UK Social Struggles Feature Archive
A train carrying "Castors" of nuclear waste from France to Germany ran over a protestor who had chained himself to the tracks, severing one of his legs. Paramedics offered him emergency treatment and tried to get him to surgery, but he died before reaching hospital. The 23-year-old lay down and chained himself to the track as the train passed near the town of Avricourt, eastern France [Timeline of Events]. The train was carrying nuclear waste being sent back to Germany after reprocessing in northern France, and had already been delayed for two hours while police cut free two other protesters who had chained themselves to a section of track.
Thousands of demonstrators have been gathering since the train set off on Saturday from the La Hague reprocessing plant in Valognes, north-western France, on its journey to the German town of Dannenberg. From Dannenberg the trains' 12 containers - holding 175 metric tons of atomic waste - are due to be shipped to a nearby dump at Gorleben, 12km away. The French protests followed a protest by 10,000 people at the Gorleben site in Saturday.
Workers employed by construction giant Laing O'Rourke have refused to sign a new pay and condition deal which halves their pay, while making it so that the pay is subsidised by bonuses, but the company can choose to whom they can give bonuses, in which their holiday pay is cut by £20 per day, and where they will have to bring in a medical certificate after being absent for one day.
23-10-2004 23:25This is a report on the Cambridge Forum from 19 October 2004 on the Rise and Rise of Corporate Power. The discussion was held in the CB1 Cafe on Mill Road on Tuesday, 19 October 2004 from 8 pm to 10:30 pm. About thirty people listened to the three speakers. Before the forum started, two people from the audience recounted their experience at the European Social Forum which just took place in London the weekend prior.
Leeds' brand new infosquat, Maelstrom, opened its doors on Thursday 21st October. It is located at the old Post Office, Hyde Park Corner, Woodhouse Street. Next week's events include talks on prison and the panopticon society, prisoner writing and card making, talk and discussion on biometrics, talk on nanotechnology, discussion on slipping through the systems cracks and much, much more! (click here for a full list).
Meanwhile, the opening of Leeds' social centre is only a few weeks away. If you want to get involved, simply contact leeds arc or pop into one of the social centre meetings: the next one is at at 7.30pm on Nov 4 @ the cafe in Holy Trinity Church, Boar Lane [map]
IMC Solidarity Missing From ESF Assembly of Social Movements Declaration!
Guardian Letter: Ken Livingstone's Special Advisor Accuses White Anarchists of Racial Violence!
Anti-Racist Groups Accuse Lee Jasper of Playing 'Race Card' re ESF
The repression at King’s Cross station.
The main ESF demo
Indymedia Banners on ESF demo
The storming of the ESF
The repression after the invasion
[picture report] Samba against war in london
O17 London: A protestor's eye view (report and pics)
Photos from the anti-war march at the end of the ESF
The European Social Forum has ended on Sunday, with a large demonstration and a number of autonomous actions (Clowns actions and Pro-capitalist block). The demonstration had a clear anti-war character and attracted a large number of people who did not attend the ESF. Reports and photos [1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6].
A group of activists from the anti-capitalist block were detained at King's cross station in an attempt to prevent them from joining the march [1 | 2 | 3 | Global Project]. They were eventually allowed to leave and when they finally arrived at Trafalgar Square some tried to get to the stage in what some describe as storming the stage. The police possibly in cooperation with the organisers made several arrests including an Indymedia volunteer and member of the ESF organizing body.
Solidarity actions were called, and a number of Clowns invaded Charing Cross police station (Video). Those arrested including a Greek activist are due in court on Monday. The ESF organisation, and the events during the demonstration, have been the subject of a lot of controvesy [In depth: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | Previous: 1 | 2 | 3]. Some also resented the lack of coverage of actual ESF events  on Indymedia and the mainstream media [1 | 2 | Don't hate the media - just publish on indymedia].
[More: Timeline | All UK ESF reports | ESF daily coverage: Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Other languages: German | Dutch | Dutch and French | Català | Castellano 2 3| Hungarian | Portugese | Russian]
previous updates: 2004-9-29 | 2004-10-6 | 2004-10-8
Cesar Zelada is a well known student activist in Peru. He is also a member of the Fuerza de Izquierda Socialista, a left wing group, and the organiser of the Hands off Venezuela campaign in Peru.
He was in Bolivia as part of a delegation of Peruvian student activists invited by the Youth wing of the Bolivian Workers' Union (COB - the Bolivian TUC) to show solidarity with the struggle of the Peruvian students, particularly those at the Oruro Technical University.
He was arrested on September 14th, in the capital La Paz. He was strip searched and handcuffed by the PTJ police and then questioned without having access to a lawyer. He is being kept in jail in the San Pedro Penal, in La Paz. When making the case against him at the hearing, the prosecutor alleged that he was in possession of explosives, had lied about his address in Bolivia and was carrying "Marxist propaganda" with the aim of "subversion".
20-09-2004 09:23Controversy at Oxford City Council hit the pages of Indymedia last month as Green councillor Matt Sellwood accused Labour and Liberal Democrat members of wasting £100,000 in tax payer’s money on the demolition of a block of social housing.
In a newswire item posted to this site Sellwood claimed that the council’s decision to demolish Stephenfield House in Rose Hill with council funds would effectively mean a massive subsidy for the private developer’s brought in to redevelop the site. He further alleged that the new development would not be retained as a 100% social housing as the Green party had demanded.
In a reply posting Labour councillor Rick Muir defended the council’s decision arguing that under government regulations they have no choice but to bring in a private developer. He also claimed that the new development once completed will provide more, not less, social housing.
Meanwhile the practise of squatting empty, unused properties continues to be necessary in a city of massive house prices and waiting lists.
[ Stephenfield House article | Squatters in normal interaction shock ]
The campaign continues:updateT-Mobile wish to erect an enormous mobile phone mast in Richmond Road, Hackney. This will be next to London Fields park, a few metres away from a housing estate, on on the pavement! Hackney Council asked if anybody objected, and naturally many did. So the planning permission was turned down.
Recently there has been a spate of stories about social centres and evictions. At 5.30am 25th August, around 40 police and 30 bailiffs smashed down the front door of the Ex-Grand Banks in north London. This high profile centre had proven to be one of the most successful squatted community projects for some time, despite occasional police harrassment of people attending meetings there (see video). On Saturday 4th there was a street party in protest against the eviction.
Use Your Loaf, an ex-bakery on Deptford High Street which had been occupied as a centre for social solidarity since summer 2002, has also now been evicted after managing to resist eviction a week before.
Meanwhile, in Birmingham, a disused nursey has just been occupied. In Arms Reach, a squat just off Oxford Street in central London, provided a one-off week-long series of workshops, films and gigs. Back in north London, the AUTONOMOUS LAB in Chalk Farm Road, having already resisted eviction at the beginning of August, have now expanded into a second vaccant shop front!
There are plenty of other successful projects nationally and internationally as well: read on for more details...
The association has been formed in the last few weeks by resident Cam boaters to campaign against new mooring rules recently introduced by the Cam Conservancy. Starting from October 1st boats will not be allowed to moor on Midsummer Common, directly affecting the approximately 22 boats that will have to move, but also causing overcrowding of the entire river. The Campaign has also highlighted other concerns, including the lack of waste disposal facilities and fuel supplies available for boaters, and the presence of just a single water point for tens of boats.
South Yorkshire bus workers agreed to return to work on 10th August after being on all-out strike for 21 days for better pay and conditions. This strike is been the longest bus workers strike on the UK for 30 years. The first strike web site has an article about the victory on day 21 and a bus worker posted a comment here:
First and foremost we stuck together and won the good fight. We are back to work without conceding benefits to pay for the rise...
thank you to all the passengers of first buses who are polite and decent to drivers and thank you to all who have supported us through the strike.
The hype in the local media about the economic impact of the strike, which was mentioned in the newswire post, industrial collapse in Sheffield resulted in a response from the Chief Exec of the Sheffield Chamber of Trade(!).
Update 10 August: After 21 days out, the longest bus strike for 30 years is over, see victory after 21 days.
A significant all out strike is under way by 800 bus drivers employed by First Bus, a major multinational with annual profits in excess of £160m, the strike has been solid as it goes into its second week.
Drivers are striking for a 40 hour week, a reduction of the maximum hours a day to eight-and-a-half hours and a quicker increase in pay for 'starter rate' drivers, who currently have to wait three and a half years to earn more than £5.85 an hour! Steve Clark, the regional organiser for the TGWU, says "Clearly we are in for the long haul".
A regular Saturday picket of Marks & Spencer in Manchester was attacked last weekend (3rd July) by an organised group of thugs. They assaulted some of the picketers, grabbing leaflets out of their hands, attempted to turn over the campaign stall and destroyed some placards. The attack lasted for over quarter of an hour before police eventually arrived on the scene.
The picket has been a regular presence outside M & S in protest at the relationship between the company and the Israeli state. According to the Jerusalem Report (5 June 2000) Marks & Spencer support Israel to the tune of approximately $233 million in trade every year. The picketers are calling for a boycott of M&S whilst the 'special relationship' continues and Israel maintains its military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.
The picket has not been without incident. Only a week earlier two men were detained by police officers outside the store for possessing imitation firearms, in reality toy guns which were being used as props for mock military checkpoints. In March two people were prosecuted for 'affixing placards to council property' and 'depositing a paste table on the highway without lawful authority or excuse’ outside the store. Marks & Spencer are now reported to be planning on bringing anti-social behaviour orders against the picketers.
While the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, the Netherlands, prepares to give its advisory opinion on the Apartheid Wall on July 9th, the Wall in Palestine continues to destroy lives and lands at an ever-increasing pace. Four months of court deliberations have prompted international political immobility, but Palestinian resistance is growing. Whole villages have risen up to stop the Apartheid Wall and the devastating repression of the Israeli Occupation.
In light of the upcoming opinion from the ICJ, the Israeli government is trying to manipulate the truth and disguise the colonial foundation of its racist apartheid policy. The occupation forces have depicted a decision by their own High Court to move 30km of the Apartheid Wall as a Palestinian “victory”, but Palestinians see how, on the contrary, this decision validates Israel’s claim that the Wall is solely a security measure and how it states that the Wall can be built on Palestinian land.
Latest News on the Apartheid Wall at StopTheWall.org | Background info on the ICJ | video, audio, photo and info from: firstname.lastname@example.org
Genoa Diaz Proceedings Start
The preliminary hearings have begun around the 29 Italian policemen and officers who face charges related to the brutal night time raid on the Diaz school (pics) in Genoa, Italy during the Anti-G8 demonstrations there in 2001, where scores of people were beaten, many left unconscious and hospitalised, before later being tortured in Bolzaneto detention centre.
The hearings went ahead despite appeals by the Police to stop or postpone the proceedings, citing the fact that a key witness, the Policeman who had found the molotov cocktails on the friday before the raid, is in a coma after what some have called a 'suspicious' car accident. The Police also tried to instigate a "judicial review" of one of the charges with the hope of delaying the trial - the judge insisted however that the proceedings would continue.
Genoa Diaz Court Case - Quick Update - Saturday 26th June
Genoa Justice Court Cases Start - Report and Press Conference Statement
First Hearing of the Diaz Trial Report - 27th June [Pics]
A counter-investigation has begun, led by a group from Italian Indymedia.
[more info in Italian | English translation]
For more see Indymedia Italy
Aubonne Bridge Court Case
Coinciding with the beginning of the Genoa court cases in Italy, in Lausanne, Switzerland, the activists Martin Shaw, Gesine Wenzel and Olivier stood trial on Monday 28 of June charged with blockading the road and endangering life, in what has been known as the Aubonne Bridge case.
The background of this prosecution starts at the anti G8 summit protests In Evian (Switzerland) of June 2003 . During the demonstrations and blockades that took place in several Swiss cities, an international affinity group blockaded the motorway in order to stop an official delegation from reaching the G8 in Evian. Two climbers suspended themselves from a single rope being stretched across one of the motorway's bridges. The police eventually turned up at the action, and in a very ruthless manner a police officer proceeded to cut the rope and sent Martin plummeting 20 metres into a shallow, rocky stream beneath the bridge, whilst Gesine was saved by the quick reflexes of her support team who managed to grab a hold of the rope.
Watch Aubonne Bridge Action Video
[see archive pics 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | video | collected reports]
Following a call by the Aubonne Bridge Campaign , around 100 activists from all over Europe came to support Martin, Gesine and Olivier last Monday. Banners were unfurled outside the court, food was cooked for lunch whilst a sound system put some flavour to the solidarity action. At some point, a theatre group performed outside the court house entertaining the crowd that could not get into the packed public gallery. Although the activists were finally found guilty of "blocking the public way and endangering life'", Martin Shaw will not face any sentence, whilst Gesine Wenzel and Olivier were given a 10 and 20 day suspended sentences.
[Photos 1 | 2]
Press release 30 June from the Aubonne Bridge campaign.
See earlier Street Theatre Pictures [1 | 2]
More information: IMC-Switzerland
Dissent!, a network of resistance against the G8, held a gathering at the 1 in 12 Club in Bradford, on the 3rd and 4th of July 2004.
'Dissent! A Network of Resistance Against the G8' was formed at the end of November 2003. Local groups and working groups are now forming to build a response to the G8 which it is hoped will exist well beyond the summer of 2005. Work has already started on producing publicity and information materials and putting together roadshows to mobilise people for action. Networking with social movements in Europe and further afield has begun, and across the UK solidarity actions were taken with those resisting the 2004 G8 Summit in the US.
The 'Dissent!' network is committed to taking a confrontational stance, calling for direct action. It is a Network without leaders or an official membership list. It is open to anyone who agrees to work under the hallmarks laid down by Peoples' Global Action (PGA) - to read them, click "read more".See Dissent! website: www.dissent.org.uk
Following months of speculation over the location of the 2005 G8 Summit in the UK, and reports that all police leave in Edinburgh and Scotland will be cancelled next summer, the Gleneagles hotel [official website] in Perthshire, Scotland has finaly been confirmed as the venue (G8 dates: 6th-8th July 2005).
The last time the G8 met in the UK was in Birmingham in May 1998. Then up to 70,000 people encircled the centre of Birmingham, forming a human chain and demanding an end to third world debt [pics]. On the same day up to 7,000 people took control of the centre of Birmingham for the second Global Reclaim the Streets Party [pics 1 | 2 | 3][video] - with actions and protests happening against the G8 in around 40 cities across the world, with over 400 social movements taking co-ordinated action under the banner of Peoples' Global Action (PGA).
Six years and many huge mobilisations later, people in the UK have been organising around the G8 for several months. A growing new network of local groups has been created called the Dissent! Network, with nodes across the country. Dissent! is planning a series of awareness raising events through the year and has been calling for both local and international participation. Many people and groups are now focussing on planning protests and direct action campaigns against the G8.
Recently many NGO organisations are also co-ordinating on a level unseen since the Jubliee 2000 drop the debt campaigns, and are set to try and take advantage of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown's aim to pitch the UK presidency of the G8 as a positive step towards reducing third world debt and around issues of development and trade [see guardian article] - 2005 is also the 20th anniversary of the Live Aid concert. Several groups are expected to use the European Social Forum in London in October later this year as a platform from which to launch campaigns. Recently several Trade Union leaders, politicians and Globalise Resistance have also issued their first call for protests.
Recent UK Savannah G8 Solidarity Actions
The People's Golfing Association (PGA) [statement][pics]
"Anarchist Group's Gleneagles Website Exclusive!"*
Corporate Media Coverage of Gleneagles G8
For more on G8 - see the Indymedia G8 Reports Section
At the same time in Switzerland the court case against four people from the Aubonne Bridge action at the 2003 G8 Summit in Evian will begin. UK climber and activist Martin Shaw was cut from the climbing rope he was dangling from by police, falling over 20m onto a riverbed and sustaining very serious injuries [see pics 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | video | collected reports]. While the policeman who cut the ropes remains on duty, ironically, the four protesters, including Martin and the other climber, have all been charged with blocking the traffic and endangering human life! Alongside a European anti-repression meeting will take place on 26-27th June, to promote wider awareness as to the many different cases of repression that have happened recently and to discuss proposals and strategies for creating a stronger and more effective anti-repression network in Europe.
For more see: www.aubonnebridge.net | Indymedia Switzerland
For ongoing coverage see: Atlanta Indymedia
Also San Francisco IMC | IndyBay IMC
Streaming Radio: Enemy Combatant Radio-In San Francisco | IMC-Atlanta Webradio
Also see Dissent! UK Solidarity Actions:
Nottingham: 8th June : Critical Mass | 9th June: Blockade of Oil terminal report | 12th June: Carnival Against Capitalism
Worthing: 23TOPIA - New anti-G8 social centre / Festival of Resistance (more)
Cambridge: A week of anti-G8 discussion and action | Street Theater report
Norwich and Ipswich: anti-war/anti-g8 protests / free shop / Anti-g8 rebel football
Cardiff Anti-G8 Jam
Also see reports of Reclaim The Commons protests at the Biotechnology Industry Organization's annual convention in San Francisco (more reports)