The woman was arrested in September 2007 for singing along to an acoustic guitar at a protest outside the EDO MBM/ITT bomb factory which makes weapons for the US and UK military in Iraq. The police charged her under a council bylaw originally intended to prevent buskers and drunks from causing a disturbance.
Andrew Beckett, press spokesperson for the Smash EDO Campaign, said "The CPS have finally decided to drop this ridiculous and oppressive
prosecution after over a yeanews@theargusr. The council bylaw the police used was never intended to interfere with the public's right to protest".
After arrest the woman was held in police custody for over 14 hours. The trial had already run to four days, due to adjourned court hearings.
Council noise bylaws have been used eight times to arrest people at the EDO protests and have led to countless police warnings and seizures of property. 6 of the 8 prosecutions under the bylaw have been dropped. Anger at police misuse of council bylaws resulted in a 300 strong 'freedom to protest' march to Brighton police station last January.
Chloe Marsh, spokesperson for the Smash EDO campaign, said "We hope this will be the end of the police's use of bylaws against protesters. The misuse of these laws has been an attempt to literally 'silence' us and to stifle freedom of expression".
Notes for Journalists
EDO MBM Technologies Ltd are the sole UK subsidiary of huge U.S weapons manufacturer EDO Corp.From their base in Moulescoombe Brighton, EDO MBM manufacture vital parts for the Hellfire and Paveway weapons systems,laserguided missilesused extensively in Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine and Somalia. EDO Corp were recently acquired by ITT in a multi-billion pound deal. ITT's links to fascism go back to the 1930s. The founder Sosthenes Behn was the first foreign businessman received by Hitler after his seizure of power.
There has been active campaign against the presence o f EDO MBM in
Brighton since the outbreak of the Iraq war.Campaigners include students, Quakers, Palestine solidarity activists, anti-capitalists and academics. Despite an injunction under the protection of harassment act (which failed) and over forty arrests the campaign is still going strong.Their avowed aim is to expose EDO MBM and their complicity in war crimes and to remove them from Brighton. They hold regular weekly demos outside the Moulescoombe factory on Wednesday's between 4 and 6.
On the Verge is an independent film about the SMASH EDO Campaign “In 2004 a group of Brighton peace campaigners began to bang pot and pans outside their local arms manufacturers EDO MBM in disgust of their part in the Iraq war. This has grown into the Smash EDO campaign, which has cost the company millions, been the subject of large scale police operations and has tested the right to protest in the UK.Using activist, police and CCTV footage plus interviews with those involved in the campaign, 'On The Verge' tells the story of one of the most persistent and imaginative campaigns to emerge out of the UK's anti-war movement and direct action scene.”