UK Feature Archive
As home secretary, Blunkett's abuses of human rights and civil liberties have been staggering. He has introduced internment without trial for suspected foreign terrorists is introducing military camps for children, and barely a day would go by without him dreaming up another crackpot neo-fascist scheme to attack civil liberties, criminalize working-class communities, and put more and more people behind bars.
At Oakington asylum seeker detention centre, near Cambridge, an Indian couple with a two year old child have been imprisoned for 54 days, and have been refused bail. The child has been ill, but because he is in detention has not been allowed to see a paediatrician. The family have been told that deportation is imminent. By the time they leave, they may have been imprisoned for 77 days. See [full report] [press release] [local press].
A recent Cambridge feature described how Lina Castanos, and her 8 year old son, Miguel were violently taken from their home at night, to be held first at Gatwick, and then at Oakington. While at Oakington, Miguel was refused a doctor for at least 24 hours when he became ill (Read more on Lina and Miguel's stay in prison).
The Castanos family face fear and uncertainty, as to whether they will be deported to Columbia. While at Oakington, they thought deportation would occur soon, however they have now been told they can appeal. Despite the fact that several close family members have been killed by Columbian paramilitary authorities, they are left uncertain as to whether they can remain in the UK.
Kelly Minio-Paluello (23), a community activist from the USA and a member of Britain's National Union of Journalists, was brutally arrested by Israeli Border Policemen while filming a peaceful demonstration on Tuesday outside Ramallah, in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. She is currently being held in Hadera Detention Centre awaiting deportation. She has not been told why she was arrested or when she will be deported or informed of her rights.
Update: Kelly was deported on 24 December, and is now back in the USA.
This last year has been a pretty active and productive year for the social centres movement in the UK...
At the begining of the year, the Wombles occupied 93 Fortess Rd for several months before moving into the ex-Grand Banks in Tufnell Park. Both occupations saw successfully resistance against eviction and were highly successful and popular. After eviction in August the wombles took a break to concentrate on the 'Beyond ESF event' but they'll be back in 2005.
Perhaps also to return in 2005, Use Your Loaf, an ex-bakery in Deptford which had been occupied as a centre for social solidarity since summer 2002, but was finally evicted in September. Currently without a building, the collective has remained active and are having a xmas party this coming Friday.
Also having a party on the Friday 17th AND Saturday 18th Dec, the 'rampART' in East London [details] . The building opened around six months ago and has been host to a wide variety of political and cultural events. To celebrate and raise funds to cover bills, there is a two day festival with bands, workshops, DJs, fashion show, VJs, films etc. Full details on www.rampart.co.nr
Oxford enjoyed a series of three short lived squatted social centres using the name OCSET. All were quickly evicted but there will certainly be another openned in 2005.
Internationals from the International Solidarity Movement and the International Women’s Peace Service today joined with Israeli peace activists to support the village of Bil’in in their second day of resistance to the construction of the Apartheid Wall. Approximately 150 men, women, and children from Bil’in walked onto their confiscated land and halted surveying work.
Full feature on arrested filmmaker Kelly Minio-Paluello on Cambridge IMC
Two hundred Egyptian activists and fifty from Europe were prevented from reaching Egyptian Rafah by security forces at Bahlouza, the entry to North Sinai yesterday. The group was accompanying hundreds of tons of relief supplies for the people of Rafah collected by the Egyptian Popular committee in support of the Palestinian Intifada. While the food and blankets were allowed to reach the border at Rafah, the solidarity demonstration planed for Rafah was held in the middle of the desert underneath the welcome arch of North Sinai.
10-12-2004 00:00A group of London and Brighton based activists are in Egypt for the convoy to the Rafah organised by the Egyptian Popular Committee for solidarity with the Palestinian Uprising. Over the next few weeks expect a number of reports on the sights and sounds that we come across. In this one, we visit destitute workers with asbestosis occupying their former employers factory in the City of "The Tenth of Ramadan", about an hour out of cairo.
... to all the people and groups who joined forces to throw an Indymedia party last Saturday. It was the best birthday present ever - and the funds go towards our new server. Thanks to everybody and see you at the next party!
Report & pics [1 | 2]
After over 14 months spent protecting a village green from illegal destruction protesters in Sherwood forest were evicted on 6th December 2004 after the Police turned up without warning at 8am.
They had been protesting against the unnecessary destruction of an area of woodland and grassland, which is recognised for its conservation importance; the developers (Bellway Homes) and the Mansfield District Council are seeking to build an unnecessary, and ill-placed, road junction across the Green.
The trees were evicted quite fast [photos], and the tunnels were also evicted by the end of the day.
No notice was given that the evictions were to take place and the Under-Sheriff of Nottingham (whose ultimately in charge of evictions in the area) told the protesters only last week, that there would not be an eviction while legal cases were still outstanding.
For background info: www.sherwoodgreen.net
Previous stories on Sherwood camp with photos: 1 | 2 | 3
Most people believe sex workers should not be criminalised. "Paying the Price", the first review of the prostitution laws for 50 years, hides the impact of the prostitution laws on women's and children's safety, protection and welfare, and makes way for more criminalisation. Sex workers and others discuss a response. See Paying the price of criminalisation - A response to the government consultation paper on prostitution by the English Collective of Prostitutes.
International Conference on prostitution, Saturday 4 December 9.30 - 6 pm St Mary's Church, Eversholt St.
The women's defense argued that they could not be charged with aggravated trespass, 'the of disruption of a lawful event' as infact the Iraq Procurement conference was unlawful as it was facilitating the pillage of Iraq which was under occupation by the US and the UK at the time of their action. Naomi Klein who was to have been a key witness at the trial attended a press conference at the NUJ on wednesday the 24th of November to speak about the implications of the CPS's decision in relation to this first attempt to put the Pillage of Iraq on trial.
See also Fallujah Eyewitness Newswire article (27th Nov).
Indymedia Film Night Sunday 13th Nov
The Dancehouse, Oxford Rd
free / donation - 7 pm door
A letter to the Prime Minister : Jo Wilding's Diary from Iraq
Jo Wilding's remarkable journey from forming a children's circus in Iraq to travelling into Falluja, when even Al Jazeera had left, to stand alongside civilians trapped and targeted by US Forces.
more info - http://www.alettertotheprimeminister.co.uk/
Id Cards Special - What would they mean?
Films, animations and information about ID. from Defy Id.
more info http://www.defy-id.org.uk/
"We don't need genetically engineered crops to feed India," said a genetic engineering campaigner for Greenpeace India. "Around the world, in fact, the promises made by the genetic engineering industry have been unfulfilled, whether of increasing crop yields or reducing pesticide use."
This retreat follows other recent decisions that set Bayer back - on 9th November Bayer Crop Science removed the last 2 GM crop varieties still in the approval process for the UK National Seed List [see report]. Previously in March 2004, the company announced they would be pulling out of GE crop research in the UK. A few months later, in June, Bayer announced they would not pursue commercialization of GE canola in Australia. Bayer's letter to Greenpeace India following direct action against the company, concedes that research into engineered cabbage, cauliflower, eggplant, tomato and mustard seed has all been halted.
"It is clear that popular resistance to genetic engineering is not diminishing as the industry had hoped it would," said Doreen Stabinsky, GE campaigner for Greenpeace International. "No matter what country we're talking about, consumers are on the same page. They don't want to eat genetically engineered food. That's good news for farmers and good news for the environment."
For more see: Indymedia UK Biotech Section | Biotech IMC | Genetics Action | CBGnetwork
Thirty people were arrested during Mayday, many of whom still have to sign on at police stations and many of whom are still being dragged through the courts. Supporters say they were made victims of media sensationalism and made scapegoats by the State in an attempt to justify draconian and military tactics deployed during Mayday in Dublin.
Related News: One of the four people who were surrounded by police and arrested at Kings Cross station [pics 1, 2] on Sunday Oct 17th on their way to the European Social Forum closing demonstration, walked free from court on Monday 17th Nov. The defendent returned from Greece to attend court, only to find the prosecution dropped the case, saying they would be providing no evidence to support the charges [see report].
Ship Blocked Against Marine Quarrying: Ministers are planning to give the go-ahead to strip clean a vitally important area of the English Channel (the Median Deep - halfway between the Sussex coast and northern France) by mining nearly 200 million tonnes of gravel from the seabed to satisfy the house-building boom on the Southeast. The good news is that residents of Sussex are not taking this lying down. On 11th November, the latest in a series of actions against the dredging saw people using bicycle locks to close the Newhaven Swing Bridge on the A259 in East Sussex, blocking the departure of a Hanson dredging ship at high tide on Sunday.
Morecambe Bay Bridge Project - Directors Resign After Protests: Two directors of a company planning to build a bridge across one of Britain's last wildernesses, and most protected wildlife area, have resigned after local protests. English Nature have expressed their opposition to the Bay Bridge scheme, which is nevertheless being spun as a 'green bridge' because of wave turbines that may be built at the same time. On 4th November, local people with banners and drums stopped work at Renewables Northwest - the General Manager there, Julian Carter was also a Director of BABC, the company behind the bridge project - he resigned later that day [see report and background]. Protests also took place at the Lancaster Environment Centre, whose Director Bill Davies was also a Director of BABC [see report and background] - he resigned a few days later.
Hastings Bypass Turns in Link Road: Anti-roads campaigners had thought they had seen off the Hastings Bypass, but now part of the route has been resurrected as the Bexhill Link Road. This scheme has some of the worst environmental aspects of the original scheme cutting through ancient woodland and endangering wetland bird species. There’s a route walk on Sunday 21st Nov [see SchNEWS | related news at Road Alert]
Save Coate Water Country Park from Development: On Saturday 13 November, local campaigners surrounded the lake at Coate Water Country Park in Swindon with a chain of over a thousand cardboard cut-out hands, each with someone's personal message of why Coate Water is special to them. The campaigners are trying to save the park (a Site of Special Scientific Interest) from the development plans of the local council [see report and pics | Save Coate Campaign]
Residents Oppose Illegal Tree Felling: On Saturday 30th October hundreds of local residents demonstrated in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, against illegal tree felling at the Millpond site that took place on 19th October - then many residents tried to obstruct the chainsaws - several residents were assaulted, and although they stopped the chainsaws, many of the trees had been cut down [see Pics 1, 2 | Background]
See also: Barnstaple Western Bypass Gets Go Ahead
Scotland: Dump protesters take direct action against landfill company
Oxford Friends of the Earth oppose county rubbish incineration plans
Manchester Uni students protest against tree trashing
"Esso-sponsored" Scientists @ the Campaign Against Climate Change march
Indymedia will be five years old on 30 November, the anniversary of the Anti-WTO protests in Seattle. Plus the FBI has seized a London-based server that was used by 20 IMC's worldwide. So we'll combine the celebration with the need to raise money for new servers and invite everybody to the Fifth Birthday of Insurrection (FBI) Party, after the Anarchist Bookfair.
Line-up: Fun-Da-Mental, Rhythms of Resistance, The Rub, Penny Rimbaud, The Unpeople, The Internationalz, Angel.
rampArt will stream the party and offers accomodation for anarchist bookfair weekend. They are also having a pre-bookfair social on the friday night.
Meanwhile in Berlin: Another IMC birthday party.
19-11-2004 10:12On the 14th November outside the recording studios in Hampstead where "Do They Know It's Christmas" - Band AID, was being re-recorded, demonstrations took place by protesters arguing that Band Aid is a screen "whitewashing the real issues behind world poverty". Shouts of 'real aid, not band aid', 'don't whitewash Africa' and boo's were audiable over the screams of fans and onlookers. One protester was arrested while handing out leaflets explaining the reasons for the protest - [read full report].
Protesters from the Dissent! Network, organising against the G8 summit next July, argue that the song is obnoxious, patronising and out of date with the real situation in Africa.
Several initiatives are now underway to re-write the lyrics - upload your own, or send lyrics or recorded mp3s to firstname.lastname@example.org
These included a blockade of the Hayes, Middlesex premises of Agrexco, Israel's national exporter of fresh produce. Activists erected a cage at the entrance to the factory, and a barrier at the exit, stopping all collections and deliveries for 8 hours, at an estimated cost of 30k - 40k to the company.
Seven activists were arrested and charged with Aggravated Trespass and Section 69 of the The Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994. They plan to use the court case to challenge the legality of trade with a company that deals in settlement goods, especially in light of the International Court of Justice Ruling which ruled that countries have an obligation not to not to render aid or assistance in maintaining the situation created by the construction of the wall.
The judge investigating the Aubonne Bridge case has concluded that any mistakes made by the police on the bridge were "understandable" because of the stress of the G8 summit taking place nearby, and that the activists shouldn't have put themselves in such a dangerous situation. The report states that it was the activists' fault that the police cut the rope from which two climbers were suspended, whilst blockading a delegation on their way to the G8 summit in Evian in May 2003. Despite being warned by activists on the blockade that there were people hanging from it, a policeman took a knife and cut the rope causing a 20 meter fall of Martin Shaw. Fortunately he survived, but was left with very severe injuries to his back, pelvis and foot. Gesine Wenzel on the other end of the rope was saved at the last moment as activists grabbed the other end of the rope. The judge's declaration, which took 18 months to produce, seems to have been written to give "carte blanche to the police to do whatever they want without fear for any legal consequences", the activist's Swiss lawyer said. [Report]
In response to the judge's decission, the climbers of the Aubonne Bridge Action entered the Chateau in Lausanne on Friday 12th November - the seat of the government of Vaud (Switzerland) - with a banner saying "Your cops are your responsibility!". The two activists, together with supporters and the press, asked the Conseil d'Etat to accept responsibility for the actions of their police force. [Report and Pic]
Martin Shaw and Gesine Wenzel still maintain their demands:
* Charges to be brought against both the policeman who cut the rope and his senior officer.
* Compensation for injuries and loss of earnings
One month after the harddrives were taken out of the servers Ahimsa I and II in London, indymedia had many responses from civil liberty groups and professional journalist organisations. Legal steps are being taken or considered on both sides of the atlantic. The US State Attorney (ie the lawyer for the US government) has responded to a Motion to Unseal the server seizure court order in the US. A solidarity statement has been signed by more than 10,000 people, parliamentary questions have been asked in the House of Commons, and old hardware has been delivered to various Italian Embassies and to the FBI. Check the Electronic Frontiers Foundation for a factsheet and read on for a round-up of a wide range of responses.