UK Anti-militarism Feature Archive
On Saturday 29th May approximately 50 demonstrators gathered outside Chicksands military base in Bedfordshire, home to the Joint Services Interrogation Centre where 'interrogation' techniques have been being taught to UK forces. Read interrogation as 'torture'.
Banners called for Chicksands closure and protestors recreated shocking images of torture. There were a number of speakers and also jugglers, banging tunes, bubbles, pictures on the pavement and skull and cross bones confetti (some of which ended up inside the base). A favourite moment was watching a policeman try to duck a huge bubble without betraying his cool exterior!
Threatened with murder already several times and allocated with bans on writing, she does not stop to point out the desperate situation of people in Chechnya.
Politkowskaja is now able to prove torture, inhuman treatment and homicide in Chechnya with a video, which is dated 21st of March 2000.
The ICRC director of communications, Pierre Kraehenbuchel insisted that there was "a broad pattern, not individual acts, there was a pattern and a system." Furthermore the occupying forces have not improved the humanitarian situation (Read more), and the number of Iraqi civilians killed is estimated to be between 9921 and 11071.
Early in the morning on Thursday the 20th May 2004, around 20 anti-arms trade activists arrived at the premises of EDO MBM Technology in Brighton. EDO MBM manufacture bomb and missile release components for military aircraft; they are on record as being “proud” to support the ongoing occupation of Iraq.
A 'cage' was set up blocking the access road and banners were hung, one offering a potential corporate slogan: 'Every Death an Opportunity'. Shortly afterwards, more activists ‘appeared’ on the roof of the factory, while others handed out leaflets explaining what must have seemed an interesting intervention in the workers mundane trudge to work. All but the suited senior management types turned around and had the day off.
There is an emergency situation right now in the Gaza Strip and the town of Rafah [feature on Indymedia.org], in particular, with scenes that bring to mind Israel's invasion of Jenin and Nablus in the spring of 2002... Last weekend, 116 homes were destroyed, making over a thousand people homeless [www.btselem.org]. Hundreds more are slated for destruction. [Indymedia Israel, Rafah Today, Electronic Intifada].
Add to this the ongoing trouble in Iraq, where revelations of torture abound, and there was real appetite for action as various groups around the UK called actions. The combination of the weeks' war crimes and media coverage brought people out in abundance, some of whom were protesting for the first time.
The previous weekend, Palestine Solidarity Campaign held its annual Nakba (Catastrophe) Day rally in Tragalgar Sq [Photo's: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 ] at which several speakers called on people to attend the Stop the War/End the Torture demonstration last Saturday morning [Reports & photo's: 1 | 2 ], which then, in turn, built the protest against the Rafah Massacre outside Downing Street, which resulted in a sit down on Whitehall. [Reports & pictures 1 | 2 ].
During the week, George Bush Snr played an ill-timed visit to raise party funds for his son [report]. The weekly picket at Marks & Spencer on Oxford Street was this week swelled by a large number of new faces [Report; pictures: 1 | 2] whilst there have been daily gatherings alongside Brian Hawe in Parliament Square.
Around the UK:
There were other protests over the past week in cities across the country:
- Palestine protest reports & pictures: Sheffield | York | Oxf ord.
- Iraq Torture protest reports & pictures: Northampton | Chicksands Joint Services Interrogation Centre .
On Wednesday, May 12th 2004 at 8.30am, Caterpillar Out of Palestine arrived at Caterpillar offices near Solihull to present them with their well-deserved Homewrecker of the Year Award, and to ask the employees to take up the issue of arms sales to Israel with the company. Unfortunately, the employees were too shy to leave the building. So the following morning the protesters decided join them for breakfast in the car park as they arrived for work.
UNWRA recently reported that 131 civilian homes had been destroyed in Gaza in the first ten days of May alone. CAT financial corp report that company profits had risen by 41% to $457 million this quarter. While CAT’s profits rocket, CAT machinery is instrumental in the occupation.
May 9 2004: Anti-Trident protesters twice stopped a nuclear weapons convoy in Stirling and Balloch. 6 People were arrested. The protesters were from Trident Ploughshares, Stirling CND and Faslane Peace Camp.
Again a Nuke transport has been halted on the Scottish roads. The MoD regularly organises convoys to take Trident warheads to and from the Burghfield assembly plant to the Coulport store to be checked and maintained. Each warhead is believed to have the destructive power of 8 times the bomb which was dropped on Hiroshima.
A network of ordinary people called across the UK watch Nuke transports closely.[press release from Trident Ploughshares]
Brian Haw, the Parliament Square peace protestor, who has spent almost 3 years in a continuous anti-war protest vigil opposite the Houses of Parliament (1), has been arrested and his possessions / extensive protest display removed, in a sudden midnight police operation.
Reports 1 and 2
Update Sat 15 - Support Brian Haw at Bow St. Magistrates Court. Meet on Tuesday 18th May, at 10.00am outside the court.
Between 26-28 April representatives from 300 companies - including Shell, ExxonMobil, ChevronTexaco and US arms manufacturer Raytheon – will be attending a business conference in London entitled Iraq Procurement 2004: Meet the Buyers. They will be meeting members of the US occupation authority, the US-installed Iraqi “government”, and wealthy Iraqi business-people to discuss "the wide range of opportunities available" to make a profit out of the increasingly blood-soaked occupation of Iraq. The conference takes place in the context of a series of new laws passed by the US last September, that "effectively put [Iraq] up for sale" to foreign investors (Guardian, 22 Sept. 2003)
A growing body of evidence that the way in which the Bush administration has been "treating [reconstruction] contracts as prizes to be handed to their friends" has been "delaying Iraq's recovery, with potentially catastrophic consequences" (economist Paul Krugman, New York Times, 30thSept. 2003) On the other hand, US attempts to ‘restructure’ (rather than cancel) Iraq’s odious debts, attempts likely to "rob Iraq of [its] economic freedom by requiring that it adhere to an IMF structural adjustment program" (Jubilee Iraq). All of this as a backdrop for the killing of over 600 people in the US siege of Fallujah, "the vast majority of [whom] were women, children and the elderly" according to the director of the town’s general hospital (Guardian, 12 April)
A protest to coincide with the gala dinner for the business conference 'Iraq Procurement 2004' was called for Tuesday 27th April. See Photos: 1 | 2 | Protest website.
Read more on the Iraq Procurement conference [here.
Voices in the Wilderness UK has been campaigning on Iraq for the last six years. To visit the Iraqi procurement website and see the blatant carve up of Iraq see The Iraqi Procurement Conference where you can check out their agenda for the event.
The first day saw a short rally in Bonn Square, with speakers including Gawain Little (national committee, Y&S CND), the Rev. David Platt (Christian CND) and David and Rene Gill (Oxford CND), who had taken part in the very first march to Aldermaston in 1958.
Despite the overcast sky, spirits were high and we marched along St Aldates and out of Oxford, 15 miles to Wallingford.
The second day's march was from Wallingford to Reading, where we were received by the Reading Quakers. The march from London also arrived in Reading in the evening and we were able to share food and tales of sore feet!
Monday began with a gathering at Broad St, Reading, where around 200 people awaited the London march. By the time the procession left Burghfield, there were around 1000 people marching. The atmosphere was tremendous, with people tired, but proud of the distance they'd marched and eager to make their protest heard.
Well done to everyone who marched - let's make it even better next year!
Reports   | Youth Student CND
Update4: Saturday the 17th of April - Jo's account of the continued siege and her kidnapping and release."You look for ways out. You wonder whether they're going to kill you, make demands for your release, if they'll hurt you. You wait for the knives and the guns and the video camera. You tell yourself you're going to be OK."
Update3: Tuesday the 13th of April - Jo Wilding's amazing eyewitness reports of the situation in Fallujah are now available. She describes American attacks on unarmed civilians and ambulances in Fallujah: "Snipers are causing not just carnage but also the paralysis of the ambulance and evacuation services. The biggest hospital after the main one was bombed is in US territory and cut off from the clinic by snipers. The ambulance has been repaired four times after bullet damage. Bodies are lying in the streets because no one can go to collect them without being shot." Hundreds of people are being killed - the situation in Fallujah is catastrophic.
Update2: Tuesday the 13th of April - Due to the refusal of new Iraqi army units to attack Fallujah, the U.S. is now hoping to recruit senior former commanders from Saddam Hussein's Ba'athist security forces to ensure that there are "well-formed Iraqi chains of command."
Update1: Monday the 12th of April - Eyewitness acount from Dahr Jamail in Fallujah. Dahr Jamail is the Baghdad correspondent for the New Statesman.
Sat 10th April: As anti-occupation demonstrations erupted all over Iraq, the town of Fallujah, a flash-point for resistance was besieged by three battalions of American troops. The death toll in the town so far is being reported as 500 dead and 1200-1700 wounded. There were unconfirmed reports of B-52 bomber strikes and U.S. Apache helicopters attacking civilians as they try to flee the city. Eyewitness reports from Iraq contradicted American generals who claim that they are currently observing a ceasefire.
I just spoke to friends in Baghdad - Paola Gaspiroli, Italian, from Occupation Watch and Bridges to Baghdad, journalist Leigh Gordon, England, (NUJ, Tribune, Mail on Sunday) and a Palestinian friend with family in Falluja and friends in the Iraqi Islamic Party. Both he and Leigh have been ferrying out the injured from Falluja to Baghdad for the past three days. Ambulances have been barred from entry into the blood-drenched city. Here is their news, which they told me over the telephone on Friday the 9th of April.
Eyewitness Reports: Paola | Friend | Leigh Gordon
Audio Reports: Ewa Jasiewicz, Glasgow [1, 2, 3] | Paola Gaspiroli, Iraq
Other Reports: What You Can Do | View from Baghdad | Baghdad Burning | Palestine and Iraq | Mission Accomplished? | Jo Wilding on Hostages | From Liberation to Jihad | Background Info on Fallujah
Meanwhile, on Sunday 11 an emergency demonstration took place outside Downing St in London. Around 80 people gathered in a picket to show their repulse to the latest military attacks against civilians in Iraq. Photos: 1 + 2.
There were protests in several cities around the country, including Glasgow [1,2, 3] and Bristol [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. In London the Stop The War Coalition demonstration saw tens of thousands filling the streets throughout the afternoon in a march from Hyde Park to Trafalgar Square (see photo reports: one, two).
Photos: 1| 2| 3| 4| 5| 6| 7| 8| 9| 10| 11| 12| 13| 14| 15
Videos: 1 | 2 | 3
Read report of an arrest after videoing a police FIT team.
Earlier two Greenpeace climbers had scaled Big Ben to unfurl a banner reading "Time For Truth". (NB the Indymedia UK servers were down for much of the day and throughout much of the evening)
Video from Dublin | Video & Photos from NYC | Report and Pics from Barcelona | Photo Gallery from Madrid 1+2+3
On Friday March 19th Yorkshire CND held a mass non-violent blockade at the key US military base Menwith Hill, near Harrogate, Yorkshire, UK. They blocked 3 gates completely causing tailbacks for hours and massively disturbing the shift change-over. Menwith Hill felt compelled to issue a statement which is amazing since they never, ever speak to anyone.
"BLOCK THE BASE" started in freezing driving rain by 5am in the morning with protesters who had stayed in Leeds overnight blockading the base. Many protesters were met by police waiting for them. Yet they managed to block all four gates, many locking into place. Throughout the morning the protest was joined by more people.
The shift change, between 5.30 and 7.30, was a traffic jam. Police had moved pretty fast to try and clear two gates. Reports were they were pretty brutal with dangerous use of cutting equipment. Yorkshire CND said that despite liason some of the police behaved disgracefully and there were definite cases of extreme excessive force and violence. They want as much information and pictures as possible from anyone that was there to collect evidence. [more in article]. By 7am most of the protesters at gate one had been removed and were waiting wet and cold to be arrested. In all 30 people were arrested. Others gates were still blocked. Protesters were still arriving and demonstrating all around the base.
Action coverage Film: 'Caterkiller Shutdown' | Photos | Audio Interview | articles 1 | 2
Background and history Caterpillar | Rachel Corrie
External links Caterkiller | Stop Caterpillar
Other related posts 'The dialogue of bombs & the underreported nonviolent resistance'
ISM Action Alert: Activist Arrested By Army
Why Seeking Justice for the Palestinians Is the Jewish Cause
Palestinian Olive Oil Project in the UK
Physicians for Human Rights: Another day in the Occupied Territories
Price of an orange
Coinciding with this women around the world in sixty countries including America, Argentina, Uganda, Peru, Philadelphia, San Francisco, in Guyana, in southern India, in Trinidad and Tobago, in Spain, staged the 5th Global Women's Strike - a movement co-ordinated from london - with the slogan 'Invest in Caring not Killing' (see strike demands).
In london several events took place, from street theatre highlighting the anti-immigration policies of fortress europe to the serving of a Supboena on Prime Minister Tony Blair and his master George W Bush, charging them with Crimes At Home & Abroad. A trial was held in trafalger square supported by the Iraqi Women’s League and the All African Women’s Group. Due to their failure to attend both blair and bush were found guilty in the absence - resulting in an immediate loss of office, imprisonment and having to pay compensation for all those everywhere who have been hurt by their actions! (see pictures).
In solidarity with imprisoned women every where, protestors also gathered outside of Holloway Women’s prison with pots and pans making a noise protest and bearing a banner which read "The rich get Richer the poor get imprisoned" [audio]. Some protestors also tried to block the advance of Securicor Prison vans carrying the women to captivity.
The Transport and General Workers' Union also launched a petition for the UK Government to declare International Women's Day a paid National Bank Holiday for all UK workers, as it is in a number of other countries. The petition will be distributed to trade unionists up and down the country and presented to Downing Street on 8th March 2005. British workers have just eight days a year in bank holidays, the lowest number of any country in the EU - a representitive said:
"Women now make up more than half the UK workforce, yet continue to be discriminated against by pay, sexual harassment, working time and lack of senior representation. We need to assert women's political and social rights and what better way to do this than have an annual day to celebrate women's contributions?"
Germany | Auckland | Melbourne, 2, 3 | Tokyo, Japan | Santa Cruz Feature | Argentina Feature, (2) | Los Angeles Feature | Russia, (2) | Rome, 2 | Philippines
See Indymedia Coverage from previous International Women's Days: 2002, 2003
Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan Statement
Vancouver interview with Claire Robillard
CodePink Action in Washington USA | CodePink UK Call for March 20th Anti-War Protest
At the International Court of Justice (ICJ), The Hague - Netherlands, from the 23rd to the 25th of February, there is a hearing as to the legality of the Apartheid wall being erected across Palestine [court schedule].The wall's construction - which has been criticised by the International Committee of the Red Cross - is widely seen as further land grabbing by the Israeli government, who couch its existence as a necessity for security in protection of the Israeli state.
State sponsored protests
On Monday the 23rd, Zionist groups are having a high profile demonstration in front of the ICJ. The local Israeli embassy has sponsored students and members of Zionist groups in support of the wall to protest outside the Court and has provided full colour pictures of bomb victims to 'Christians for Israel' who are carrying them on street protests. ZAKA, an Israeli 'rescue organisation', has brought to the Hague the two halves of a Jerusalem bus destroyed in a suicide bombing.
Anti-Apartheid Wall protests
25 anti-Wall protestors will be there to represent the concerns of the Palestinians along with the Palestinian Environmental NGO’s Network (PENGON) and other Palestinian solidarity groups, who have organised symposia, exhibits and protests around the time of the hearing. These groups will be bringing to The Hague Palestinians whose lives are affected by the Wall, including Sharif Omar (farmer from Jayyus), Fayez Tanib (farmer from Tulkarm) and Terri Balata (school administrator from Abu Dis separated from her school).
The Mayor of The Hague, Deetman, banned anti-Wall protesters from demonstrating in the morning, which will limit press awareness of the anti-Wall presence. The anti-Wall protestors will now march in the afternoon and hold a vigil outside the ICJ, remembering Palestinian victims of the Israeli occupation. Meanwhile, in Palestine, people are organising strikes, direct action and marches in support of the hearings in The Hague.