Skip navigation

Indymedia UK is a network of individuals, independent and alternative media activists and organisations, offering grassroots, non-corporate, non-commercial coverage of important social and political issues

Action against Caterkiller

Dust | 26.06.2004 22:35 | Indymedia | Repression | Birmingham

Action against Caterkiller in Solihell

At 7am on Friday morning 10 protestors arrived at Caterpillar's offices in Solihull to bring to the attention of the staff the UN warning that the sale of bulldozers to Israel may implicate the company in human rights violations.

A mock military checkpoint was set up and inevitably, it wasn't long before the local police arrived. It was clear from the start that these enforcers of law and order were not happy about these nasty peace protestors disturbing the tranquillity of their small lives in a small suburb. Unable to control their more basic instincts they set about taunting and belittling protestors in the Caterpillar car park which unfortunately for them is on a public footpath. Some anger management courses for sections of the West Midlands police might be a good use of public money!

The noise level started getting slightly louder than that of the passing traffic which seemed to agitate the police. When one protestors then tried to present a 'Home-wrecker of the Year' award one particularly nasty policeman grabbed the award, violently smashed it on the ground and arrested an individual for no reason at all. If anyone knows a good police therapist get in touch.

On leaving the site we were followed by a police car and surprise, surprise were pulled over and given a thorough vehicle inspection. The van was given a prohibition order (despite being recently MOTed) and taken off the road. For this petty and vindictive act by the police several Brighton Community Groups will be severely disrupted.

Eight protesters, undeterred, returned to the Caterkiller site at 2pm for a noise protest. After 30 minutes the noise got slightly louder as our police friends arrived and almost immediately arrested all protesters under Section 25. Various personal items were deliberately smashed to the ground and damaged by the same unhinged PC we'd met earlier.

All eight were charged with causing alarm, distress and harassment.
All eight were pretty alarmed, distressed and harassed by these West Midlands idiots. Not to mention the 13 hours spent in police cells.



Hide the following 8 comments

Katakilla - Defend your right to protest

27.06.2004 03:17

Israeli Military Checkpoint
Israeli Military Checkpoint

Zionist Checkpoint
Zionist Checkpoint

threatening and intimidating behaviour
threatening and intimidating behaviour

Homewrecker award before it was destroyed by West Midlands Police
Homewrecker award before it was destroyed by West Midlands Police


Whoop whoop - it's da sound of da police
Whoop whoop - it's da sound of da police

Notice the 2nd number tag underneath PC 8024's (D. Saunders) vest
Notice the 2nd number tag underneath PC 8024's (D. Saunders) vest

Katakilla – Defend Your Right to Protest

Non-Violent Caterpillar Action, Solihull – 8 out of 11 activists arrested under Section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986.

Nice – I write this as a prisoner, first small non-violent direct action I’ve participated in and almost all of us get arrested, now in a police cell they’re trying to tempt me with a caution, that old chestnut, those old mind games. You know the kind . . . “I know you’re a good person” runs alongside implications that a caution would save me, a good person, from having to “testify against an officer” of the law.

So what’s to do, take a wrap that I didn’t do for the possibility of a swifter resolution? Tell my version of events to an institutionalised judicial system ridden with cronyism in some kind of attempt to be true to myself? Fuck all compared with the kind of shit that Palestinians are living through right now. And those names drift into my conscious mind, those that mean the most to me, Alice Coy who we happened to spend a couple of days with shortly before she left for Palestine, Rachel Corrie, Tom Hurndall, whose murders she witnessed while out there. Impossible to forget those two email subject lines – ‘yesterday one of my friends was killed’, ‘yesterday one of my friends was killed. again'.

A completely peaceful protest apart from one incident which ultimately descended into one of those ludicrous “you put your hand on my shoulder – I’m gonna have you done for assault” kind of scenarios. And so naturally at the station there’s a significant amount of police justification for what they do, of why they’re in the job, at a personal level – they’ve mainly managed to convince themselves although their attempts to persuade others seem somewhat on the desperate, strident side.

However it must be said that the representatives of West Midlands Police were quite adept at getting their heads around our leaderless structure. From this we must surely conclude that despite aspersions cast by certain elements, the provincial police forces are obviously learning, somewhat and to some degree, and for this they must be praised.

After we have all been released, around 3am, daylight starting to fall on the landscaped, manicured lawns of Solihull’s corporate legoland, there is a healthily positive nature to the groups attitude, no one is moaning, everyone is somewhat incredulous, just getting on with sorting our shit out . . .

Just a couple of immediate off the cuff subjective musings & recollections, which make no claim to entities such as the truth, they are but one version, shifting, negotiable; unlike the black & white claims of officers processing an arrest, claims that can only and inevitably fail to match up to the complex surreality of yesterdays events.

This obviously connects up with a multiplicity of important issues - the policing of protest in the UK, corporate influences upon such policing, not to mention Palestine, Israel, Iraq and the War on Terror. Our preliminary court hearing is at Solihull Magistrates Court on Wednesday 30th June at 2pm, we will see where and how this develops . . . we can however be confident that it will all be extremely interesting fun . . .

Si Vinnie

Brummie Indymedia

Si Vinnie - Brummie Indymedia


27.06.2004 08:08

Hi! Don't wish to be put-downing, your Caterpillar efforts are
commendable. But this 'fuddy-duddy' feels it's a shame that relations
with police are so abyssmal. Without playing the blame-game, everyone needs
to bear in mind what the demonstration is all about, i.e. ruthless usage
of Caterpillar Bulldozers in Palestinian Occupied Territories. - That's all
I wanted to say, thanks for the opportunity, even if you disagree.


Bert G.

Bert Gedin.
mail e-mail:

nice one

27.06.2004 10:13

hoorah to you all for getting up so early, and taking what Caterpillar does home to them.
Big pity that the police nicked almost everyone (& the van!) for no good reason.
And I'm sorry that people got this treatment, especially on their first action.

To the poster who was complaining about relations with the police being so abysmal - well yes, but that's hardly to do with the way people campaigning behave. It is indeed a pity, because it changes the focus, stops the protest, and makes loads of hassle for the people who've got nicked. Just try it sometime, and you'll see that this is what the police usually do - this is how they do their job - you can do things to lessen the likelihood of them acting like arseholes, but usually their training and corporate identity win through, and they do stupid things, and film you, and take all your details including DNA & send it off to computers in Seattle and Hong Kong, etc etc etc. Enough of that.

Nice one

(ex?) ISMer

How many homes must Israel destroy, before we all sort it out?

27.06.2004 15:52


Yallah you lot - I'm sorry I wasn't with you - I'm sorry that despite loads of advance publicity on Indymedia there were only 10 people at that action, I thank you for keeping the pressure up.

The rest of you lot, get your fucking act together please, lets support these people, lets stand up to the Israeli biassed West Midlands Cuntstabulary and support the people who oppose the company that produces the "signature weapon" of one of the racist occupations "we" bear direct responsibility for.

As to you coppers, well, well, you smashed the award - we'll make a new better one - and we'll keep making the point with it:


Coppers, it comes as no surprise that you support the home wreckers, and not the right to make a symbolic point to them ..... you wanna talk harrassment, alarm and distress?

You wanna put yourselves in the position of people who have a Caterpillar outside their house, and have 5 minutes to salvage what they can before Cat demolish their homes? You wanna think about the ones still inside, the dead ones?

You can't can you?

You're sick little Hitlers, without humanity or compassion, your uniform robs you of that....

The Observer is an eye-opener this morning:

A source "close to David Blunkett", commenting on the mess that is the cannabis laws (a victimless crime) in this country tells us:

'And part of the agreement we reached with police was explicitly to give them the power to still arrest people who were effectively winding them up,'

Cos we can't wind up the little Hitlers, can we, no sirreee, they're such sensitive souls, when their "authority" is challenged - when we don't jump when they tell us to.

And then we go and bomb babies for "freedom and democracy"

which turns out to be the freedom to jump when told to by a cop, or be arrested.

Now, will every one please get back to their Big Macs and cable TV

There's nothing to see, move along please sir!


Denied the Right to Protest by West Midlands Police

28.06.2004 19:47

In response to Bert I thought I’d add a brief account of the police’s concerted attempts to stop our legal right to protest at Caterkillar’s sale of D9 Bulldozers to Israel. It might be worth noting before I begin that the Police said they had met with Caterkillar Finance the day before the protest.

FWIW none of the protestors used threatening or intimidating behaviour to anyone including the police, even when they were trying to provoke as much frustration and anger as possible from protestors. The action was publicised as a peaceful and non-arrestable. None of us really anticipated being arrested – we are all aware of the laws around protest and our legal right to protest and a complaint has been made about the policing of that day and in particular the actions of one violent police officer - who's identity seems a little ambiguous to say the least.

As soon as the police arrived they demanded our names and addresses – without any pretext for them to do so legally. They said we couldn’t use any drums or the megaphone because of ‘noise’ – as with the rest of their actions on that day they refused to substantiate the legality or even the logic of these demands. They continually harassed us to ‘move’ whilst we were protesting even though the entrance to Caterkiller Finance has a public footpath running through it and we weren’t obstructing it. One WPC, S. Bromley when asked for an explanation of why we had to move even though we weren’t obstructing movement along the footpath or the pavement said, ‘because of Section 25’ – she was unable to explain what this law was or what it referred to. When asked if she knew why we were there protesting against Caterkiller she sarcastically responded that ‘her family were there’. I responded that if that was the case, that her family were in the Occupied Territories then I felt a great deal of sympathy for her family, if it wasn’t the case then I personally thought that her comment was very tasteless. She declined to comment…

Another officer, PC Joyce was heard radioing for more help because he claimed a whole range of offences were being committed at Caterkiller Finance. When asked to retract that misrepresentation of what was happening he refused to acknowledge what he had just said.

Things got even stranger when Caterkiller’s award for Homewrecker of the year 2004 was presented. PC 8024 (D. Sanders) or so we are led to believe – photographic evidence reveals some ambiguity as to what his real identity is, snatched the award off one of the protestors. A group of us witnessed him deliberately throw the award to the ground with force where it smashed to pieces. The award clearly did not slip from his grasp and was swept up and disposed of immediately by his colleagues. They then immediately arrested the person presenting the award who had just had it snatched from their hands!

When we returned to protest at Caterkiller again we stood on the public footpath and exercised our legal right to protest and inform the employees of their companies complicity in the atrocities of the Israeli Ocupation Force. One police car turned up and two different PC’s went to speak to the Security guard. They didn’t approach us at all. Then minutes later a van turned up and guess who jumped out? The same police from the morning demo. PC 8024 (whoever that is) took the lead, even though he appears to have only a PC’s junior status, and demanded our names and addresses yet again. We shrugged our shoulders and asked why? He responded that if we didn’t tell them our details then they would arrest us for ‘anti-social behaviour’. I recall we shrugged our shoulders again and asked why and asserted our legal right to protest and remain anonymous. He responded that for the last time if we didn’t tell them our details we’d all be arrested. They then immediately arrested all of us present on the public footpath – without saying why or being able to explain the exact nature of the arrest!

Things get even more distorted when I arrived in front of the Desk Sergeant. The Officer arresting me gave a completely different version of events leading up to our arrest. She claimed we’d been arrested for not giving our details to an arresting officer but couldn't account for the arrest. By the time we were released, 13 hours for the people held in Solihull police station, they had decided to charge us with Section 5 of the Public Order Act – harassment and intimidation. We weren’t interviewed in custody – they told our solicitors that they were just waiting to confirm our identities.

So much for working to the law and being accountable for your actions West Midlands Police
See you in court and thanks for the amazing media opportunity you've created! Was that part of your meeting with Caterkillar the day before - how to raise the profile of their companies complicity in the demolition of Palestinian homes?

thought not...

By the way as part of our bail we're not allowed 500 metres near Caterkillar Finance in Solihull - dunno what the legal pretext is for doing that because we didn't do anything illegal in the first place. So if anyone else can get down there and exercise their right to protest it'd be greatly appreciated! And if anyone can make our court appearence at 2pm at Solihull Magistrates court on Wednesday that would be very welcome to. Please come along and defend your right to protest!

Caterkillar - you are the weakest link - Goodbye!

catakilla protst

28.06.2004 21:04

Thanks for getting this stuff up so quickly - if I read my indy mails more closely, I'd have been there (shame). The "war on terror" seems to have given the cops carte blanche to do whatever they feel like at the time (mind you, historically, they've never really needed that much of an excuse -pace miners srike, poll tax, cruise, travellers etc. etc. ) - you do seem to have encountered a particularly psychotic individual - can you bring the photographs of disguised numbers as evidence?

To some extent, I'm in sympathy with an earlier post arguing that the point of the action (ie to highlight Caterpillar's supply of armoured bulldozers to the ISF) was somewhat lost in the focus on police aggression, but, as someone else pointed out, the cops are becoming increasingly sophisticated in turning legit protest into arrestable offences and in 'dealing with' leaderless actions - perhaps we could do with a totally "illegal" action as, for example, the marches against the Police and Criminal Evidence Act in 1987 and see what happens - wasn't pretty then, but it sure as hell exposed a lot of police attitudes.

Whatever, getting the pictures and comment up so fast is impressive,


mail e-mail:

Oh Please...

29.07.2004 16:23

Oh Please. Why can't you all just live your lives and get jobs of your own and allow those with jobs to carry them out as expected. If you hadn't have behaved like such kids them I'm sure you wouldn't have been treated like kids.

Give to chartities who do sensible campaigning and work instead of resorting to petty protest....

original and the best

original and best?

08.03.2005 18:36

The last comment from 'original and best' denotes that he ( because it surely is a 'he')
1./ Is a saddo with a big ( undeserved ) ego.
2./ Makes ignorant and uniformed comments.
3./ is the sort of person that only has the balls to commetn from behind a computer.
4./ Is very immature.
5./ Thinks that jobs are Ok at the expense of theft and murder.
6./ Would be quite happy for overpaid and underperforming charities to continue to maintain the status quo.
7./ get a fucking life you pissant troll.