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UK Anti-militarism Feature Archive

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Successful Samba Protest In Camden Market

10-11-2003 18:00

more samba rhythms

A co-ordinated protest in London's Camden Market scored a victory against Caterpillar, the company that supplies the Israeli army with bulldozers and tanks. Rhythms of Resistance were joined by members of the Sheffield Samba Band in this protest. At the same time, various groups including the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign and the International Solidarity Movement took over Camden High Street with several banners, some of which where designed to represent the (in)famous wall Israel is building inside the West Bank. [Pics 1|2]. A street theatre performance also recreated an Israeli checkpoint in the middle of one of the busiest street markets in London [Photo]

The protesters approached the manager of the chain of shoe shops Future Designs explaining the issues relating Caterpillar with the violent Israeli occupation of Palestine. He said that until today's demonstration, he was unaware of the connection between Caterpillar and the repression in Palestine. He then thanked the demonstrators and promised to remove all Caterpillar stock as well as writing to the company to explain his decision. At a time when millions were ignored over the War on Iraq, today's small action showed how effective direct action can be.

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Guatemalan Elections Update

09-11-2003 22:27

Elections have just been held in Guatemala. Polling in the number 3 spot is former dictator Gen. Efrain Ríos Montt who came to power after a coup in 1982. Analysis and results, with links and video from Guatemala in Spanish and English.

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Inspection Teams Move in on Birmingham University

08-11-2003 12:22

weapons inspectors

In response to growing concerns that Birmingham University has become a fertile recruitment ground for arms dealers and their supporters in the oil trade, B*U*S*T the War and People & Planet were today forced to investigate.

In response to growing concerns that Birmingham University has become a fertile recruitment ground for arms dealers and their supporters in the oil trade, B*U*S*T the War and People & Planet were today forced to investigate.

A team of weapons inspectors found two fanatical recruiters from the notorious BAe Systems attempting to brainwash an encouragingly small group of engineering students into joining their shadowy organisation. BAe Systems, a quasi-legal group with a long track record of supplying weapons to known terrorist regimes, had apparently gained access to these potential recruits with the assistance of the University, which has persistently ignored calls to cease all forms of support for such groups.

Full Story and Pictures

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Screening of film about Edinburgh Youth against the War activities

03-11-2003 00:00

stills from the film
Sat 8th November 2003 Edinburgh Filmhouse

A film about the youth anti war movement in Edinburgh 2003 made by Edinburgh Youth Against War with Pilton Video.

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Unusually Large Movements of US Warplanes Overhead in Scotland.

01-11-2003 00:00

Since Saturday, the 1st of November, people in the Highlands of Scotland have been witnessing large movements of US warplanes overhead. [1,2,3].

Experienced observers say the large numbers are reminiscent of those that preceded the bombing of Iraq in 1998 and military strikes on Libya in the 1980s as well as the first Gulf War.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, or NATO,held a summit in Edinburgh, Scotland, the 6-7th of November. Spontaneous protests took place in small numbers. Increased security is in the area.

Read more here.

To get more impression of events in Scotland, please view the scotland events calendar and participate.

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Albright Visit In Oxford Disrupted By Protests

30-10-2003 13:55

posters and pots and pans inside Borders
Madeleine Albright, former American Secretary of State, who (amongst many other things) presided over genocidal sanctions in Iraq, had her speaking and booksigning tour disrupted in Oxford by a variety of actions and protests.

Pickets, vigils, leaflets, banners, die-ins, debating, heckling, poetry, binbag barricades, sit-downs and cacerolazo (pots + pans) all combined beautifully, causing her to meet huge opposition, especially inside Borders (the bookshop) and be delayed 40-60 min for her talk at the Oxford Union (elitist debating society).

[report] | reports with pics: [ 1] | [2] | [Video]

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Protests at WMD convoy through Scotland

19-10-2003 21:56

Nuclear warheads forced to wait in Loch Lomond National Park
On Monday and Thursday a group of Citizens’ Weapons Inspectors harried a British nuclear weapon convoy as it passed through Central Scotland on its way to the Trident base at Coulport on Loch Long. It was forced into a lay-by on its return due to the breakdown of a nuclear warhead carrier.

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Campeace Forum and IMC Newswire

17-10-2003 16:11

Low Tech Media

Two new print projects in Cambridge are bringing non-corporate alternative media onto the streets.

Campeace Forum is a not-for-profit volunteer run magazine devoted to independent and critical thinking on global and domestic affairs. The aim is to provide a Cambridge-based alternative resource to the dominant media in fostering a local-global peace and justice movement.

The first issue, which was released a few weeks ago, also provides information about Campeace and other local peace and justice groups. The poetry and art included questions the way things are and celebrates the strengths of the peace movement.

Also recently released in Cambridge is the Cambridge Newswire, the print edition of the Cambridge Independent Media Centre.

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Picnic for Peace, USAF Croughton

14-10-2003 08:59

Marching peace flags 2
Shortly after 11 am on Saturday 11th October a coach-load of protestors left Oxford for USAF Croughton, a satellite communications base near Brackley, Northants. This U.S. spy base had been chosen by CND and the Campaign for the Accountability of the American bases (CAAB) as the focus for a national day of protest against the US Star Wars project, along with the better-known Menwith Hill in Yorkshire. On arrival at the base, a group of around 80 to 100 people with colourful banners, accompanied by various musical instruments and chanting Buddhist monks, made their way around the perimeter fence, past the sinister ‘golf balls’ (radomes).

Report, pictures and background info on USAF Croughton

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End the Occupation Demo 27th Sept

28-09-2003 09:29

Aerial view looking towards Speakers Corner and Park Lane

Between 10 and 100 thousand people (eleven ?) from all over Britain marched against the occupation of Iraq in London yesterday.

Pictures and comments: [ 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 ]
Pictures, story and comments: [ 1 ]
Women contingent: [report and pics]
Video: [1 long clip, 1 short clip, 1 quicktime virtual tour of crowd]
Debate about coverage of demo on IMC: [ 1 ]

Simultaneously, in Edinburgh a banner drop and a rally took place, whilst it was streaming down with rain.

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Peace activists arrested inside Devonport dockyard

25-09-2003 10:35

Early Monday morning two Trident Ploughshares activists were arrested after scaling a perimeter wall at Devonport naval dockyard, where Trident nuclear weapon submarine HMS Vanguard is undergoing a refit.

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Notes from Occupied Palestine

21-09-2003 08:37

A view of Nablus, Palestine in 2002
Note: This article was written by a Cambridge resident who is currently working with the International Solidarity Movement in Palestine.

Digging in the sand, late Wednesday night, outside Balata Camp. Four of us, crouched down near the mosque, next to the taxi rank. But there are no taxis - the streets are empty and silent. Everybody is inside, with the door locked - more soldiers are expected tonight.

Two small piles of light brown sand lie at the entrance to the camp. We kneel around one of them, as Mustapha slowly sifts through the sand, turning over clumps and examining the underside of stones.

'Move the light here. Now here. What's this?' asks Mustapha. I try to ignore distant rumbles of military vehicles and concentrate on aiming the torch at his quickly roving fingers. Each clump or lump is examined with care. Some are discarded, others placed in a see-through plastic bag, with the top folded over to keep it open.

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Oxford Protesters Infiltrate & Disrupt Arms Fair

13-09-2003 16:01

On Wednesday, during a day of protest and actions against DSEi - the weapons exhibition taking place this week in London - a bunch of Oxford activists managed to get inside the exhibition centre, where one group unfurled a banner on top of a tank, while another locked themselves to the inside of an APC.

[read report] | [photos + video] | [radio programme]

Meanwhile, other Oxford people joined in with a variety of actions during the week.

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Legal Update: DSEi, Anti-War protests and others...

12-09-2003 12:53

Legal Update 16th September here.
Samba player in deep trouble after having been badly beaten by police and spending two days at Charing Cross police station; Witness appeal.

Liberty are asking for reports from people who were stopped and searched, ASAP. An email list has been set up for people who were arrested / beaten etc..

Since the 1st of September, 144 people have been arrested in protests against the Defence Systems and Equipment international arms fair (DSEi) that has been taking place in East London. Policing tactics have been condemned by a wide range of people and Liberty is have won the right to seek a High Court injunction over use of Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000; they have also offered to provide legal representation for anyone stopped or detained under this legislation. Bindmans Lawyers have also requested information or witnesses from DSEi.

Numerous requests for witnesses have been made on the UK indymedia newswire [1 2 3 4 5 6]. There have also been several videos posted showing police violence against demonstrators which may provide evidence [ 1 2 - more can be found on the full reports from the 9th, 10th and 11th September].

Meanwhile, Anti-War demonstrators are still being threatened with - and receiving - harsh sentences. Protestors from Fairford come to trial next week while some are still fighting to get the charges reduced before they come to trial (Background to the case). Yet others are still looking for witnesses and some, like Ulla Roder (who was arrested for damaging a Tornado war-plane), have had their trials delayed numerous times.

Further afield, Simon Chapman and the Thessalonikki 7 remain imprisoned in Greece (solidarity website). Simon's first appeal has failed (against the charges) and he is currently awaiting the results of a second appeal. Key evidence such as the video have been re-submitted. In the United States, webmaster of Sherman Austin has been imprisoned for 1 year; he has since been subject to death threats and is being kept in solitary on the grounds of safety as a reason.

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DSEi: In Solidarity With Anti-WTO Protests in Cancun

11-09-2003 14:20

kyong lee
Summary reports, links, activities and timeline from Anti-WTO protests in Cancun, Mexico

Thousands of protesters, peasant and farmers organization, workers, environmentalists, trade unionists and many other groups opposing the World Trade Organization, corporate globalisation and militarism from around the world and Latin America are converging in Cancun, Mexico this week, the location for this weeks WTO meeting.

On Wednesday, Korean farmer Kyong Lee took his life in protest against WTO policy, while demonstrators tore down the fence surrounding the summit but refused to enter the summit grounds. The Mexican president Vicente Fox had ordered a police-led campaign of misinformation and barricades (Report) and prevented a teach-in organized by the International Forum on Globalization. Police repression is high. At least 8 protesters have been seriously injured during the Thursday march. Many other protesters throughout the week have been injured, threatened with deportation, banned from Cancun and refused entry to the country.

Breaking news:
Saturday report
Radio report
Photos [1][2]

A timeline of up-to-date events as well as ¡Radio Hurakán! (Mirrors 1 2 3) are also available.

Background: UK IMC article

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September 11th - DSEi Weapons Dealers' Dinner

11-09-2003 13:27

The official week of events (6th-12th sept) against DSEi, Europe's largest arms fair had seen counter-conferences, vigils, film screenings, protests, direct action, and blockades all taking place - see the DSEi 2003 Special Section). Sept 11th was the penultimate day of the arms fair:

Trafalgar Square became Red Square, as anti-arms trade campaigners filled its famous fountain with fake blood. See Photos and Report and Report Two,

Sept 11th was also the auspicious date chosen for the DSEi / DMA Gala Dinner at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in central London. Arms dealers dined in luxury while around the world the dead were remembered (see Guardian article).

Anti-Arms protestors and peace activists showed their disgust outside the hotel throughout the evening with a noise demonstration. Diners arriving were greeted with shouts of "How many children have you killed today?", while the surrounding streets were repeatedly blocked by cyclists and drummers. Hundreds of police, some in riot gear sealed the area off and were overly aggressive, injuring at least one person who needed hospitalisation (see witness appeal).

There was strong support from passers by, while at least one person infiltrated the hotel dressed in a ball dress. Free food was given out as people stayed late into the night making as much noise as possible, banging pots and pans.

After holding their arms fair gala dinner on September 11th, the world's arms industry left the Lancaster Hotel under heavy police guard. They were able to leave the area via Lancaster Gate Tube Station, which, closed to members of the public, was commandeered for arms dealer only transport.

See Full Timeline

Reports: 1, 2
Pictures: 1, 2, 3, 4
Audio: Samba soundscape from arms gala dinner, Meeting the DSEi dealers
Video: 3 short clips, video 2
Recent mainstream articles: 1,2, roundup

Full article | 1 comment

Sheffield Helps Disarm DSEi

10-09-2003 15:06

Fluffy DSEi protestors

Following on from the successful action at Fluent last week, many Sheffield protestors took their protest to the heart of the east end of London for the DSEi main event.

One Sheffield person was arrested on Tuesday and at least 3 people from Sheffield were arrested on Wednesday and taken to Charring Cross police station. One of them might have been charged with assault.

On Thursday the Sheffield Samba Band joind others at the Lancaster Gate protest.

Thursday report | witness appeal

Wednesday report

Tuesday reports: [1 | 2 | 3 ] photos: [ 1 | 2 | 3 ] video

Monday BAE action

Saturday photos: [ 1 | 2 | 3] video: [ 1 | 2 ]

Full article | 8 comments

Second Day of Action: Arms?- No Way! Shut down DSEi!

10-09-2003 10:02

excel dsei underpass blockade 10th sept 03
The second main day of protest against the Defence Systems & Equipment International (DSEi) took place at London’s Docklands on Wednesday 10th September. Activists, anti-arms organisations, students and the public, angry, both about the items on sale, the well-known human rights abusing countries invited, and the devastation caused by weapons and munitions, attempted to "Shut DSEI by any means possible". This was the day that bargaining at the DSEi arms fair began in earnest and general press were prohibited from entering (see pics from inside: 1|2|3|4).

"Whose streets? Our streets!"

Early in the morning the Dockland Light Railway (DLR) was stopped in the first of several actions (see reports: [1] [2] and pics: [1] [2] [3]) with activists D-locking themselves onto the train at various stations or climbing onto the roof (see video). This disrupted the DLR for much of the day. Also on the DLR, activists engaged in "train theatre" posing as arms dealers (report and pics). On their way to the Excel centre they announced they had arms for sale two opened their cases revealing various sets of arms (prosthetic and dolls arms) they had to sell.

At Custom House DLR (pic others went to a "Meet the Delegates" action. From eight in the morning a Critical Mass left from the City of London to the Docklands (pics: [1] [2] and video. On their way to the Excel around a hundred cyclists blocked traffic while comedian Mark Thomas entertained the crowds. Just after nine the Palestine support group, International Solidarity movement (ISM) visited the Israeli arms company Rafael in an attempted office occupation, later unfurling banners outside.

At eleven o'clock the two meeting points of "Storm the Death Fair" at Connaught Bridge underpass and "Blockade the Death Fair" at Canning Town roundabout allowed affinity groups to converge to form mobile groups forming and splitting as they engaged in their various actions. At Canning Town the group was prevented from moving by police but soon shoved their way through and moved off down Silvertown and along Victoria Dock road.

At Connaught Bridge a car partially blocked the ExCel approach road in a D-lock action (pics) while groups moved in a variety of directions, many up to Connaught roundabout and some down to the underpass (pics: [1] [2] [3]), blockading the traffic for several hours. Groups remained mobile; some pushing through police lines as other roads nearby were temporarily occupied or blockaded.

As pink and silver Samba drummed their way along Victoria Dock rd (pics), blocking the road with crash barriers, clashes occurred as police pushed the crowd against the railings of a recreation park. Samba managed to move off up Freemasons Road joined by Sheffield samba band and preceded to block the A13 main road (pics). There were scuffles and arrests as police chased the crowd in different directions.

Meanwhile at the ExCel centre six activists infiltrated DSEi, occupying two tanks, daubing them in ‘Stop Death’ banners and locking on, before being removed by security (see press release, pics and video). Some delegates are forced to walk to DSEi due to the disruption caused by the protests (see delegate video).

At 4pm the Reclaim the Streets party mobilised many of the roaming affinity groups at Rathbone Market where a crowd of around 300 took to the streets soon meeting up with a critical mass bicycle group complete with sound system. On the A13 the crowd was eventually blocked in by police (video), later being forced into a park (video), which police had cleared with mounted riot police (video). They were slowly released in small groups after being photographed (reports: [1] [2] [3]).

Meanwhile next to Canning Town DLR a second RTS group occupied the roundabout, as the DLR was again stopped, banners hung on top of the flyover ("Disarm DSEi"), arms delegate buses blockaded and riot police deployed. With another samba group playing, there were more arrests and scuffles as police cleared the roads, later blocking in two main groups of protestors for several hours as people tried to push through police lines (pics: [1] [2] [3]).

The day had seen a high level of disruption around the arms fair, especially given the relatively small numbers of protestors, while police continued using stop and search powers under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 (reports: [1] [2] [3] pics: [1], [2]). There were many arrests, some targeted, some quite violently, throughout the day.

See Full Timeline.

Reports: [1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20,21,22,23,24,25,26,27]
Pictures: [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7,8, 9, 10, 11,12, 13, 14, 15,16, 17, 18, 19,20, 21,22,23, 24, 25, 26]
Video:[quicktime,wmv:1, 2,3,4,5, mpeg]
Miscellaneous: Pensioner protest, Corporate media: [1 ,2] Call for evidence of legal support [1,2,3]

Arrests update: 10th, 11th.

Reports from corporate press: [1] [2] [3]

Full article | 2 comments

Samba! Monday Events against DSEI

08-09-2003 13:36

A samba action has taken place in London at the BAE offices in London just before 9am this morning. An attempt was made to bestow an award to the company. Entry was gained to the foyer by 6 suited anti-arms campaigners. There were two arrests of people using D-locks on tables. The people arrested are now at Charing Cross Police Station where there has been a supportive samba noise demo. Click here for full report - pictures [1,2] - [ 2 short video clips, longer video clip on Imc Italy]- audio.
On the way from the BAE action to Charing Cross police station the group stopped by at the Army Recruitment Office to voice their protest against the war machine.

In the morning, delegates to the NATO military committee meeting in Cambridge were greeted by a lively show of the street theatre "performing for peace" on Monday morning.Pictures.

Full article

Round-up of Weekend Events Against DSEi

07-09-2003 20:02

Sunday, September 7th:

The two day long Disarm DSEi Conference has started this morning in London. Several workshops, trainings and presentations have taken place at the Convergence centre. Issues discussed have ranged from war and arms trade to Climate Change, whilst, at the same time, workshops on Non Violent Direct Action, Indymedia and Legal briefings have also taken place. All of this has taken place under increased police surveillance. Police stationed just outside the main entrance to the convergence centre, kept taking photographs and video of all those going in or out of the building [Photos]. Some cases of police harrassment were more extreme as several activsts have been followed around the streets of East and North London [Report]

In Cambridge protesters marched on a hotel where defense chiefs from NATO countries have been meeting. The De Vere's hotel was described, by a demonstrator, as having "become an extension of the military bases in the area putting up soldiers from the USA, the UK and other countries". Speakers voiced their discontent about De Vere's involvement with arms dealers and armies and linked the Cambridge NATO meeting with the DSEi arms-fair. [Report & Photos]

Saturday, Sept 6th:

In the morning a boat action took place in order to prevent military ships to enter the Docks for display at DSEi. Several activists were arrested, but released later co-inciding with a solidarity protest in front of Charing Cross Police Station. Read more.

At midday, several hundred people marched from Victoria embankment, past Downing street and Parliament Sq to the Imperial War Museum with two samba bands adding funky rhytms and a positive athmosphere. The march ended at the museum's gardens where a rally took place with speakers from different groups addressing issues of arms trade and in particular the DSEi arms fair.

Read report.

Photos: [1 | 2 | 3 | 4| 5 | 6]

Videos: [1 | 2]