McDonald's and banks among those implicated by anti-war group
10:30pm Monday 27th April 2009
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By Naomi Loomes »
Protesters have drawn up a list of banks and companies they will target during an anti-arms trade protest next week.
Thousands of demonstrators are planning to descend on Brighton and Hove during the May Bank Holiday for what they describe as a “mass street party against, war, greed and militarism”.
The protest was originally planned as part of an ongoing campaign against EDO MBM/ITT, the factory on Home Farm Road in Moulsecoomb, which makes arms components.
But since the G20 events in London, increasing numbers of anarchist and anti-capitalist groups from around Britain have been planning to widen the scope of the demonstration.
This week the group behind the protest, Smash EDO, have published a map of 35 city centre businesses they say have supplied or invested in ITT, including McDonald’s, American Express, BP and Barclays Bank.
Transport to Brighton is already being organised from a number of cities, including Bath, Bristol, Cardiff, Hereford and Sheffield.
Among the list of premises on the handout, entitled “Anti-militarist map of Brighton” are the city’s police stations and Brighton and Hove City Council’s town halls in Bartholomew Square, Brighton, and Church Road, Hove.
Smash EDO claims the council refused to table a motion on whether EDO MBM/ITT should operate in the city because it was “not of interest” to local people.
They have also listed DHL Express in Newtown Road in Hove which they say delivers military components to the EDO factory.
Smash EDO organiser Andrew Beckett said the protest would be its biggest yet and the map had supplied demonstrators with a list of possible targets. He said: “This is a list of targets in the sense of places people could protest about but it doesn’t mean we will be going there and storming the buildings.
“There will be splinter groups that can go and do whatever they want. We can’t control them.
“This is a possible list of targets for police so they can get on and police them if they want to – that’s their job.”
Police and businesses are bracing themselves for organised attempts to bring the city centre to a standstill.
Ted Kemble, council cabinet member for business and enterprise said: “I won’t condone wanton violence on any business trying to go about their daily work.”
Sussex Police have warned organisers they will not allow the city to suffer the disruption witnessed in the G20 protests.
Chief Superintendent Cliff Parrott said: “We are not expecting the event to be confrontational. However, we are keen to speak with the organisers to discuss their intentions and how it can take place effectively while minimising disruption.”
A police spokeswoman said there would be a police presence from early in the day and officers would be looking for ringleaders to try to ensure the event passed peacefully.
She refused to say if police spotters who have been known to photograph protests and rallies would attend the march.
The spokeswoman confirmed that the police would not be turning protesters away from the city.
Among those expected to take part in the demo is former Page Three girl turned Liberal Democrat councillor Marina Pepper. Nicola Fisher, hit with a baton at the G20 protests, is also expected to attend.
The day of action will begin with hundreds of cyclists from the Critical Mass movement staging a slow parade outside Brighton station.
A street party will be staged in the city centre but details of the protest are being kept secret.
McDonald’s said: “We will take any and all necessary steps to protect the welfare of our customers and staff.” An American Express spokeswoman said the firm would be keeping an eye on the situation.
Brighton and Hove Council declined to comment about being a target.
THE ANTI-MILITARIST LIST OF PROTEST TARGETS
● EDO MBM/ITT factory
● Thales E-Security
● Branches of Barclays, HSBC, RBOS/Halifax and LloydsTSB
● American Express
● BP petrol stations
● McDonald’s restaurants
● DHL Express
● London and Brighton Plating Company
● The Army recruitment office
● Police stations
● Brighton and Hove City Council town halls