massacre memorial in Cairo shut down.
Southcoast Indymedia is three and a half years old. Since Southcoast Indy began it has been a place where local activists can report their news. Southcoast has hosted reports on the growth of the Smash EDO campaign [1|2|3|4|5|6|7|8|9|10|11|12|13|14|15|16|17|18], the battle for Titnore Woods [1|2|3|4|5|6|8], battles over freedom to protest in Brighton and Worthing [1|2|3|4], The Gatwick and Calais No Borders camps [1|2|3], Sussex students' struggles, the South East mobilisation for the G8 in Gleneagles, the campaign to free Omar Degahyes and Binyam Mohammed, Guantanamo Bay detainees.
Southcoast Indymedia was set up with the aim of "of providing a readily accessible source of news and information on the Kent, Sussex and Hampshire area of the south of England...We will be extending an invitation to all kinds of community groups and campaigns (well, almost all - racists and fascists are not welcome here!) to use South Coast IMC as their own site, a place where they both post news of their own and catch up with others".
Almost four years on, we would like to renew the creative process that drives Indymedia and relaunch the Southcoast collective; making South Coast Indymedia an ongoing, relevant resource for all activists in the area. With more people involved, we can make South Coast Indymedia a valuable tool for wide variety of campaigns and individuals, with South Coast-relevant features, campaign diary and newswire for announcements and reports of events in the area.
On Sunday 6th December, from 2-3.30pm, at the Cowley Club in Brighton, there will be a workshop to discuss a revamp of Southcoast Indymedia. The session is for anyone who wants to contribute content, tech support, graphic/web design or has any skills or experience to share, etc.
New ideas and general curiosity are very welcome on the day, get involved!
If you are interested contact firstname.lastname@example.org
On Saturday 28th November protests took place in Brighton, Wrexham, Falmouth, Hastings, Tunbridge Wells and Cambridge [Pics] as part of a day of action marking the launch of Smash EDO's'Target Barclays' campaign.On November 30th an action took place in Plymouth.
Smash EDO have been calling for autonomous actions against Barclays Bank to force them to stop providing 'market maker' services for ITT Corporation on the NYSE. Smash EDO's site states 'Bankers and institutional investors are the glue that finances the state terror wreaked by the arms trade. Companies like EDO do not operate in a vacuum but are propped up by the networks of corporations and investors which constitute the global capitalist system which puts profit before peace, greed before people.'
As ITT’s market maker, Barclay’s acts as a ‘middle man’, purchasing shares from a seller and holding them until such a time as a buyer becomes available. This ensures the stability of ITT’s share price by allowing shareholders to sell off their assets at any time, even when a buyer is not immediately available, and vice versa. Barclay’s also profits from this enterprise, by selling ITT’s shares at a small markup, which nevertheless generates a considerable income when spread across large sales. Barclays is also the largest UK investor in the global arms trade.More.
Smash EDO's next big mobilisation is the REMEMBER GAZA SMASH EDO MASS DEMO JANUARY 18TH. Assemble at 1pm, Brighton, wear black.
Protests against the NATO parliamentary assembly in Edinburgh culminated in its the disruption on Tuesday morning [ Summary report ]. Six Trident Ploughshares activists were arrested when blocking the entrance to the Edinburgh Conference Centre. On Saturday, hundreds of protesters, including some NATO delegates, marched to the Edinburgh conference centre under the banner of the Stop the War coalition [ report ], whilst antifascists resisted a SDL rally in Glasgow.
The NATO Welcoming Committee called for action at the opening of the NATO meeting on Friday, but first the group was kettled by police before the protesters individually and spontaneously rallied in front of the assembly's meeting place.
About a week beforehand the access to the G20 finance meeting in St Andrew's was blockaded by five students and later in the day more than a hundred protesters marched to the Fairmont Hotel against the G20's policies.
Meanwhile the direct actions against the opencast coal mining at Mainshill Solidarity Camp continue. [ Report | Weekend of Actions and Workshops | round-up ]
The City of Edinburgh Council has also seen a lot of different grassroots groups campaigning against their policies, such as the privatisation of health and support services [ latest update], a bin workers "work-to-rule strike and overtime ban" [ 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 ], manual workers dispute, parents group resisting the closure of schools, fight against funding cuts for community projects and opposition to the regeneration of the lower part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site [ Save our Old Town ] and the initiative to Save Meadowbank .
The annual remembrance celebrations in Nottingham are traditionally associated with some manufactured controversy or another. This year was no different with the subvertising of a poster featuring Mansfield serviceman by anti-war campaigners.
In Nottingham, campaigners held a march from the city centre to the grounds of the castle where they laid a wreath in memory of the uncounted Afghanis who have died in the present conflict at a memorial to British soldiers killed in an abortive attack on Afghanistan in the 1870s.
National feature: Remembrance conflict
Symbolised by the wearing of a red poppy, every year at this time there is a brief period of remembrance for those who have given life and limb in conflict on the behest of the British state apparatus. Every year that period is itself marred by a war of words between those who see it as a chance to glorify those conflicts under the umbrella of patriotism and those who hope that remembrance might be an opportunity to learn and advance. In previous years the conflict has mostly centered on arguments over whether or not TV personalities and politicians are wearing red poppies predominantly enough, or occasionally over the rights and wrongs of wearing white poppies. The poppy appeal has become effectively sacrosanct with no dissenting views allowed. This year the predictable arguments have broadened as the Legion has 'modernised' it's appeal, adopted an 'Afghanistan Generation' campaign which focuses on the current conflict there.
A week ago reports emerged of poppy appeal billboards being subvertised to call for Tony Blair to be prosecuted for war crimes and for British troops to be bought home. Mainstream media reported outrage and the act was condemned by the Legion. The subvertising spread with reports of sightings in Norwich, Basingstoke, Bristol and London. Not long after, an open letter of apology was issued and reproduced in full or in part in the media. The Legion replied through the media saying it accepted the apology. The Afghanistan occupation has now cost 229 British soldiers lives, and thousands more injured (not to mention the tens of thousands of Afghan civilians killed since the invasion began 8 years ago). In an apparently intolerable act of remembrance, three people held a 229 minute vigil at the Cenotaph in Downing Street but with less than a week now till remembrance day the repression against dissenting voices stepped up a notch and all three were arrested under the controversial SOCPA laws.
Links: 229 Minute Afghanistan Vigil, Cenotaph, London | 3 arrests at 229 Minute Afghanistan Vigil, Cenotaph, London | New rash of subverted poppy appeal billboards across London. | Poppy appeal poster 'vandal' apologises | Support for poppy poster defacement | DIY guide | Subertising hits the big time | Bring 'em Home - first report and photo of poppy poster subvertising | Poppies poem Background: Afghanistan: Dying For OIL…..Unicol Corporation Feeding On Blood!
The decommisioners are six activists on trial for direct action taken against the massacre in Gaza. On January 17th, as the bombs rained on Gaza, they destroyed hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of machinery owned by EDO MBM, preventing the factory from manufacturing bomb racks and arming units for Israeli F16s.
Eight people are currently on bail and one is on remand, currently in Lewes Prison. All are charged with conspiracy to cause criminal damage.
Between the 16th and the 23rd of October, actions were held across the UK and in Palestine in support of the decommissioners. On the 16th, in Manchester, a demonstration was held outside Brimar, a factory making display units for the Israeli Apache helicopter, launching a new campaign. Several of the decommissioning defendants were arrested at the demonstration for breach of bail but later released. On Monday a demonstration was held at Brighton Town Hall calling on Brighton and Hove Council to debate the presence of EDO MBM in Brighton, a petition will be handed in to the council meeting in December. On Wednesday some of the names of those killed during the Gaza massacre were read outside the EDO MBM factory in Brighton. On Thursday two pickets of the Foreign office were held and a petition calling for an end to arms exports to Israel and in support of the decommissioners was handed in. On Friday the Palestinian village of Bil In dedicated its weekly demonstration against the apartheid wall to the decommissioners.
Reports of Target Brimar Demonstration 1 | 2 | Target Brimar Campaign Statement about Arrests of Decommissioners | 3 | SCHnews - It's Brim Up North
Click here to download 'If I had a Hammer', a 32 page booklet explaining why the decommissioning was necessary.
Billboards around the country have been subtly subvertised to display anti-war messages calling for the troops to be brought home and for Tony Blair to be prosecuted. As the imperialist occupation enters its ninth year, a YouGov survey found 62% of the public want British troops pulled out this year and 48% think that victory is impossible. Countless thousands of Afghans have perished and many Western soldiers have gone to Afghanistan, only to come home in body bags.
On Saturday 24th October, thousands of people gathered in central London to protest against the continuing conflict. Organisers, 'Stop The War Coalition', claimed there is growing resentment among the lower ranks who feel locked into a military occupation with no clear justification or exit strategy. Soldiers and their families joined the estimated 5,000 marchers who gathered in Hyde Park.
London March:1 | 2 | 3 | 4
Analysis: The Risks of Regional Conflagration
From the Archives: First Oil and Gas Licensing Round | Die-in for NATO's Victims | Wedding 'Die-In' Protest | Reading the names of the dead |
Anti-militarist activists have begun taking action against Europe's largest Arms Fair, Defence Systems and Equipment International (DSEi), which returns to London's Excel Centre from the 8th to 11th of September.
Actions to date include a mass action launched from Climate Camp against Barclays Bank the largest backer of the global arms trade, attacks on branches of HSBC and RBS, a picket of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Trade Fair, a pixie action against Brighton based arms manufacturers EDO MBM/ITT, and pickets of an Armed Forces recruitment centre and DSEi's new organisers Clarion Events.
A local paper has reported that military staff were drafted in to support the 3000 police who secured the last DSEi, which is held every two years. Policing costs are likely to be even higher this year, as Disarm DSEi has called for the mass action on Tuesday 8th September to take place in the City, where investors and backers of the Arms Trade will be targeted. The action will be a test of post G20 policing strategies. Disarm DSEi which campaigns against the Arms Fair has refused to negotiate with the police. Past actions have been the subject of major repression, and searches and kettles have been used frequently. This year was the first time that the Forward Intelligence Team (FIT) were not photographing people attending the public meeting.Past coverage: 2001 | 2003 | 2005 | 2007
Links: Disarm DSEi | Space Hijackers | Smash EDO | CAAT | London CAAT
There have been accusations of genocide having taken place in Sri Lanka in the last few months. So far this year, it is estimated that over 50,000 Tamils – mainly civilians - have lost their lives in a massive military onslaught by Sinhalese Sri Lankan government forces as the 26-year civil war was brought to a climax with the use of cluster bombs and shelling of civilian areas. Sri Lankan Armed Forces are also alleged to have used chemical weapons.
Over 280,000 displaced civilians are being held in prison camps – where conditions are reported to be dire, with poor sanitation, widespread diseases and a lack of adequate security. Amnesty International has received consistent reports of serious human rights violations, including enforced disappearance, extra-judicial executions and torture and sexual violence, including young girls being abducted from the camps.
Campaigners opposed to nuclear weapons have set up camp opposite the Rolls Royce Factory on Raynesway, Derby. They are demanding that the factory, which produces engines for nuclear submarines, be converted to non-military projects.
This is just the latest in a series of protests at the site, organised by various organisations. There have been a number of large demonstrations at the site and various attempts to disrupt work there. In April last year, ten activists were arrested after a blockade of the facility. In October, eight were acquitted.
Newswire: Raynesway Peace Camp | activist groups in derby need support on different projects | Peace camp raynesway derby anti nuclear against trident | New protest camp at Rolls Royce Raynesway, Derby
Brighton's Mayday! Mayday! street party saw 2,000 people from all over the country gathered to protest against capitalism, war and the arms trade. It was called by Smash EDO, the movement that has been campaigning against the EDO MBM/ITT bomb component factory in Brighton for the last 5 years.
On the newswire: Mayday Mayday, Smashing EDO in pictures | Anti-War Clashes With Police | FIT shut Down in Brighton | Pics of Cops at Mayday | Businesses linked to ITT redecorated | HSBC Smashed | Photos | Video of the Day | Photos of FIT and EGT at Mayday | More Pics | Pictures and Video | Last Hours Pics | NETCU Watch Critique of the Day | Smash EDO claim Brighton demo a success (pressrelease)
Smash EDO's Mayday! Mayday! Street Party on 4th May looks set to be the next stop on the summer of rage. The mobilisation has been linked firmly to a new wave of resistance against global capital. A map has been published showing the location of EDO's key investors and business partners in Brighton. The list includes highstreet banks, BP, American Express and Mcdonalds. The message is clear, EDO cannot operate in a vacuum; it is propped up by the state and a network of global corporations.
Despite all this the police seem to be firmly on the back foot after the media backlash, triggered, by the killing of Ian Tomlinson, against police violence and repression at the G20. Sussex Police have been told to 'behave' by Chief Constable Richards who fears that “People’s confidence in policing has been shaken by things they have seen on their TVs and read in their newspapers". All this must be rather difficult for Sussex police as they have been gearing up for some serious repression of Smash EDO for quite sometime. Dick Barton, a Sussex Police officer seconded to the Home Office who was responsible for training Iraqi police recruits in Basra and Baghdad, has been given the dubious honour of coordinating investigations of 'crimes against EDO'. Past police tactics have included following 'organisers', supporting a dodgy injunction, engaging in ridiculous conspiracy cases, attempting to cultivate informers and attacking mass demonstrations
Spontaneous protests have erupted in London as a result of the ongoing state violence in Sri Lanka. On Monday, over 300 Tamil youths blockaded Westminster Bridge, which remained closed overnight. On Tuesday and Wednesday large numbers gathered outside parliament and had reached at its peak up to 3000 to call on Gordon Brown to 'open his eyes' and work towards securing an immediate ceasefire in Sri Lanka. Under the banner 'Stop the genocide of Tamils in Sri Lanka' over 150.000 people marched in Central London on Saturday 11th April. Further demonstrations happened in Oslo, Paris and Copenhagen. Reports:   [photos 1] [photos 2] [video]
Earlier on in the week police tactics were violent, with unprovoked attacks on demonstrators. On Wednesday morning Tamil flags were being confiscated under the Terrorism act. Demonstrators reported that police used truncheons and dragged protesters across the ground. A three-year-old's leg was reportedly broken in the process. Seven people have been arrested, two under the terrorism act on suspicion of carrying articles supporting proscribed literature. Two people started a hunger strike earlier in the week, of which one was still fasting on Saturday 11th April.
More than 300,000 Tamils are currently under siege by the Sri Lankan forces. Aerial bombardments and shelling of civilians are continuing. Children and elderly are dying as a direct result of the aerial bombardment. There has been increased violence in Sri Lanka following the capture of Tamil territory. It is estimated more than 70,000 people have already died in the conflict.
On the newswire: Fast unto last breathe (day 13) | Video of the Tamil protests | Massive Tamil Protest Against Sri Lankan Genocide | Tamil Hunger Strike, London - pictures (day 6) | Stop the Genocide in Sril Lanka Protest - London April 11 2009 | Tamil protest (day 6) | Tamil Demo in Central London | Emergency Protest In London 11th April Please Come | Supporting the Tamil protests, SOCPA arrest | parliment square still going strong (day 4) | Tamil Protest in Parliament Square: Students on Hunger Strike to the Death (day 4) | Tamil protest still going strong / 8th April 3pm (day 3) | Tamils protest against chemical attacks | Tamil protest amid more police violence (day 3) | A lively night in Parliament Square (day 2) | Tamil protest still going strong /continues (day 2) | Tamil Protest still going strong | Tamil Protest on Westminster Bridge (day 1) | Sri Lanka: Killings, Concentration Camps and International Silence | Students on Hunger Strike | Tamilgotcha! Westminster Bridge occupied for 3 hours - Sat 31st Jan
Last month, some members of the 'Notts Shut Down Heckler & Koch Campaign' travelled to Germany. Together with German Peace Groups, we wished to pre-empt the company’s 60th birthday celebrations.
Here in Nottingham, the campaign holds regular monthly demonstrations outside their offices at Easter Park, Lenton Lane, Nottingham NG7 PX. These will continue with a picket on Tuesday April 14th and a special campaign anniversary demo on Monday May 11th [with a mystery guest!]. Heckler & Koch's UK office is NSAF Ltd, Unit 3, Easter Park, Lenton Lane, Nottingham NG7 2PX. Map | Google 'Street View'.
Newswire: Demos continue at Heckler & Koch weapons HQ: [July 2007] | [May 2008] | Surveillance at H&K HQ [May 2008] | [July 2008] | Pix 1 [Oct 2008] | Pix 2 [Oct 2008] | Surveillance at H&K HQ [Nov 2008] | Full Circle: From weapons to wars to refugees. Market Sq. Nottingham [Dec 2008] | [Dec 2008] | [Jan 2009] | German Indymedia: Weitere Proteste gegen Heckler & Koch | Demo about H&K weapons activities, Market Square [Jan 2009] | [Feb 2009] | Nottingham Campaigners to Visit Germany German Trip: Nottingham Campaigners to Visit Germany, press release in PDF | 1 Freiburg Peace Group | 2 Rottweil Peace Meeting | 3 Oberndorf Demo | 4 Oberndorf Demo | 5 KTS Social Centre Freiburg | 6 Misc pictures of German visitPrevious Feature: Protesters Target Nottingham Weapons Manufacturers
Links: Notts Shut Down Heckler & Koch Campaign | Notts Anti-Militarism | Nottingham Stop The War | Nottingham Student Peace Movement | RüstungsInformationsBüro RIB | Ohne Rüstung Leben | Deutsche Friedensgesellschaft - Vereinigte KriegsdienstgegnerInnen DFG-VK | Notts Indymedia (anti-militarism) Audio: H&K German Mission [Speech at Rottweil] Flyer: Poster / Flyer PDF of H&K leaflet
On Friday 14 February a group from Brighton joined an aid Convoy consisting of 100 vehicles bringing much-needed aid and solidarity to the people of Gaza. The vehicles include a fire engine, 12 ambulances & a boat; they will all be left as donations on arrival in Gaza.
The aim of the Convoy is to provide essential daily-life commodities to the people of Gaza, as well as raising awareness of the plight of the Palestinians throughout the countries the Convoy will be travelling through.
Nine men who were heading to London to join the convoy were illegally arrested by police in an "anti-terror" operation" . Some of their group are now heading toward Gaza after being released. The convoy has travelled through Tunisia , Morocco , Algeria and Libya .
The aim of the Convoy is to provide essential daily-life commodities to the people of Gaza, as well as raising awareness of the plight throughout the countries the Convoy will be travelling through (France, Spain, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia & Egypt),taking 17 days.
Links: Viva Palestina , Brighton and Hove Palestine Solidarity Campiagn
This week activists have responded to an international callout for actions against the import of Valentine's day flowers.
On Saturday activists gathered at Carmel-Agrexco, Middlesex, to picket the main supply point for Israeli imports into the UK.
See Photos And Reports 1| 2| 3|and original press release On Thursday morning a group of fifteen women blockaded the warehouse again to prevent the transport of flowers to British supermarkets Links : Boycott Israeli Goods Campaign | Palestine Solidarity Campaign | Who Profits |
Previous Actions: Carmel Agrexco's Depot Shut Down in Commemoration of the Nakba | Fortress Carmel Agrexco breached by Peace Activists | Video - Carmel Agrexco protest during Camp for Climate Action | Weekend of Action Against Carmel Agrexco | Activists Blockade Carmel-Agrexco's UK Headquarters for the Third Time | International Actions against Israeli Apartheid| Solidarity Actions in the West Bank, Gaza and the UK
Since 9pm on Wednesday a group of students has been occupying a room at the University of Nottingham in solidarity with the people of Gaza. The students have published a list of demands that include that the university of Nottingham cut its financial ties with the arms industry, that 'academic' aid be sent to Gaza, and that there be no repercussions for those involved in the occupation.
Professor Noam Chomsky has sent the students a message of support stating that he was "very pleased to learn about your courageous and honorable actions, particularly significant because of the crucial British contribution to the savage onslaught on Gaza... I hope you have the greatest success in arousing public opinion and bringing these monstrous crimes to an end."
Update 01/02/09: The occupation has been violently evicted by university security. At around 6pm around 10 security staff used force to remove the occupants into the snow outside. Students were made to wait in the cold whilst they went in one by one to pick up belongings. They were also forced to give ID in order to be allowed entry.
National Feature: Over a dozen university occupations for Palestine
Newswire: Nottingham University Students Occupation in Solidarity with Gaza 1 | 2 | Minipodcast from the third night of the occupation at Nottingham Uni | Petition to support Occupation Nottingham | Riseup Radio Report on day one of the Occupation of Nottingham University | Breaking News: Student Occupation at Nottingham University