UK Newswire Archive
30-01-2012 10:55Hundreds of Bristol activists, and thousands more from around the country are planning to surround and blockade Hinkley Point nuclear power station in Somerset on the weekend 10-11 March to mark the first anniversary of the Fukushima Daichii reactor disaster.
Japan, the most technologically advanced country and the world’s 4th largest economy has been brought to its knees by the ongoing events at Fukushima. The reactors that went into meltdown in March 2011 are now melted through, and 40 years of nuclear waste are emitting vast amounts of radiation, which has spread around the globe and is contaminating the whole environment of Japan. The disaster is far from over as more earth quake after shocks continue to destabilise the situation. In desperation the Japanese government is transporting and burning radioactive rubble all over Japan, and exporting highly contaminated food as” aid” to developing countries.
Men, women and children are living in highly radioactive areas but, they are not being evacuated as they should be. This intense radiation exposure will have very serious health consequences for present and future generations. How has Japan ended up in this dreadful situation? They said, “It can’t happen here.” Sound familiar?
Since the first civilian reactor started generating in Russia in 1954, there has been, on average, a major accident every 14-18 years: Windscale 1957, Three Mile Island 1979, Chernobyl 1986 and Fukushima 2011. This is about 1 in 6 chance with the current number of reactors. The more reactors that are built, the chances of major disasters increase. Bristol would have to be evacuated if there is a major accident at Hinkley Point, yet the council have no clear contingency plans in place should such an event take place.
Despite the recurring horrors stories from in Fukushima in Japan, powerful political and economic interest groups are silencing the world’s media. The British government has approved a new nuclear agenda and is planning to build eight new reactors in the UK.
It’s worth remembering that nuclear power was military in its inception and continues to serve the government’s interest in staying in the nuclear arms race: providing it with the science and necessary raw materials. Generating electricity is not a primary concern of the nuclear industry, it is a massive public relations exercise to normalise this deathly technology, even to the point of absurdity, making it seem like” a green solution to climate change”.
The Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC), a new government bureaucracy set up to fast track major infrastructure planning in the UK with out conducting proper democratic public enquiries, has received 900 on-line objections and a 13,000 signature petition against the building of EDF’s new two reactor power station at Hinkley Point. A 420 acre area of outstanding natural beauty and environmental importance in the Severn Estuary will be destroyed by its construction.
Hinkley C is the first in line of the new nuclear build so it’s really important to stop it there before they get started! Protests stopped the building of Hinkley C in 1987 after the Chernobyl disaster so it is possible to stop it again in the ‘post Fukushima’ world of 2012.
The Stop New Nuclear Alliance, which comprises of 10 national anti nuclear and environmental groups is organising the ‘Surround and Blockade’ at Hinkley point on Saturday/Sunday 10-11 March. We organised a very successful blockade at Hinkley in October 2011 and we are building out from that success.
We are asking campaign groups nationwide to mobilise for this event; spread the word. Call out fliers; posters, leaflets training and a logistical mobilisation packs are all available now on our website www. stopnewnuclear.org.uk.We are urging groups to organise a film or discussion event to promote the issue, host training in civil disobedience and consensus, organise a coach, bring a camp kitchen, get involved, pledge to be there and bring five friends, or if you can't be there, donate money to help make it happen.
It takes a lot of people to surround and blockade a nuclear power station, come join us on March 10th/11th and have some fun at this festival of anti nuclear resistance!
STOP HINKLEY C NUCLEAR POWER STATION IN ITS TRACKS! Say no to the use of this toxic technology. It’s not clean, it’s not green and it can never be worth the risk.
Find out how!
Please come to our weekly meetings in the build up to the event
Wednesdays at KEBELE 7.30pm 14 Robertson Rd Easton Bristol
Contact email email@example.com
SWAN is the Bristol group aligned with the Stop New Nuclear Alliance
Stop New Nuclear Alliance
c/o 5 Caledonian Road
London N1 9DX
Other groups in the Stop New Nuclear Alliance are:
Rising Tide, Stop Hinkley, CND, CND Cymru, Kick Nuclear, Trident Ploughshares, Shut Down Sizewell, Sizewell Blockaders and Stop Nuclear Power Network.
30-01-2012 10:46A group of activists has successfully evaded security and got inside the headquarters of British Gas.
Occupy London protesters were evicted from their Bank of Ideas home early this morning at the hands of violent bailiffs.
Protesters associated with the global occupy movement had been squatting a disused UBS office block on Sun Street, in Hackney since November 18, but a possession order was put in place on Thursday after occupiers dropped their appeal against the eviction.
Activists had been using the block as a community centre, housing workshops and lectures. At its peak, about 100 people slept in the premises.
The eviction began at about 1230. There was an estimated 30 people in the Bank of Ideas, and a further 60 around the corner attending a party in the separate Earl Street Community Centre.
The evicting forces entered the Bank of Ideas through a open side-door and then busted down the main doors of both buildings using heavy machinery.
They could then be seen in the sprawling buildings securing the floors and roof-tops.
While the eviction was mostly peaceful, with no arrests, protesters complained bailiffs were too violent.
Protester Charlie, who stays at the Finsbury Square occupation, said he and other protesters tried to block the police and bailiffs from entering the Earl Street building.
"They came through pushing, the guys resisted then fell on some women who were sitting on the floor. They (the bailiffs) carried on shoving without helping anyone. They dispersed most of us and trampled the women. We had to help people up who couldn't breath because they had been stomped on."
Another protester, Lee, who had been living at the Bank of Ideas felt the bailiffs should be charged with assault.
At about 4am, a bailiff assaulted a press photographer and drove a van into a crowd of protesters, and continued driving down a road with protesters stuck on the van's bonnet.
Occupy protester Ronan McNern said they tried to get the police to help but they were to slow to act and one officer he spoke to refused to take statements.
"The police refused to act on what they had seen, they refused to act on any duty of care. They cared more about the building than the people."
It is not believed there had been any serious injuries from the incident, but McNern said many who had witnessed it were in a state of shock.
In the early hours of Wednesday morning a team of activists squatted a former Midland Bank on St Alphage High Walk, near the Barbican, in the hope of providing a new space for community events following the closure of the Bank of Ideas.
But in what could be a sign of a change in police tactics in dealing with the occupy movement they were promptly evicted by dozens of local police and the TSG who broke into the building with a chainsaw.
Phoenix, an activist who was in the building at the time, accused the police of acting illegally and would seek to press charges after consulting lawyers.
Failed attempts to negotiate with the police were broadcast live via the Occupy movement's livestream channel before police used a petrol powered chainsaw to break the lock.
On Friday activists squatted a former Iraqi bank, off leadenhall Street, in the City of London, before police evicted them claiming the building was immune to British law as it was protected by diplomatic laws and protocol.
The police stated they were acting under instructions from the Foreign Office, however, it later emerged only the Director of Prosecutions could rule on the bank's status, activists said.
The Occupy camp at St Pauls is currently awaiting for the Court of Appeal to decide if eviction by the City of London is lawful
On Friday February 3rd, campaigners in Nottingham will hold a protest against Atos "Healthcare".
The protest is taking place despite the decision by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to drop charges against two local residents which arose from a previous protest.
In September 2011, protesters entered the Atos' offices on Stoney Street. Although the protest was entirely peaceful, two demonstrators were arrested and subsequently charged with aggravated trespass.
Earlier this month the CPS dropped the charges against the two. Supporters of the pair, dubbed the "Atos Two" welcomed the move and attributed it to the impressive soldairty campaign which was organised for the defendants.
Supporters believe that the motivation behind the original arrests was to discourage protest and are keen to show that this has been ineffective.
Chris Sandford of the Nottingham Defence Campaign said, "The Atos Two no longer have this case hanging over them, but Atos continue to make people's lives miserable.
"We keep being told that there isn't any money to fund public services or pay for welfare, but as we've seen over the last week with the huge bonuses being offered at RBS that this is a lie. There's plenty of money, but 'austerity' is being used to ensure that the rich get richer at the expense of the poor and disabled.
"We need to stand with all those being picked off whether by the police or welfare privateers like Atos. Only collective action can beat these attacks on the welfare state and our right to protest."
1) Protesters will meet at 12.30pm on Friday February 3rd, at the junction of Carlton Street and Heathcote Street, Hockley (outside Ice Nine).
2) Atos Healthcare has been the subject of protests across the UK by disabled people and campaigners seeking to defend the welfare state.
Atos was selected by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) to administer the Work Capability Assesments (WCA).
Campaigners claim that WCA are part of a deliberate policy by the coalition government designed to force as many people as possible off disability benefits regardless of their physical and/or psychological abilities.
Critics of Atos Healthcare point to the high number of successful appeals against decisions by the company.
A report by BBC Inside Out East found that more than one third of appeals were successful. (http://bbc.in/ulXxMG)
Furthermore the expertise and conduct of the so called ‘healthcare professionals’ undertaking the assessments has been severely questioned by campaigners.
In August it emerged that twelve doctors employed by the company were being investigated by the General Medical Council over allegations of improper conduct. (http://gu.com/p/3x7jd)
Franklin López will continue his world tour in the UK this April his
film END:CIV ( http://endciv.com)
A rally took place outside the US Embassy in Mayfair against any foreign military intervention in Iran or Syria. Organised by the Stop the War Coalition, the demonstration was attended by at least 500 people.
'Free Iran' and 'Free Syria' protesters were also present, as well as a few vocal supporters of the Iranian regime; and a group from Occupy London wore Guy Fawkes masks. There were a few minor disturbances in what was a passionate but largely peaceful protest.
All images are Copyright (c) 2012 D. Viesnik. They may be reproduced free of charge for non-commercial purposes if credited. For larger, high resolution versions, please e-mail.
More images here: https://picasaweb.google.com/vd2012.pics/HandsOffIranAndSyriaDemo
29-01-2012 20:39Not for the blink of an eye were Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott so much as threatened, even less endangered, on the 26th of January by demonstrators from the 40th anniversary Aboriginal Embassy camp in Canberra. The only violence came from a young copper who punched and choke-gripped a young painted up Aboriginal man, a young Aboriginal woman, an SBS cameraman and I believe one other person standing harmlessly near the restaurant side exit through which clumsy security men rushed out Gingeralla, causing her to lose that now famous blue suede shoe. The only “violence” from the demonstrators I’m aware of was a punch by an activist to the copper who had roughed up the woman without cause. “I won’t stand for any man doing that to a woman,” he told me, showing me bleeding chapped knuckles that must have connected with something metallic on the copper. Nothing would have been easier than to just form a corridor of two lines of coppers for the PM to calmly walk though to her car.
29-01-2012 14:53On January 28 around 300 protesters gathered at the American embassy to oppose the increasingly bellicose rhetoric against Iran and Syria. Called by the Stop the War Coalition under the title of ‘Stop the war before it starts: don’t attack Iran/Syria’, the protest was in many respects something that seasoned activists in the anti-war movement would be all too familiar with. Well-meaning, if often slightly tedious and repetitive speeches, a few chants and the promise to build an enormous opposition that could finally scupper the imperialists’ plans once and for all. However, it soon became apparent that this was not going to be simply ‘business as usual’. In a somewhat embarrassing indictment to the approach of ‘as broad as possible’ typified by the coalition, several speakers were booed or chanted down, and fights broke out between protesters. At one point a group of Iranians from the London Green movement lined up against supporters of the Syrian Baathist regime under the sway of Bashar Al-Assad. It was not pretty.
DPAC (Disabled People Against Cuts) and UK Uncut today worked together in an action titled "Message from the invisibles" to bring Oxford Street to a stand still in protest against the Tory Governments proposed Welfare Reform Bill. At 12 o'clock, a group of 20 wheelchair users from Disabled People Against the Cuts chained themselves together in the middle of Regent Street using handcuffs and bicycle locks. They were joined by 200 others who had responded to a call by UK Uncut to meet at Holborn station to 'shame the government into withdrawing the bill completely'.
UKUncut press release:
A group of over 200 people today blocked Oxford Circus and brought the surrounding area to a complete standstill, with traffic backlogs extending for several hundred yards. At 12 o'clock, a group of 20 wheelchair users from Disabled People Against the Cuts(1) chained themselves together in the middle of Regent Street using handcuffs and bicycle locks. They were joined by 200 others who had responded to a call by UK Uncut(2) to meet at Holborn station to 'shame the government into withdrawing the bill completely'(3).
At 2pm, the group of protestors decided to leave together, describing the action as an 'amazing success'. Alex Logan, who had joined the protest at Holborn said "The day has been an amazing success. Together we have shown that we are not going to take the cruel Welfare Reform Bill lying down. We will continue to work together to fight bullying behaviour of the government, which is choosing to make marginalised people's lives a misery while continuing to let rich companies rich companies dodge £25bn of tax each year"
Before midday, while the wheelchair users were locking themselves into place in the road, a crowd of about 200 people including a samba band and protestors from Occupy London and Black Triangle had gathered at Holborn station. They travelled from there to Oxford Circus, which had been a secret target until the wheelchairs were chained in place. Some people had travelled from as far as Manchester, Cornwall and Edinburgh to take part in the action, which was called by disabled activists and others directly affected by the bill.
The protesters say that the Welfare reform bill is 'unfair, unnecessary and unpopular' and are calling for it to be scrapped. Recent reports have shown that as a result of the bill 500,000 families stand to lose their homes while others will become ‘imprisoned in them’(4). Nearly half a million people would lose their Disability Living Allowance, including disabled children(5). People with terminal illnesses would be forced into work, and 3.2 million will be put through demanding tests that have already pushed some to take their own lives(6). The government's own research admits that this flagship reform will push 100,000 children into poverty(7).
The government has defended the bill on the grounds that it needs to cut the deficit. However, the protesters point out that much greater amounts of money are lost through tax dodging by the super-rich each year. In January, Private Eye revealed a further £2 billion tax dodge by Vodafone, in addition to the £6 billion scam revealed in 2010(8). The most recent dodge by Vodafone is greater than the cuts to Disability Living Allowance, which will affect half a million people.
 - Disabled People Against Cuts is a UK based organisation fighting for justice and human rights for all disabled people. Twitter
 - UK Uncut is a grassroots anti-austerity direct action network. The announcement of the action is available here
 - http://www.ukuncut.org.uk/blog/message-from-the-invisible
 - The guardian article
 - Mencap article
 - Disability Now article / The Guardian article
 - The Guardian article
 - Private Eye article
Rosemary Willis from DPAC said "Maria Miller, so-called Minister for disabled people, has repeatedly stated that we are 'financially unsustainable' and we want to ask this government exactly what they mean by that. We will not let this government push through these changes which have already led to disabled people taking their own lives."
UK Uncut supporter Josie McDermot, 32, said "The welfare reform bill is cruel and and unnecessary, and this protest is an essential way to persuade the government to scrap their plans. It is great to be part of such a broad and powerful campaign against the Welfare Reform Bill and to keep building the pressure that has already been piled on with the Spartacus report.
She added, "It is typical bully tactics by the government to force marginalised people in society to pay for the economic downturn, while letting bonuses run wild and rich companies continue tax dodging to the tune of £25bn"
disabled activists, pensioners, and ukuncut staged a spectacular blockade at oxford circus today, blocking the northern junction of regents street for more than two hours. there were no arrests and after a conscensus decision protestors left together peacefully and in solidarity shortly after 2pm
click on image for larger version. 'some rights reserved' - free for credited non-commercial use, otherwise contact author for permission
the action, under the banner "message from the invisibles", was originally called by 'disabled people against cuts (www.dpac.uk.net) but they gained support from pensioners organisations and ukuncut. their aim was to create a media event and a symbolic challenge to the government in the form of a mass act of civil disobedience.
on top of the current controversial 'welfare reform bill' that the government is trying to force through despite massive opposition, disabled activists point out that cuts to grants, the voluntary sector, legal aid, and other social funds also impact upon disabled people disproportionately, because they affect many services that are relied upon.
the government tries to characterise the sick and disabled as workshy, claiming there is no incentive for them to work because benefits are too high, but they simply don't appreciate all the other obstacles to work in the form of discrimination, lack of support, poor urban and transport planning and ingrained attitudes.
as the gap between rich and poor grows ever larger, the disabled often find themselves at the bottom of that gap, marginalised, isolated and in abject poverty. and yet disabled people are not such a small minority - they are a sizeable part of society, as much as 1 in 7 in london for instance!
so today's action was aimed to be a high profile event showing that disabled people can come together and fight back against the cuts, supported by, and in solidarity with other justice, rights, and anti-cuts organisations.
ukuncut called a meet at holborn tube this morning at 11.30, a slight own-goal in that the station isn't wheelchair-accessible, however this was noticed beforehand and disabled activists with mobility problems were invited to arrive a little earlier and were helped by stewards and buddies who organised alternative transport to the target site.
that site turned out to be oxford circus, and as the hundred or more activists disgorged from the circle line, they saw that an earlier phalanx of disabled protestors had already begun a blockade, with rows of wheelchairs chained together across the northern junction of oxford street at the junction with regent street.
traffic was backed up along regent street to the north, and there was a row of abandoned buses. it was unfortunate that a tourist coach was caught at the front of the queue, but eventually police facilitated the clearance of the road, and finally the white coach backed up and found a different route, leaving regent street eerily empty for a busy saturday afternoon.
police formed a barrier in front of the protestors, preventing them from any further incursion into the junction, and traffic and bus routes were diverted to other roads to avoid the blockade.
although the police operation appeared good-natured and 'softly softly', the chief inspector and inspector were observed briefing a technical team in near-by cavendish square, ready to cut through d-locks and chains to effect an eviction. there were also additional TSG waiting in that square.
however, and despite the cold, the protest continued for a couple of hours, with spirited chanting, some short speeches, and some uplifting samba all contributing to the jubilant atmosphere.
an attempt by the police to make a public announcement over a loudspeaker was met by genuine confusion, as even to those nearby it was largely unintelligible, but by 2pm it was clear police were warning people that they were causing an obstruction of the highway and that they risked arrest.
some activists not wishing to chance an arrest were persuaded to move to the pavement, but the majority stood their ground for a further 20 minutes while the tension began to mount a little, until finally a consensus decision was reached, and an announcement 'mic-checked', that the protest would end together and leave as one.
by the time the road was finally clear, and police were able to allow traffic through, the protest had successfully blockaded the junction for well over two hours, attracting much independent and some mainstream media attention, with thousands of flyers distributed among passers-by.
the next events planned are vigils and lobbies of parliament on the days that the lords vote on welfare reform bill and that MPs vote on lords' amendments. these are 31st jan and 1st feb respectively (next tuesday and wednesday). all are welcome to join the protests in old palace yard opposite parliament from 1-3pm on both days.
see dpac.uk.net and globalwomenstrike.net for more details
Meet Bus Stop outside Dram, 232-246 Woodlands Road, Glasgow G3 6ND
28-01-2012 16:10This morning a group of BDS activists visited B&Q on the Lewes Road in Brighton to speak to them about their sale of Keter Plastic products.