UK Feature Archive
The Venezuelan referendum on the left-wing presidency of Hugo Chavez began at 6:00 am (Venezuelan time), 11am BST, today. Indymedia UK is getting live reports from the streets of Caracas and are distilling news from other media sources as they become available. Things have been calm so far, but tensions are expected to rise during the vote.
Full timeline reports in the article, please read on.
Newswire Reports[ 1 ] [ 2 ] [ 3 ] [ 4 ] [ 5 ] [ 6 ] [ 7 ] [ 8 ]
Photos[ 1 ]
Videos [ 1 ] [ 2
Zmag Reports [ 1 ][ 2 ]
Campaign groups "Voices in the Wilderness" and "Iraq Occupation Focus" call for an emergency vigil at 10 Downing Street in Central London on Sunday, 15 th of August, Noon -2 pm to protest against the latest military attacks in Iraq. Densely-populated Iraqi cities are under fire from US-UK forces. On Thursday, more than 75 Iraqis were killed in the US bombardment of Kut. British troops have killed at least twenty in their assault on Amara.
The attack on Najaf, led by US warplanes, has been condemned by public opinion across Iraq. Sixteen members of Najaf's 30 member provincial council have resigned in protest at the assault.
In the last 48 hours, hundreds of civilians have been killed by occupying forces in the cities of Najaf, Kut, Sadr City, Sammara, Nasiriya, Amara, Basra, Ramadi and elsewhere.
This Sunday, Venezuelans will vote on whether to keep their controversial president, Hugo Chávez. Elected with a promise to redistribute Venezuela's enormous oil wealth (before Chávez it was the number one supplier to the US) this referendum will be a chance to find out if he still has the support of the people. Having failed to oust him with a traditional (US backed)coup in 2002, and a general "strike" (bosses lock-out) the following Christmas, the opposition's referendum might actually end up strengthening his legitimacy.
This week, groups in London held a week of solidarity with the Venezuelan people and their right to self-determination without US interference. Daily events (see programme) took place at the rampART creative centre in Whitechapel, starting on Monday 9th with the opening of a "Latinamerican Liberation" exhibition. The main event is a picket of the US Embassy on the day of the referendum, Sunday 15th, from 2pm; meet beforehand in Hyde Park near Speakers' Corner for a 'Bolivarian picnic'.
New topic created: See Venezuela 2004 for all related posts.
Around seventy protesters "took back the streets" in an action in Edinburgh on Saturday 31st of July, 2004. Several sit-down protests were held, and Princes Street was seized before moving on to Tollcross, where two people were arrested.
[ full report with pictures | call for street party | Reclaim the Streets]
A broad umbrella group of 26 people from various environmental, academic and economical organisations and members from four Native American tribes, travelled to Scotland from Southern Oregon and Northern California to lobby, protest at and negotiate with Scottish Power, the parent company of PacifiCorp, which is responsible for the negative impacts of several dams on the Klamath River, its water quality, salmon population, surrounding environment and neighbouring communities.
[ pictures of protest at Scottish Power's annual shareholders meeting | call to write protest letters | reply to consumer boycott | Klamath river support delegation in Scotland | U.S. Court Rules in Favor Of Hoopa Valley, Yurok Tribes! | Native Americans, Enviros, and Fishermen Battle Scottish Power | Myth and facts about the Klamath River dams ]
[ interview with scientist | interview with Klamath Tribe | interview with sociologist | Interview with commercial fisherman | interview with Yurok tribe | Environmental Racism Conference 1 | Environmental Racism Conference, Eugene, January 2004 ]
Update 10 August: After 21 days out, the longest bus strike for 30 years is over, see victory after 21 days.
A significant all out strike is under way by 800 bus drivers employed by First Bus, a major multinational with annual profits in excess of £160m, the strike has been solid as it goes into its second week.
Drivers are striking for a 40 hour week, a reduction of the maximum hours a day to eight-and-a-half hours and a quicker increase in pay for 'starter rate' drivers, who currently have to wait three and a half years to earn more than £5.85 an hour! Steve Clark, the regional organiser for the TGWU, says "Clearly we are in for the long haul".
Early last week activists occupied the Australian Consular Offices in Manchester in a protest against old growth logging in Australia. After seeing the destruction caused by logging in areas such as Victoria and Tasmania activists in the UK decided to target the Australian consulate.
Australia is home to some amazing areas of “old growth” rainforest, which have remained relatively unaltered by humans for thousands of years. Now, it is being felled at an alarming rate, even in supposedly “protected” areas.
In Tasmania, 90% of native forest felled is converted into woodchip for the Asian paper industry. Thus, priceless ancient forest is trashed and sold for $15 (less than £6) per tonne to make cardboard. There are huge campaigns against this logging in Australia, involving direct action blockades, tree-sits, marches and rallies, lobbying, and more.
While the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, the Netherlands, prepares to give its advisory opinion on the Apartheid Wall on July 9th, the Wall in Palestine continues to destroy lives and lands at an ever-increasing pace. Four months of court deliberations have prompted international political immobility, but Palestinian resistance is growing. Whole villages have risen up to stop the Apartheid Wall and the devastating repression of the Israeli Occupation.
In light of the upcoming opinion from the ICJ, the Israeli government is trying to manipulate the truth and disguise the colonial foundation of its racist apartheid policy. The occupation forces have depicted a decision by their own High Court to move 30km of the Apartheid Wall as a Palestinian “victory”, but Palestinians see how, on the contrary, this decision validates Israel’s claim that the Wall is solely a security measure and how it states that the Wall can be built on Palestinian land.
Latest News on the Apartheid Wall at StopTheWall.org | Background info on the ICJ | video, audio, photo and info from: email@example.com
Sainsbury's chilled food distribution centres were blockaded across the country on Thursday in protest against GM feed being fed to dairy cows. Sainsbury’s five biggest UK distribution centres were shut down as evironmentalists and consumers simultaneously blockaded the supermarket chain's chilled-goods depots in London, Liverpool, Birmingham, Bristol and Sheffield. They were chained together through steel tubes, or sat up scaffold tripods, blocking the depot gates. The co-ordinated action was intended to halt distribution of Sainsbury's dairy products that come from cows fed GM animal feed.
The protest follows Sainsbury’s failure to provide non-GM fed milk as standard, despite rivals like Marks and Spencer and the Co-op doing so. The action was taken in solidarity with farmers, demanding they get a fair deal of 2p on the pound for non-GM milk. The coalition of groups campaigning on this issue includes Farmers for Action, the Small and Family Farmers Alliance, The Small Farms Association, the Wholesome Food Association, the Institute of Science in Society, Genetic Food Alert and the Genetic Engineering Network (see GM animal feed campaign PDF). Also see National press release
Local reports: Birmingham report, photos and video | London
Yorkshire | Liverpool [ 1 , 2 ] and photos [1 | 2]
Bristol report and photos
Sainsbury's Essex Waltham Point Depot Blockade Report
See also Genetic Engineering Network
Cows leaflet shareholders are Sainsbury AGM - Monday 12th July
Store demo in Plymouth - Saturday 10th July
Farmers vist Welsh store - Saturday 10th July
Genoa Diaz Proceedings Start
The preliminary hearings have begun around the 29 Italian policemen and officers who face charges related to the brutal night time raid on the Diaz school (pics) in Genoa, Italy during the Anti-G8 demonstrations there in 2001, where scores of people were beaten, many left unconscious and hospitalised, before later being tortured in Bolzaneto detention centre.
The hearings went ahead despite appeals by the Police to stop or postpone the proceedings, citing the fact that a key witness, the Policeman who had found the molotov cocktails on the friday before the raid, is in a coma after what some have called a 'suspicious' car accident. The Police also tried to instigate a "judicial review" of one of the charges with the hope of delaying the trial - the judge insisted however that the proceedings would continue.
Genoa Diaz Court Case - Quick Update - Saturday 26th June
Genoa Justice Court Cases Start - Report and Press Conference Statement
First Hearing of the Diaz Trial Report - 27th June [Pics]
A counter-investigation has begun, led by a group from Italian Indymedia.
[more info in Italian | English translation]
For more see Indymedia Italy
Aubonne Bridge Court Case
Coinciding with the beginning of the Genoa court cases in Italy, in Lausanne, Switzerland, the activists Martin Shaw, Gesine Wenzel and Olivier stood trial on Monday 28 of June charged with blockading the road and endangering life, in what has been known as the Aubonne Bridge case.
The background of this prosecution starts at the anti G8 summit protests In Evian (Switzerland) of June 2003 . During the demonstrations and blockades that took place in several Swiss cities, an international affinity group blockaded the motorway in order to stop an official delegation from reaching the G8 in Evian. Two climbers suspended themselves from a single rope being stretched across one of the motorway's bridges. The police eventually turned up at the action, and in a very ruthless manner a police officer proceeded to cut the rope and sent Martin plummeting 20 metres into a shallow, rocky stream beneath the bridge, whilst Gesine was saved by the quick reflexes of her support team who managed to grab a hold of the rope.
Watch Aubonne Bridge Action Video
[see archive pics 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | video | collected reports]
Following a call by the Aubonne Bridge Campaign , around 100 activists from all over Europe came to support Martin, Gesine and Olivier last Monday. Banners were unfurled outside the court, food was cooked for lunch whilst a sound system put some flavour to the solidarity action. At some point, a theatre group performed outside the court house entertaining the crowd that could not get into the packed public gallery. Although the activists were finally found guilty of "blocking the public way and endangering life'", Martin Shaw will not face any sentence, whilst Gesine Wenzel and Olivier were given a 10 and 20 day suspended sentences.
[Photos 1 | 2]
Press release 30 June from the Aubonne Bridge campaign.
See earlier Street Theatre Pictures [1 | 2]
More information: IMC-Switzerland
A week long Exhibition of Resistance to BP and Big Oil, and the corporate hijacking of the arts is now under way on in London. A space has been squatted specially for the event [Photos]. The address is 50 Chalk Farm Road, Camden.
Update Tuesday 22nd: Another protest was called on Monday night during the BP sponsored awards ceremony at the Portrait Gallery. As protestors were gathering at around 7pm, four London Rising Tide activists chained themselves across the front door effectively shutting down the National Portrait Gallery. It was also announced that the alternative exhibition has been extended for a week, and it is now likely to be open until Saturday 26th June in the squatted gallery.
On Wednesday 16th climate change activists and artists held a 'Greenwash or US' Street Party outside BP HQ, many carrying artworks revealing a true portrait of an oil company. The street party then marched to the private view of the BP sponsored National Portrait Gallery Awards. When protesters tried to move towards the entrance of the National Gallery, police rapidly moved in and pushed people back. In the resulting scuffles one person got arrested for "not moving" [video of the arrest] The party then continued for several hours without any more incidents, and later in the evening it was followed by the opening of the art exhibition at the squatted venue [Report | Photos of street party].
Over the weekend, there will be daily workshops and events in the exhibition space as well as on the streets. These will include speakers from West Papua and Colombia, a Jam Night, film night, and lots of other fun stuff such as painting, subvertising, guerilla cinema, radio, food and discussion. See Programme of Events.
London Rising Tide | Burning Planet
Following months of speculation over the location of the 2005 G8 Summit in the UK, and reports that all police leave in Edinburgh and Scotland will be cancelled next summer, the Gleneagles hotel [official website] in Perthshire, Scotland has finaly been confirmed as the venue (G8 dates: 6th-8th July 2005).
The last time the G8 met in the UK was in Birmingham in May 1998. Then up to 70,000 people encircled the centre of Birmingham, forming a human chain and demanding an end to third world debt [pics]. On the same day up to 7,000 people took control of the centre of Birmingham for the second Global Reclaim the Streets Party [pics 1 | 2 | 3][video] - with actions and protests happening against the G8 in around 40 cities across the world, with over 400 social movements taking co-ordinated action under the banner of Peoples' Global Action (PGA).
Six years and many huge mobilisations later, people in the UK have been organising around the G8 for several months. A growing new network of local groups has been created called the Dissent! Network, with nodes across the country. Dissent! is planning a series of awareness raising events through the year and has been calling for both local and international participation. Many people and groups are now focussing on planning protests and direct action campaigns against the G8.
Recently many NGO organisations are also co-ordinating on a level unseen since the Jubliee 2000 drop the debt campaigns, and are set to try and take advantage of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown's aim to pitch the UK presidency of the G8 as a positive step towards reducing third world debt and around issues of development and trade [see guardian article] - 2005 is also the 20th anniversary of the Live Aid concert. Several groups are expected to use the European Social Forum in London in October later this year as a platform from which to launch campaigns. Recently several Trade Union leaders, politicians and Globalise Resistance have also issued their first call for protests.
Recent UK Savannah G8 Solidarity Actions
The People's Golfing Association (PGA) [statement][pics]
"Anarchist Group's Gleneagles Website Exclusive!"*
Corporate Media Coverage of Gleneagles G8
For more on G8 - see the Indymedia G8 Reports Section
At the same time in Switzerland the court case against four people from the Aubonne Bridge action at the 2003 G8 Summit in Evian will begin. UK climber and activist Martin Shaw was cut from the climbing rope he was dangling from by police, falling over 20m onto a riverbed and sustaining very serious injuries [see pics 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | video | collected reports]. While the policeman who cut the ropes remains on duty, ironically, the four protesters, including Martin and the other climber, have all been charged with blocking the traffic and endangering human life! Alongside a European anti-repression meeting will take place on 26-27th June, to promote wider awareness as to the many different cases of repression that have happened recently and to discuss proposals and strategies for creating a stronger and more effective anti-repression network in Europe.
For more see: www.aubonnebridge.net | Indymedia Switzerland
For ongoing coverage see: Atlanta Indymedia
Also San Francisco IMC | IndyBay IMC
Streaming Radio: Enemy Combatant Radio-In San Francisco | IMC-Atlanta Webradio
Also see Dissent! UK Solidarity Actions:
Nottingham: 8th June : Critical Mass | 9th June: Blockade of Oil terminal report | 12th June: Carnival Against Capitalism
Worthing: 23TOPIA - New anti-G8 social centre / Festival of Resistance (more)
Cambridge: A week of anti-G8 discussion and action | Street Theater report
Norwich and Ipswich: anti-war/anti-g8 protests / free shop / Anti-g8 rebel football
Cardiff Anti-G8 Jam
Also see reports of Reclaim The Commons protests at the Biotechnology Industry Organization's annual convention in San Francisco (more reports)
The Third Summit of Head of States and Governments from Latin America, the Caribbean and European Union (III ALCUE) has come to an end last night in a tense environment, and with a soft and indirect condemnation to the US military torture in Iraq, commercial agreements without popular support, violence against demonstrators at the end of the general demonstration and around 100 detainees and disappeared, as well as 30 injured. [Call for Solidarity, Update 31.06.2004]
More reports: [1, 2, 3]
Audio: [Houston Indymedia | Guadalajara Imc | Guadalajara Imc - part 2]
Guadalajara Indymedia/ | Mexico Indymedia
The community radio movement has grown worldwide over the last 30 years establishing a new tier of broadcasting that is challenging the traditional public and commercial sectors.
But just as community radio in the UK is starting to finally get a foothold, intense lobbying from the commercial sector to restrict community radio could limit its growth and even possibly kill it at birth.
Early in the morning on Thursday the 20th May 2004, around 20 anti-arms trade activists arrived at the premises of EDO MBM Technology in Brighton. EDO MBM manufacture bomb and missile release components for military aircraft; they are on record as being “proud” to support the ongoing occupation of Iraq.
A 'cage' was set up blocking the access road and banners were hung, one offering a potential corporate slogan: 'Every Death an Opportunity'. Shortly afterwards, more activists ‘appeared’ on the roof of the factory, while others handed out leaflets explaining what must have seemed an interesting intervention in the workers mundane trudge to work. All but the suited senior management types turned around and had the day off.
There is an emergency situation right now in the Gaza Strip and the town of Rafah [feature on Indymedia.org], in particular, with scenes that bring to mind Israel's invasion of Jenin and Nablus in the spring of 2002... Last weekend, 116 homes were destroyed, making over a thousand people homeless [www.btselem.org]. Hundreds more are slated for destruction. [Indymedia Israel, Rafah Today, Electronic Intifada].
Add to this the ongoing trouble in Iraq, where revelations of torture abound, and there was real appetite for action as various groups around the UK called actions. The combination of the weeks' war crimes and media coverage brought people out in abundance, some of whom were protesting for the first time.
The previous weekend, Palestine Solidarity Campaign held its annual Nakba (Catastrophe) Day rally in Tragalgar Sq [Photo's: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 ] at which several speakers called on people to attend the Stop the War/End the Torture demonstration last Saturday morning [Reports & photo's: 1 | 2 ], which then, in turn, built the protest against the Rafah Massacre outside Downing Street, which resulted in a sit down on Whitehall. [Reports & pictures 1 | 2 ].
During the week, George Bush Snr played an ill-timed visit to raise party funds for his son [report]. The weekly picket at Marks & Spencer on Oxford Street was this week swelled by a large number of new faces [Report; pictures: 1 | 2] whilst there have been daily gatherings alongside Brian Hawe in Parliament Square.
Around the UK:
There were other protests over the past week in cities across the country:
- Palestine protest reports & pictures: Sheffield | York | Oxf ord.
- Iraq Torture protest reports & pictures: Northampton | Chicksands Joint Services Interrogation Centre .
On Friday 21st, Londons latest squatted social centre, the 'Ramparts', opened it's doors with a screening of 'Indefensible', the indymedia film about last years DSEi protests in East London. Yet another social centre opened in Oxford as a new squat was opened for the second OCSET social centre (the previous one having been evicted a couple of weeks earlier after a short but productive existance). In Scotland, a temporary social centre sprung up in Glasgow at the begining of May, with a prepacked daily schedule of events and workshop until the end of June.
There are many other autonomous social centres that have been established much longer, such as the Sumac centre in Nottingham, 56a and Use Your Loaf in South London, 1in12 in Bradford, LARC and Freedom in East London, the Autonomous Centre of Edinburgh, Kebele in Bristol, the Cowley Club in Brighton and the Peoples Information Centre in Hebden Bridge, all of which need your active support.
Recent articles in IMC-UK newswire:
Grand banks resistance | Oxford's latest social centre | Use Your Loaf events | Printworks Social Centre (Glasgow) | The Ramparts, new london space | Proposals for social centre in Leeds: 1|2|3 | Efforts to build up social centre in Aberdeen 1 | 2
The government has introduced draft legislation for potentially compulsory biometric identity cards and a central database of all citizens. A trial of related biometric technology has already been launched. The card system will cost at least £3 billion and is likely to become an essential part of life for everyone residing in the UK. Read more.
Home Secretary David Blunkett thinks that the "ID Card Scheme is the key to the UK's future" whilst affirming that they will be a crucial tool in the "prevention of terrorism" and against "illegal immigration". Citizens organisations such as Privacy International, Stand, Liberty, Statewatch and FIPR strongly refute these views. On Wednesday 19 May in London they held a public meeting under the title "Mistaken Identity".
The meeting gave a resounding vote of no-confidence over the national Identity Card. Leading politicians, lawyers, regulators, security experts and civil libertarians were unanimous in condemning the proposals. The president of the Law Society, representing 116,000 solicitors throughout the UK, also warned in his statement (pdf) that the government's draft legislation contained dangerous provisions. For corporate media coverage, see the articles from Silicon.com, BBC, and the Guardian.
A similar meeting was held on May 20th in Glasgow.