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UK Feature Archive

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Export Credits Guarantee Department Occupied

02-09-2003 11:54

On 28th August campaigners occupied the offices of the Export Credits Guarantee Department (ECGD) in a protest against its role in the Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline and arms exports (see pics).

At least five people, some from London Rising Tide barricaded themselves into Brown's office and, in the spirit of participatory democracy, attempted to open a constructive dialogue with ECGD staff over the Baku-Ceyhan project.

A banner reading 'Exporting Corruption, Guaranteeing Destruction' was unfurled, but security guards for ECGD office building Exchange Tower and police refused to allow any protest to take place (including the leafletting of local shops) on Exchange Tower's private property.

In recent years the Export Credits Guarantee Department has come under increasing fire for using public money to subsidise the arms trade, for supporting projects enmeshed in gross corruption, and for failing to carry out sufficient research into the benefits of the projects it supports for local people.

Full article | 2 comments

Colombia: Mass demonstration and massive repression.

29-08-2003 18:00

pics of the demo 12th of august, Bogota
A general strike and a mass demonstration of a hundred thousand people in Bogota against the American free trade contract ALCA paralyzed Colombia on the 12th of august during the visit of Bush's trade delegate Zoellick to Colombia. [timeline of events.]
At the demonstration and from then on, repression in Colombia has increased, consisting of mass arrests of trade unionists, community and social workers and assassination attempts [AI statement].
As the conflict intensified, Juan Carlos Benavides, a journalist at the community radio Manantial Stereo in Putumayo, was murdered on the 22nd of August at a road-block set up by the guerrilla organization FARC.

"Juan Carlos was a well known community communicator in the region, always trying to support community participation and social journalism. He was an active member of the CRIS campaign, coordinated in Colombia by the local NGO Planeta Paz." From a statement of the campaign Communication Rights in the Information Society.

Full article | 5 comments

Netwide Protests against EU Software Patents Bring Temporary Victory

29-08-2003 05:33

As the cream of Europe's politicized programmers took to the streets in Brussels, much of the world's Open Source / Free Software community shut itself down voluntarily on Wednesday 27th of August in symbolic protest against proposed European Union software patents legislation.  The patents directive, prepared by Arlene McCarthy, UK Labour Member of European Parliament (MEP) for Manchester, is seen by its opponents as an attempt to introduce U.S.-style software patents into Europe in order to protect multinational corporations from innovative small software companies,  Open Source / Free Software developers, and the file-sharing habits of the vast majority of internet users.  The patents directive was scheduled for a vote on 1 September 2003, but the vote has been delayed due to the unprecedented concern in the programming community. Software patents opponents vow that they will use the extra time to organize even more effectively. 

[1] [2] [3] [4]
Audio:  Richard Stallman of GNU project speaks on software patents in Cambridge UK [mp3][ogg][text]
Text:  [1][2][3]

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DSEi Arms Fair Organisers Office Occupied

22-08-2003 20:52

protesters target Spearhead because of their involvement in the arms trade
On Thursday 21st August activists occupied the head office of Spearhead, the company organising Europe's largest arms fair, Defence Systems Equipment International (DSEi), while a large banner reading "Spearhead - DSEing with Death!" was hung from the building. See reports 1 | 2 and pics

Leaflets were also handed out to passers by, and office staff, explaining the role of Spearhead in organising DSEi, and asking staff to consider conscientiously objecting to the event. There were four arrests, but all were later released without charge.

For more on DSEi see the special DSEi 2003 Section.

Full article | 22 comments

Earth First Summer Gathering

21-08-2003 01:35

The EF logo

A report from the UK's biggest direct action gathering.

This years EF summer gathering took place over 5 days from 13th August on an idyllic nature reserve near Ripon in North Yorkshire. These gatherings have been taking place annually now for almost a decade and continue attract around 4 - 500 people each year. There is no hype, no big name speakers to tell you how it is, and no mass marketing campaign advertising the event in cities all over the UK: all very different from say, the SWP's annual 'Marxism' event in London.

Full article | 3 comments

Judicial Review Granted in RAF Fairford Coach Case

20-08-2003 01:00

fairford coach case pic
Peace campaigners have won the right to challenge police decisions to detain and prevent them from demonstrating against the war on Iraq at Fairford air base in March this year. Over 120 people from two coaches were searched, detained, and forcibly returned to London with a huge police escort. Granting permission for their judicial review case to proceed Mr Justice Richards commented that the issues it raised were "substantial" and "of importance" to merit a full High Court hearing.

Full article | 20 comments

Gillette Pulls RFID Trial - Campaign Continues

19-08-2003 10:34

Tesco protest
After protests against the trial of RFID tags by Gillette at a Tesco store in Cambridge (pics), increasing press coverage, a boycott, and the growing mobilisation of campaigners against the intrusive use of the technology, Gillette have withdrawn their trial. RFID (Radio Frequency ID) tags are small tags containing a microchip which can be 'read' by radio sensors over short distances (for background see SchNEWS Feature / 2 part Guardian Article).

Recent trials involving attaching these tags to products have raised concerns about privacy, as information on the tag could be read long after the product was purchased. Tesco is also testing RFID tags in its DVD range at the Extra store in Sandhurst, Berkshire, in a trial that has received funding from the Home Office, while Asda has just completed a similar trial in Nottingham, there are reports that Marks & Spencer plans to include smart tags in clothes from this autumn. RFID tags continue to work indefinitely and so could also be used to track people's movements. Millions are being pumped into research and while much of it focuses on supply chain and just-in-time delivery tracking, there are increasing plans to use the tags in consumer goods as well as items like travel cards and even currency.

While campaigns are showing some success (in March, Benetton was also forced to announce it was not about to insert 15m RFID tags into its Sisley clothing range after an avalanche of consumer complaints), there are darker clouds on the horizon. The proposed EU Intellectual Property Enforcement Directive (see FIPR analysis) would specifically forbid Europeans from removing or deactivating Radio Frequency (RFID) tags embedded in clothing and other consumer devices! Recently 47 organisations have joined forces to launch the Campaign for an Open Digital Environment (CODE), which aims to fight the worst parts of the directive. The directive will also give intellectual property holders (ie companies) broad subpoena powers to obtain personal information about any EU citizen allegedly connected to an infringement of IP.

Full article | 3 comments

Simon Chapman Latest

10-08-2003 15:03

Simon, arrested during the EU summit protests in Thessaloniki, is still in custody. An appeal against his charges was turned down. An International day of Solidarity for the Thessaloniki prisoners is called for Sunday 21st September.
Updates until 19 June | Ongoing updates | Simon Support Group

Full article | 1 comment

Aircraft Saboteur Bailed - Coulport Base Blockaded

10-08-2003 00:00

A die-in to blockade the front gate

Ulla Roder [1,2,audio] who last March disarmed a Tornado jet, has been released on unconditonal bail. She appeared at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court near Edinburgh for a pre-trial hearing on Tuesday 12th August where a new date was set for her trial (22nd September), with another new pre-trial hearing on the 9th September (coincidently coinciding with the DSEi protests).

In related news charges have finally been dropped against four activists who on 20th February blocked the runway of RAF Brize Norton in an attempt to disrupt preparations for war.

Meanwhile, Coulport military base in Scotland has been blockaded several times, and an International Disarment Camp has been set up - actions continue with several swimmers breaching top-security areas: News Updates: 6/8/03, 9/8/03, 11/8/03, 12/8/03 (arrest total now at 34), 15/8/03 with videos and personal report. The camp is set to run until 15th August. Following on from this Reclaim The Bases will hold their summer camp at the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) Aldermaston, from 22nd to 25th of August.

There has also been action taking place for Hiroshima day (August 6), with events in Sheffield and Faslane.
Links: Free Ulla Campaign | Trident Ploughshares | Faslane Peace Camp| Background to Hiroshima Day 2003 | Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarment

Full article | 3 comments

Repression against the Noborder Camp in Cologne, Germany

09-08-2003 18:48

fluffy puppet in front of noborder camp Cologne The Noborder Camps have reached Germany. From 31st of July till 10th of august, the city of Cologne was "Out of Controll."
Many of the camps successfull activities to highlight institutional racism, worldwide and local oppression and opposing organised neonazis would have gone unnoticed, but the police repression on Saturday caused an international outcry and drew attention to the camp [pics 1,2,pics on IMC Istanbul,feature on Global IMC, feature on Italy IMC,IMC Poland, IMC Sweden,IMC Athens,IMC Paris,IMC Lille,collection of videoclips, see also Statewatch Report].
A Forum with discussions and workshops was accompanying the noborder camp. [invitation,program]
The next noborder actions are announced for Sept.11-14th when anti-rascist activists will be gathering in Nuremberg and Fürth.

For more information about the police repression and the activities at and of the camp, please read the entire feature.

Full article | 9 comments

US forces used napalm in Iraq, then lied about it

08-08-2003 20:00

Despite previous denials from the Pentagon, the US military are now admitting that napalm, or a very similar chemical weapon, was used by their forces during the recent invasion of Iraq, despite a United Nations convention banning its use.

Now reports are coming from members of Red Cross International who have broken the prohibition of speaking out about what they see in the USA-run detention camp of Gulag – Camp Cropper, on the outskirts of Baghdad International Airport. They have told Amnesty International about the shocking conditions in which 3000 Iraqi prisoners, most of whom have not even been charged, are held.

Full article | 2 comments

In the run up to DSEi 2003.

08-08-2003 14:35

DSEi exhibitor Smiths Aerospace is targeted by activists
Six activists gained entry to the Smiths Aerospace production plane in Wolverhampton on Thursday and climbed to the roof of the two storey office unit at the front of the factory. They stayed on the roof throughout the afternoon. At the same time another group of activists carried out a makeshift ‘weapons inspection’ gaining entrance to sensitive production areas.

Roof Top Protest at Smiths Aerospace - West Midlands

Full article | 1 comment

2003: The summer of Resistance Camping

08-08-2003 00:57

Being on-line (both washing and internet wise) at the CCC 01
The summer of Resistance Camping is still ongoing. Starting of with the convergence of protesters against the G8 in Evian, tents and food kitchen have moved on to the noborder camps and various other activist gatherings in the sun, organised around particular pressing issues, such as computing (also see WSIS [1,2]), antinuke or ecology.

Full article | 10 comments webmaster sentenced to one year in jail

07-08-2003 01:02

"If I go to jail, then I will go to jail not based on my actions, but based on what I think" - Sherman Austin.

The shut down of Raise The Fist website was first reported on LA Indymedia and San Fransisco Indymedia when the heavily armed FBI raided the home of the webmaster in February 2002.

Now, on August 4th 2003, the court ruled one year in prison, exceeding everybodys expectation. Sherman took a plea bargain because he feared his case was eligible for a terrorism enhancement, which could have added 20 years to his sentence. The plea deal had called for him to serve four months. more info.

An Audio report is available on Radio4all.

Full article

Actions at Oakington Detention Centre

06-08-2003 17:03

Migrants detained at Oakington Detention Centre near Cambridge have been taking action to resist their imprisonment. Over the last week they have been on hunger strike, held sit down protests and refused to be counted at muster. Local people from Cambridgeshire Against Refugee Detention held a solidarity action outside the centre.

Video coverage of this action is now available.

Full article | 1 comment

Tearing down the wall

06-08-2003 11:48

the wall

Update 8.8:The last protester detained has now been released. See also anaylsis and editorial for August 7 on IMC-Israel

Latest from IMC-Israel, 6.8.: 1 2

Breaking news 5.8.2003: Indymedia Israel reports 45 detained,3 arrested in protests in Mas'ha against seperation wall.

For a year now, Palestinian, Israeli and international peace activists have been calling attention to the building of the Separation Wall by Israel in Palestinian areas. Although it is the most acute threat to Palestinians getting bigger as we speak, the US sponsored Road Map to peace nor the corporate media paid attention to their pleas. But, this month it seems that finally the world is starting to listen. Dozens of pictures on the mainstream newswires and heated debates on Indymedia UK, and yes, protests too!

Full article | 1 comment

Ecuadorian Goverment adopts 'new' oil policy to expand drillling in the Amazon.

05-08-2003 18:38

protest against the building of the oilpipeline in Equador
Recent actions by the Ecuadorian Government appear to confirm fears that new oil concessions will be made in the near future, affecting millions of acres of pristine Amazonian rainforest and their indigenous inhabitants.

Full article

Italy Noborder Actions: Migrants escape from Detention Jails

04-08-2003 18:40

refugees escape from detention centre during noborder camp
Puglia Noborder Camp.
On 27 July, more than 100 activists from the noborder camp in Frassanito/Puglia, have peacefully invaded the "First Hospitality Centre" in Bari Palese. [pics].
Some migrants managed to escape. This was preceded by a first demo on 24 July, followed by a 1000 strong demo on 26 Juy [pic & report (it)]

On July 28, 22 migrants escaped a detention center in Turin after a demonstration in the afternoon [report].

Full article

Summer of Resistance Europe 2001

30-07-2003 00:00

Timeline and reports from Summer of Resistance actions in Genoa, July 2001

Full article | 1 comment

New EU Constitution threatens free education

24-07-2003 20:03

As a result of massive campaigns against the WTO's General Agreement in Trade and Services (GATS), the European Commission announced that European Higher Education will not be included in the current GATS negotiations.

However, a new threat looms because the EC merely proposed to drop public services such as public health and education from the GATS negotiations, but now such propstitions can be vetoed by any single EU member state if the new EU constitiution goes through unamended.

GATS has long since been a controverisial issue, with many groups like the student envionmental, trade justice and human rights network People and Planet, War on Want, Friends of the Earth, and the World Development Movementall opposing this WTO agreement that could bring misery and poverty for millions, if not billons of people worldwide.

Past Indymedia articles explaining GATS and about actions against the GATS:1 2 3

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