The campaign opposes the activities of Brimar, a Manchester-based company which makes military components used by the British and American armies in Iraq and Afghanistan and by Israeli forces in Palestine and Lebanon, and which have also been sold to other militaries around the world. Although the company stresses the 'situational awareness' and defensive role of many of the items it manufactures, it also contributes parts to F16 fighters, Apache attack helicopters and Javelin missiles and lists 'target acquisition systems' for ground-launched missiles amongst its products.
In sunny weather the demonstration – which included generations of Manchester residents, from babies to veteran peace campaigners – started peacefully and in good spirits. Meeting at the Gardeners Arms roundabout in Moston, it proceeded along the Greengate to the industrial estate where Brimar's factory is sited, where food and a children's play area had been set up. The procession included Critical Mass cyclists, banners and music.
Unfortunately, during the talks and music which followed, Oldham Police chose to abuse their power by arresting three co-defendants from the Edo Decommissioners trial who were present to show their support for the Target Brimar campaign. The three were arrested for allegedly breaching draconian bail conditions which specify that various co-defendants are not allowed to communicate with one another. Witnesses at the demonstration stressed that the three had deliberately not been communicating with one another and were appalled to see that being in the same geographical area was regarded by Oldham Police as grounds to haul them away, threatening other people with arrest when they tried to intervene.
The Target Brimar demonstration continued after the arrests and wound up early to allow supporters to head to Oldham police station to offer solidarity to the arrested three.
The Target Brimar campaign would also like to express its solidarity and respect for the Edo Decommissioners and their principled action in January this year in carrying out an accountable action which destroyed up to £300,000 worth of equipment used by Edo in Brighton to produce weapons components involved in massive human rights abuses in Palestine, Pakistan and other conflict zones.
At the time of writing, supporters at Oldham police station have been informed that the three will be taken to Brighton for a hearing next week (w/c 19th October 2009) but that the time of their transportation is in the hands, not of Oldham Police, but of the private Group 4 security company.
For more information on future Target Brimar campaign plans, see http://www.targetbrimar.org.uk/