UK Feature Archive
On Wednesday, May 12th 2004 at 8.30am, Caterpillar Out of Palestine arrived at Caterpillar offices near Solihull to present them with their well-deserved Homewrecker of the Year Award, and to ask the employees to take up the issue of arms sales to Israel with the company. Unfortunately, the employees were too shy to leave the building. So the following morning the protesters decided join them for breakfast in the car park as they arrived for work.
UNWRA recently reported that 131 civilian homes had been destroyed in Gaza in the first ten days of May alone. CAT financial corp report that company profits had risen by 41% to $457 million this quarter. While CAT’s profits rocket, CAT machinery is instrumental in the occupation.
On Tuesday 11 May, a greenwash business conference took place in north London under the name of 'What's the Point of Corporate Responsibility', organised by Ethical Corporation magazine. Seminars at this conference, which was attended by the likes of Shell, BP, Gap, McDonalds, Coca-Cola, Levi Strauss and Marks & Spencer, included discussion-topics such as "Why should Chief Executives take Corporate Responsibility seriously?", "Is Corporate Responsibility simply another management fad?" and "How smart companies are using CR for commercial objectives."
In the late afternoon around sixty demonstrators congregated outside the Marriott Hotel in Swiss Cottage, where the conference was taking place, and engaged in a festive protest whilst refusing to accept the absurd proposition that corporations actually want to be held accountable. The picket was called under the name of "Corporate Responsibility? You're Having A Laugh!". The protestors included a samba band, activists of the Colombia Solidarity Campaign and London Rising Tide, and comedian Mark Thomas, who managed to avoid the £295 registration fee and blagg his way into one of the conference's seminars where he pressed the panel with questions from the floor. Report and Photos
May 9 2004: Anti-Trident protesters twice stopped a nuclear weapons convoy in Stirling and Balloch. 6 People were arrested. The protesters were from Trident Ploughshares, Stirling CND and Faslane Peace Camp.
Again a Nuke transport has been halted on the Scottish roads. The MoD regularly organises convoys to take Trident warheads to and from the Burghfield assembly plant to the Coulport store to be checked and maintained. Each warhead is believed to have the destructive power of 8 times the bomb which was dropped on Hiroshima.
A network of ordinary people called across the UK watch Nuke transports closely.[press release from Trident Ploughshares]
Mayday 2004: A weekend of protests around the world. In Europe the focal points of protest and mobilisation have been three main cities of three different countries. Here in the UK there were innovative protests in many cities on Saturday 1st.
Update Wed 12 May - Read an Evaluation of IMC Facilities in Dublin (EU Mayday Mobilisation) by some IMC-UK volunteers.
Update Wed 5 May - Twelve people have been remanded in custody for another week in Dublin on public order charges following Saturday evening's MayDay protests.
Read a text by participants of the 'Anarchist Confrontational Bloc' in the demonstration to Farmleigh: "Why we pushed through police lines". [pics].
Update Mon 3 May - The weekend of protests against the EU Summit in Dublin continued with prisoner solidarity demonstrations outside the prisons and with a Reclaim the Streets party. Timeline of events, [pics]
In Dublin as the EU 'enlargement' summit got underway a weekend of protests started with the largest Critical Mass the city had ever seen. There were solidarity protests outside the prison where uk nationals are being held.
On Saturday there was a 'No Borders Protests' against fortress europe, a march for Another Europe [Photos|Video]. A private park was opened to the public . The day finished with Bring the Noise demonstration towards the EU summit where police attacked the marchers with water cannon and battons. IMC-IE Timeline and Reports | IMC-IE Feature.
Barcelona and Milano were the focus points for this year's Euromayday against 'precariousness and social exclusion.' Berlin saw clashes between left and neo-nazis, and with the police protecting them..
Local UK reports
Actions seen in cities around the country.
London hosted the most successful Critical Mass, as a 10th anniversary ride. There were protests, actions and demonstrations including the TUC traditional demonstration, a Disarm DSEI Mayday Action, an Anarchist Mayday Cricket and a Mayday Picnic in Hyde Park.
In Glasgow, a Mayday Carnival [1 | 2 | 3 ] has been called, as well as a march and rally in Edinburgh, whilst in Bradford there are plans for "Mayday Mayhem." In Lancaster, Preston and Burnley, the ‘Mayday Mayhem Roadshow’ reclaimed the weekend with gigs and info displays, a rally and a picnic [pix 1/2].
More report roundup
Friday April 30 - This year's Mayday celebrations started with Critical Mass cycle rides in Dublin and London. Dublin saw the biggest ever Critical Mass in the city when over 500 people defied over two months of media hysteria and took to the streets in a festive atmosphere [Report | Photos: 1 | 2 | 3 | Videos: 1, 2 and 3]. In London up to 1,500 people participated in the 10th Anniversary of London's Critical Mass. [Reports and Photos 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | Pic Gallery ] Also, the offices of Spearhead Exhibitions, organisers of DSEi, Europe's largest arms fair, and Reed Exhibitons, their parent company were visited by protestors.
Saturday May 1 - actions and celebrations in the UK started early in the morning. In Oxford crowds gathered to see the Mayday dawn for a Wake Up! Wake Up! It's Yer Samba breakfast!!. Later in the morning a demonstration took place in Nottingham. In London the annual TUC Mayday march ended in Trafalgar Sq [Photos: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5], Also, London Animal Action supporters demonstrated in the Soho area [Photos: 1 | 2] In Cambridge activists set up a non-commercial space within a shopping centre and were dragged out by security guards [Action's leaflet][report][video]. In Sheffield the Social Forum organised a protest against debt and poverty [photos] In Manchester there was a mad picnic and a critical mass. In Nottingham there was a march from Robin Hood Statue to Market Square. In Lancaster, Preston and Burnley Mayday Mayhem was celebrated with several events, including a picnic (pix1/2, gigs, rallies and film showings.
In Dublin, a private park in the centre of the city was opened and occupied; around 100 people participated in a No Borders demonstration [reports 1|2]. Video footage of the march in Dublin, called by mainstream left wing groups.
At 6pm a crowd of about 3000 people gathered for the Bring The Noise March to the EU Summit. At around 8.30pm tension increased when riot police brought in water cannons trying to disperse the crowd. Clashes between demonstrators and riot police occurred, with the result of 25 people arrested and several injured [Statement: "Why we pushed through police lines",First hand account]. At around 11.30pm the crowd finally dispersed. Photos: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9. Videos: 1 | 2. Reports: 1 | 2. Irish tabloid coverage 1| 2.
In Barcelona, the Euromayday Parade started at 6.00 in the afternoon with a 10 to 15,000 strong crowd marching towards the city centre Photos: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 and Video.
At the end of the demo and around 11pm, the old police station of Via Layetana was temporarily occupied by a large crowd [Video]. Riot police eventually moved in and charged those around the area whilst evicting the squatted building. People did then reagroup in Portal del Angel where heavy police charges also took place, with the result of several people being injured and taken to hospital. At around midnight, the organisers of the Parade decided to call off the mobilisations for the day. Read a report and first hand account of the day.
In Milano, the Parade was joined by between 80 and 100,000 people marching through the city centre, dancing to the sounds of several sound-systems, and doing some actions along the way. Photos: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15. Photo Galleries: 1 | 2
Monday May 3 - The Mayday weekend of actions against the EU 'enlargement' Summit continued in Dublin. A Reclaim the Streets was joined by around 600 people in the city centre. The party started at 3 pm and went on untill well into the evening. As the street party was winding down at around 9.30pm, reports came in of police activity in the surrounding area.
Timeline of Events | First hand report | Photos | Video.
And last but not least Mayday 2004 marks the 4th anniversary of Indymedia UK. Happy birthday IMC-UK!
Last weekend saw many communities across Britain take to the streets in protest against the fascist BNP and its allies. The BNP have found a fertile breeding ground in the current climate of racism generated as part of Bush and Blair's war drive, combined with mainstream press and politicians making asylum seekers into society's scapegoats. They are now launching the biggest ever fascist electoral offensive in postwar Britain, in the run up to the Euro-elections. However, more and more people are waking up and responding to this danger.In Altrincham, near Manchester protesters ambushed the car of Le Pen, while in Wickford, Essex, a protest by local villagers stopped the BNP from assembling outside their rail station. There were also protests against fascist activities in South London, Birmingham and North Wales, amongst others. These may mark the opening skirmishes of one of the greatest battles for a generation in the long struggle to keep Britain free from fascism.
Research by the Independent Race and Refugee News Network which was based on on exit polls of 539 voters and focus groups, was carried out during local government elections in autumn 2003 in Burnley, Oldham and Calderdale indicates that, "the younger one is the more likely one is to vote BNP. Around one in three of 18-25 year-olds said that they voted for the BNP... hardly anyone in the 18-25 category voted Labour. In this age group, large numbers of young men have been attracted to the BNP's message - making it the only party whose support is predominantly male." See the Who votes BNP? article on their site for more about their research (conducted by the Searchlight Educational Trust and Vision 21) which concludes that "The bad news for those opposed to the BNP is that support for the party is not based on apathy and general disgruntlement but positive endorsement for their policies among a core of young men."
Between 26-28 April representatives from 300 companies - including Shell, ExxonMobil, ChevronTexaco and US arms manufacturer Raytheon – will be attending a business conference in London entitled Iraq Procurement 2004: Meet the Buyers. They will be meeting members of the US occupation authority, the US-installed Iraqi “government”, and wealthy Iraqi business-people to discuss "the wide range of opportunities available" to make a profit out of the increasingly blood-soaked occupation of Iraq. The conference takes place in the context of a series of new laws passed by the US last September, that "effectively put [Iraq] up for sale" to foreign investors (Guardian, 22 Sept. 2003)
A growing body of evidence that the way in which the Bush administration has been "treating [reconstruction] contracts as prizes to be handed to their friends" has been "delaying Iraq's recovery, with potentially catastrophic consequences" (economist Paul Krugman, New York Times, 30thSept. 2003) On the other hand, US attempts to ‘restructure’ (rather than cancel) Iraq’s odious debts, attempts likely to "rob Iraq of [its] economic freedom by requiring that it adhere to an IMF structural adjustment program" (Jubilee Iraq). All of this as a backdrop for the killing of over 600 people in the US siege of Fallujah, "the vast majority of [whom] were women, children and the elderly" according to the director of the town’s general hospital (Guardian, 12 April)
A protest to coincide with the gala dinner for the business conference 'Iraq Procurement 2004' was called for Tuesday 27th April. See Photos: 1 | 2 | Protest website.
Read more on the Iraq Procurement conference [here.
Voices in the Wilderness UK has been campaigning on Iraq for the last six years. To visit the Iraqi procurement website and see the blatant carve up of Iraq see The Iraqi Procurement Conference where you can check out their agenda for the event.
What happens during a seven-day experiment in life without TV? A whole new space to think emerges. You find yourself passing time in ways you never expected. And you start to wonder: when I reach for the remote, who is really in control?. Last April 5 million people switched off.
April 19-25 2004 marks this year's annual TV Turnoff 2004, a seven day celebration of tube-free existence. What will you be up to? Meeting neighbours, smashing up TVs, or just opting out? Maybe you could just switch to Manchester's Beyond TV and London's Pirate TV. Whilst you decide you could have a look at these action ideas, or to some related website links, or even you could download and distribute these MP3's and spots 1 + 2.
Fewer and fewer people control the media that shapes our worldview. And nowhere does this play out worse than on our televisions, where the corporate agenda reigns supreme. The media's role seems to primarily be that of feeding society with one-way stories, infotainment and mind-numbing hype. To keep us amused, but rarely informed or inspired. How can we move past this malaise, beyond the hollow din of reality shows and celebrity news, and back to a life that matters?. TV Turnoff 2004 is no ordinary social ritual, it is a statement against the dead-end couch culture. And when millions of people let the screen fade to black this year, they’ll also be helping to build the Media Carta movement, a campaign for the right of all citizens to access society’s most powerful forms of communication.
Easter Saturday, 10th of April, a peaceful demonstration of Zaptistas got attacked with stones, guns and fireworks in the highlands of Chiapas near San Cristobal de las Casas.
Result of the ambush: 29 Zapatistas injured, and 3 seriously, one with life threatening injuries.
More information, reports and pictures on Chiapas Indymedia or on La Jornada, [en] | Photo gallery Jechvó/Zinacantán
Update (13.4.2004): Manuel Gomez Hernandez, one of those wounded in the attack , is in critical condition in hospital with a machete wound to the head, it is in the balance whether he will survive or not.
The Zapatistas in the hospital in San Cristobal de Las Casas are suffering poor medical attention and even worse are being harrassed constantly by the police.
125 zapatista families have fled their homes in the municipality of Zinacantan, Los Altos, Chiapas, fearing attack by militants of the PRD (Revolutionary Democratic Party).
A press conference by ngos including the network of community human rights defenders and solidarity protests are called for.
Sign an international letter of support with the Zapatistas (esp) from Barcelona's Zapatista Solidarity Collective.
SchNEWS is celebrating its 10th anniversary with a tour across the UK from April 10th to 30th. The weekly direct action news sheet was born in a squatted Courthouse in 1994 as part of Justice?, Brighton's campaign against the Criminal Justice Act. It has been part of the anti road protests [M11 1 + 2, Newbury], the big Reclaim The Streets events of the nineties, worker’s struggles such as the Liverpool Dockers, fights against privatisation of public services and many activities around social centres and sustainable futures.
Since the PGA conference in 1998, SchNEWS includes global news: the Global Street Party at the G7 Summit in Birmingham, J18, the WTO protests in Seattle, Nov 1999, which brought the anti-capitalism movement to the attention of the world and marks the beginning of the indymedia network.
In the spirit of the 90s uk protest movements, SchNEWs links up party & protest, and excels in a tongue-in-cheek approach to authorities (crap arrest of the week). The anniversary tour includes workshops on alternative media, short films, info on the upcoming G8 summit in Britain [dissent], launch of the Indymedia handbook, music, party ...
Update4: Saturday the 17th of April - Jo's account of the continued siege and her kidnapping and release."You look for ways out. You wonder whether they're going to kill you, make demands for your release, if they'll hurt you. You wait for the knives and the guns and the video camera. You tell yourself you're going to be OK."
Update3: Tuesday the 13th of April - Jo Wilding's amazing eyewitness reports of the situation in Fallujah are now available. She describes American attacks on unarmed civilians and ambulances in Fallujah: "Snipers are causing not just carnage but also the paralysis of the ambulance and evacuation services. The biggest hospital after the main one was bombed is in US territory and cut off from the clinic by snipers. The ambulance has been repaired four times after bullet damage. Bodies are lying in the streets because no one can go to collect them without being shot." Hundreds of people are being killed - the situation in Fallujah is catastrophic.
Update2: Tuesday the 13th of April - Due to the refusal of new Iraqi army units to attack Fallujah, the U.S. is now hoping to recruit senior former commanders from Saddam Hussein's Ba'athist security forces to ensure that there are "well-formed Iraqi chains of command."
Update1: Monday the 12th of April - Eyewitness acount from Dahr Jamail in Fallujah. Dahr Jamail is the Baghdad correspondent for the New Statesman.
Sat 10th April: As anti-occupation demonstrations erupted all over Iraq, the town of Fallujah, a flash-point for resistance was besieged by three battalions of American troops. The death toll in the town so far is being reported as 500 dead and 1200-1700 wounded. There were unconfirmed reports of B-52 bomber strikes and U.S. Apache helicopters attacking civilians as they try to flee the city. Eyewitness reports from Iraq contradicted American generals who claim that they are currently observing a ceasefire.
I just spoke to friends in Baghdad - Paola Gaspiroli, Italian, from Occupation Watch and Bridges to Baghdad, journalist Leigh Gordon, England, (NUJ, Tribune, Mail on Sunday) and a Palestinian friend with family in Falluja and friends in the Iraqi Islamic Party. Both he and Leigh have been ferrying out the injured from Falluja to Baghdad for the past three days. Ambulances have been barred from entry into the blood-drenched city. Here is their news, which they told me over the telephone on Friday the 9th of April.
Eyewitness Reports: Paola | Friend | Leigh Gordon
Audio Reports: Ewa Jasiewicz, Glasgow [1, 2, 3] | Paola Gaspiroli, Iraq
Other Reports: What You Can Do | View from Baghdad | Baghdad Burning | Palestine and Iraq | Mission Accomplished? | Jo Wilding on Hostages | From Liberation to Jihad | Background Info on Fallujah
Meanwhile, on Sunday 11 an emergency demonstration took place outside Downing St in London. Around 80 people gathered in a picket to show their repulse to the latest military attacks against civilians in Iraq. Photos: 1 + 2.
Update April 15: Direct action over Easter weekend saves the Roundhouse [Photos and ReportsOver Easter, sympathisers from across England and Wales, are converging on the Pembrokeshire National Park to protest at the ordered demolition of Tony Wrench's roundhouse (see previous feature) and the double standards displayed by the planning authority who have given outline permission for a Bluestones holiday centre in the park, consisting of 340 log cabins imported from Eastern Europe, and 60 studio flats.
The protesters plan to occupy land in the Park, erect another turf-roofed roundhouse, and to hold an "Ideal Low Impact Home Exhibition" (see info).
See The Land Is Ours
Press hysteria and propaganda around this years Mayday has been mounting over in Ireland, where the latest headline to hit the streets revealing that troops will be drafted in to "Put Down" EU protests!
All of the media reporting so far about Mayday in Dublin has concentrated almost exclusively on "violent" protesters, while no evidence has been presented of a real risk of violence, and barely a mention has been made of the reasons that people will be protesting.
Indymedia Ireland comments:
"The corporate media is creating the climate for repression. They are trying to drive people away from protests and creating the climate where the police can smash the protests with force."
See Indymedia Features, Analysis, and Reports:
Irish Independent Piles On The Mayday Hysteria Mar 27
Demonstrators Challenge Anonymous Smear Campaign Mar 26
What to do about 'Anarchist Menace' Corporate Journalists? Mar 23
Pre-EU Mayday Press Propaganda! Oh YES! - Associated Newspapers in Ireland
Requiring Army Deployment? Was her Editor Drunk Too?
The media madness will be familiar to those who have followed the sad excuse for journalism rolled out every year, for the last four years, ahead of Mayday protests in London, which has been riddled with factual mistakes, bare faced lies, so called intelligence from so called "intgelligence sources", and quite ridiculous claims.
So far this years coverage from this side of the Irish Sea has focussed on the "Mayday Cancelled" statement from some members of the Mayday Collective, which says that the usual large autonomous protest in London is not being planned this year by the Mayday Collective, and explains some of the reasons for that, citing increasing levels of police repression, and calls for a more open dicsussion of politics and goals. Thus far coverage from the BBC and the Evening Standard has failed to mention the Mayday EU events in Dublin (see reports 1, 2).
Events in Dublin framed as "Say no to Fortress Europe - A Mayday No Borders weekend", include a week of cultural events, exhibitions, screenings, workshops, and much street theatre and visual actions focussing on asylum seekers and refugees, housing, recycling, anti-war and public/private space. There's also a Critical Mass Bicycle protest, a Noise protest at the EU Ministers Dinner, a No Borders Camp, and a Reclaim The Streets Party (see Audio/Video).
The usual Dublin Mayday march by Trade Unions has been cancelled, making way for the official EU enlargement celebrations, however the Another Europe is Possible Coalition will still be demonstrating on May 1st with a carnival parade in central Dublin. Meanwhile the BBC/RTE 10,000+ "Beautiful Night" concert has been cancelled after the Irish Cabinet decided the closure of O'Connell Street and adjoining areas for five days before the event would be unacceptable.
Indymedia Ireland will be reporting the protests, as well as holding a series of events entitled "Another View of Europe" (April 23rd - May 3rd), including screenings, exhibitions and workshops from the European Independent Media network, with a major theme being Independent media from the countries joining the EU, as well as events at the Sustainable Living Convergence Festival.
In London plans for the traditional TUC backed Trade Union march are going ahead, assembling at Clerkenwell Green at 12 noon and marching to Trafalgar Square where there will be speakers from the Stop the War Coalition, Globalise Resistance and Ken Livingstone, the Mayor of London. There has also been a Disarm DSEi Mayday Action call in London for April 30th [Flyer]. There are also plans for Mayday events in other towns and cities across the UK, including Lancaster.
See: Mayday No Borders weekend in Dublin (main site)
Indymedia Ireland EU / Mayday Section | Indymedia UK Mayday 2004 Section
Wombles Mayday Section | TUC March in London
When a government announces commercialisation of a GM crop, and then three weeks later, the very large multinational company responsible withdraws it from commercialisation, it would be a fair assumption that someone, somewhere, has put a spanner in the works.
An office occupation of a Marshalls PLC building took place on Thursday 25th March in Elland, West Yorkshire, as a group of up to 25 activists from Yorkshire, Manchester, Derbyshire and Lancashire decided to ram home the message that corporate exploitation and destruction of our woodlands will not go unchallenged (see photos). The following day people also blockaded and occupied a Marshalls depot in Mansfield Woodhouse.
Marshalls is a huge multinational company specialising in landscape and construction materials, especially stone. Marshalls is a particularly 'hot' target at the moment as its subsidiary Stancliffe Stone is behind the plan to quarry the hillside below Stanton Moor, right next to the Nine Ladies Stone Circle. This insidious plan to quarry a place of rare natural beauty in the middle of the Peak District National Park has been up to now unsuccessful due to the fight put up by the people at the Nine Ladies protest camp. Marshalls however has recently stepped up the pressure to evict the camp and go ahead with the quarrying despite objections from a whole range of actors. Read Latest Camp Update including photos (27/03/04)
Sherwood Tree Camp: Possible Eviction Alert (week beginning 29/03/04), despite a 30 day "safe period", during which an independant survey is being conducted - read campaign report update.
A new tree occupation started on Thursday 25th March against the proposed F5 road scheme, planned for the A1159 Priory Crescent north, Southend on Sea, Essex. Meanwhile Bilston Glen Protest Site has a Free Cafe on Saturday 4th April
Harvey Nichols owns 5 shops in the UK and animal rights groups protested outside them for months as they sold clothes made of rabbit, fox and raccoon fur. A few days before a national day of action, the company officially withdrew all its fur and announced that it would not be selling it again.
Manchester's Campaign Against the Fur Trade group have been involved in a national campaign that has relentlessly targetted this company. Every Saturday, protestors peacefully stood outside, handing out leaflets and talking to shoppers, encouraging them to complain to the management about the fur inside the shop.
Early in the morning on Tuesday 23rd March, around 70 Police, Bailiffs and specialist climbers and tunnellers began evicting the tree camps at Blackwood in South Wales - where locals have been campaigning against a new road for over a decade [Pics]. Around 10 people were arrested as they resisted in the trees, on walkways, in nets and in a tunnel, some after breaching cordons. At Camp Kerry, one brave activist still remained at the end of the day, and was able to climb down without being arrested. Most of the trees were destroyed, but campaigners say they will continue to resist.
See Report and Pictures | 1 | 2
Also see collected reports (and pics): Bristol | UK
Evictions continued throughout Wednesday as Bailiffs cut people out of lock-ons and most of the remaining trees were destroyed. Some campaigners remain camped on private land next to the road route and are determined to continue opposing the road scheme. See Report | 2 | 3
Meanwhile in London an attempted eviction was also taking place in Kentish Town. At mid morning bailiffs arrived at several flats that have been home to a group of squatters for some months. Some of the occupiers took to the roof, whilst a crowd of around 100 people gathered in the road in front of the building.
There were protests in several cities around the country, including Glasgow [1,2, 3] and Bristol [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. In London the Stop The War Coalition demonstration saw tens of thousands filling the streets throughout the afternoon in a march from Hyde Park to Trafalgar Square (see photo reports: one, two).
Photos: 1| 2| 3| 4| 5| 6| 7| 8| 9| 10| 11| 12| 13| 14| 15
Videos: 1 | 2 | 3
Read report of an arrest after videoing a police FIT team.
Earlier two Greenpeace climbers had scaled Big Ben to unfurl a banner reading "Time For Truth". (NB the Indymedia UK servers were down for much of the day and throughout much of the evening)
Video from Dublin | Video & Photos from NYC | Report and Pics from Barcelona | Photo Gallery from Madrid 1+2+3
On Friday March 19th Yorkshire CND held a mass non-violent blockade at the key US military base Menwith Hill, near Harrogate, Yorkshire, UK. They blocked 3 gates completely causing tailbacks for hours and massively disturbing the shift change-over. Menwith Hill felt compelled to issue a statement which is amazing since they never, ever speak to anyone.
"BLOCK THE BASE" started in freezing driving rain by 5am in the morning with protesters who had stayed in Leeds overnight blockading the base. Many protesters were met by police waiting for them. Yet they managed to block all four gates, many locking into place. Throughout the morning the protest was joined by more people.
The shift change, between 5.30 and 7.30, was a traffic jam. Police had moved pretty fast to try and clear two gates. Reports were they were pretty brutal with dangerous use of cutting equipment. Yorkshire CND said that despite liason some of the police behaved disgracefully and there were definite cases of extreme excessive force and violence. They want as much information and pictures as possible from anyone that was there to collect evidence. [more in article]. By 7am most of the protesters at gate one had been removed and were waiting wet and cold to be arrested. In all 30 people were arrested. Others gates were still blocked. Protesters were still arriving and demonstrating all around the base.
Despite Met Police and BP security, London Rising Tide held aloft their banner, which read 'NGOs fuel climate chaos'. Prior to the meeting inside London Rising Tide had distributed and circulated information about the Baku Ceyhan pipeline and about Tangguh to all invitees.
According to an ironic BP report, the development, tapping Asia's largest untapped natural gas fields cites some of the following environmental impacts: Gas emissions including sulphur dioxide, carbon dioxide, waste from gas drilling including mercury and contaminated activated carbon, placing a higher burden on local ecosystem, interfering with local fishing, shrimping and ecology of the Bay. The local communities remain poorly informed of such enterprises that affect them and their future. Chief NGOs collaborating with BP on Tangguh appeared to be the World Wildlife Fund and Conservation International.
Read full report and background
Also see: London Rising Tide | Burning Planet | Report by Down to Earth
Read more on this event and pictures