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26th April 2005
EMBARGO: For Immediate Release
Following an adjournment on April 25th anti-war activists from the Smash Edo campaign are awaiting a judgement on a possible interim injunction.
The court was told on Monday that any interim injunction would be a draconian breach of civil liberties for an unlimited number of people. An interim injunction would compromise their right to protest before the matter has even come to full trial.
EDO/MBM ltd, who manufacture bomb release mechanisms used in the illegal Iraq war, are seeking an injunction to prevent campaigners from protesting outside their factory in Brighton.
Activists have vowed to fight the injunction because it breaches their statutory right of freedom of expression and would affect anyone who wanted to protest outside EDO/MBMs factory in Brighton.
Chris Osmond, who is representing himself in court said ‘The real issue here is that innocent civilians in Iraq and elsewhere are being killed by weapons components made by this company and the people of Brighton are being silenced’.
Mark Thomas, who came to a demonstration at EDO/MBM last week and who has attended the high court in support of the defendants sent the following letter of support:
‘When EDO issued court proceedings to try and get an injunction issued against any one who might oppose EDO's actions, this campaign became even more important. What we are fighting for here is the right to protest. The type of protest and demonstrations we can and can't do must not be defined by the company we are opposing. In the faux war against terror the real enemies are the enemies of liberty.’
Ceri Gibbons, who has volunteered to be a defendant as a representative of those who will be affected said “The definition of protestor in the proposed injunction is so broad it covers anyone who disagrees with the arms trade or the war in Iraq. It should come as no surprise that a company that makes its profits through death and destruction abroad should also have such contempt for human rights in this country”
The campaign is appealing for everyone in the wider peace movement as well as anyone who cares about freedom of speech to join them on:
Thursday 26th April at 4pm
Demonstration against the arms trade, the illegal war and for freedom of speech and assembly outside EDO/MBMs factory on Home Farm Road, Brighton.
Notes for Journalists
Brighton&Hove is a UN Peace Messenger City.
The summons followed the acquittal of three activists accused of aggravated trespass on EDO’s premises.
EDO also recently withdrew a threatened libel action against Indymedia over being named as “warmongers”.
It is believed that the injunction served under the 1997 Protection from Harassment Act (originally designed to protect women from stalkers) is the first of its kind directed at activists outside of the animal rights movement.
If granted it would create an “exclusion zone” outside of EDO’s premises on Home Farm Industrial Estate as well as banning any protests outside homes of directors and employees of the company. The company will allow protests to take place on Thursday afternoons for two hours provided those protesting number no more than ten and are silent.
EDO/MBM Technologies Ltd are the sole UK subsidiary of huge U.S arms conglomerate EDO Corp, which was recently named No. 10 in the Forbes list of 100 fastest growing companies. They supply bomb release mechanisms to the US and UK armed forces amongst others. They supply crucial components for Raytheon’s Paveway IV guided bomb system, widely used in the “Shock and Awe” campaign in Iraq. The bomb is little different to those dropped on Coventry by the Nazis.
They are a wholly owned subsidiary of EDO Corp, a US-based arms multinational that is currently number 10 on the Forbes 100 list of fastest growing companies.
Lawson-Cruttenden & Co, a solicitors firm have been instrumental in the development of the Protection of Harassment Act 1997 from a measure designed to safeguard individuals to a corporate charter to make inconvenient protest illegal. They have pioneered to use of injunctions to create large “exclusion zones”.
They have secured numerous injunctions against anti-vivisection and anti-GM protestors.
The Campaign against EDO/MBM, People involved in the anti-EDO campaign include, but are not limited to: local residents, the Brighton Quakers, peace activists, anti-capitalists, Palestine Solidarity groups, human rights groups, trade unionists, academics and students.