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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

Birmingham Feature Archive

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15-07-2008 23:03

IOM Unwelcome in Birmingham

International Organisation *Against* Migrants

The International Organisation against Migration, aka the International Organisation for Migration or IOM, held a 'conference' in Birmingham last month in preparation for opening a new regional office in the city. A handful of local activists did a banner drop at the four-star hotel where the event was held to unwelcome the dodgy organisation. They also gave out leaflets to the delegates to tell them the truth about IOM, whose real mission is to help Western governments 'manage migration' and meet their deportation quotas.

Reports: IOM Unwelcomed in Birmingham | IOM's new Birmingham office | Inside the IOM Birmingham conference | IOM Bribing Asylum Seekers to Return Home | The So-Called Voluntary Return

Related: Shadowy deportation organisation opens office in London | New Home Office Scheme Against Asylum Seekers in Glasgow | IOM Picket in Bristol | No Platform for the IOM (Bristol) | No Border's IOM page

Full Story >>

29-02-2008 19:01

Protesters Demand Hands Off Iraqi Oil!

A bit of corporate rebranding is due..

As part of the international day of action called by Hands Off Iraqi Oil on Saturday 23rd February, a group of protesters and local people closed down a Shell forecourt for two hours in Birmingham whilst in Coventry there was a series of 5 banner drops. Both actions sent a defiant message of solidarity to Iraqi oil workers resisting attempts to steal billions of dollars in oil revenue from their devastated country.

Since 2003, the UK and US governments, the IMF, and various oil corporations including Shell and BP are trying to force through a proposed oil law which will allow oil corporations unhindered access to their oil wealth, bypassing the Iraqi economy entirely.

Elsewhere the callout for action resulted in actions in, London, Liverpool, Wrexham, Coventry, Bristol, Southend, Amsterdam and Washington [video]

Action report's from the West Midlands [1, 2] | Pics [1, 2, 3] | Audio from the London tour of the Corporate Oil Profiteers

Hands Off Iraqi Oil | Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions | Stop the Iraqi Oil Law | The Stirrer coverage | 2007 IMC article |

Full Story >>

24-02-2008 02:54

Indymedia UK and the Atzmon-Greenstein affair

Although moderation discussions and disagreements within the IMC UK collective are not that rare, never before has a post proved so controversial and divisive like an article by controversial Israeli writer and musician Gilad Atzmon titled "Saying NO to the Hunters of Goliath". The disputed post has triggered serious, heated discussions among Indymedia UK moderators, two active IMCers leaving the collective, as well as a malicious campaign of spamming and disinformation against Atzmon and Indymedia UK itself. However, the controversy was also an opportunity for IMC UK to reflect on the process of moderation and the need for a deeper political discussion. The purpose of this feature is to establish the facts and clarify IMC UK's position(s) on the Atzmon-Greenstein affair, anti-Semitism and moderation issues in general.

Full Story >>

15-07-2007 02:39

Up with the Posties!

Following failed talks with the Royal Mail management, postal workers across the country went on a second 24-hour strike in two weeks, starting at 7pm on Thursday, July 12th. Pickets were again held at sorting offices in the evening and many more at delivery offices and depots the following morning. In Birmingham, three picket lines were formed at each gate of the main mail centre in Newtown. Solidarity from fellow workers, as well as from members of the West Midlands branch of the Industrial Workers of the World union (IWW), was impressive.

Report and pics | Film: Solidarity with the Posties! | Cov Wobblies support local posties | First round of postal workers strike | Industrial Action at Crown Post Offices Today | Crown postal workers walk out | Victoria Square Crown Post Office Birmingham Solidarity Banner Drop | Solihull Post Office workers walk out again | IWW Solidarity with Coventry Post Office workers strike

Full Story | 2 additions >>

13-07-2007 01:19


Last Tuesday (10 July), Indymedia Birmingham, in conjunction with the Mikey Powell Campaign, screened Injustice, a powerful film about deaths in police custody and the victims' families' struggles for justice. The screening, which was held at the Custard Factory in Digbeth, Birmingham, was preceded and followed by talks by Tippa Naphtali, a cousin of Mikey Powell, who died at the hands of police in Handsworth, Birmingham, in 2003.

The film was preceded by a short interview with Ramona Africa, the sole adult survivor of the FBI's bombing of the MOVE organisation's home in Philadelphia in 1985. The only justice, she stressed, is to bring down the "vicious, rotten system" that caused and continues to cause such injustices. Last month Indymedia Birmingham had shown a new documentary about MOVE at the Drum to galvanise support for the MOVE 9 and Mumia Abu-Jamal [Mainstream media ignore the plight of MOVE 9 and journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal | Radio interview with Ramona Africa and Fred Riley from MOVE].

Links: Mikey Powell Campaign | 4WardEver | MOVE

Full Story >>

30-06-2007 22:41

Postal workers walk out over planned pay and job cuts

CWU picket at Birmingham's main mail centre

Up to 130,000 postal workers took part in a 24-hour strike on Friday -the first in 11 years- to stop the Royal Mail's cost-cutting plans, which the Communication Workers Union (CWU) says would only mean cuts in members' pay and pensions, job cuts and more post office closures. Picket lines were mounted outside sorting offices and mail centres across the country from early morning, disrupting mail deliveries for the day.

In Birmingham, two picket lines at the front and back gates of the main mail centre in Newtown saw, on and off, tens of postal workers and their supporters, while 'Royal Mail police' were trying to break up the picket lines, intimidating and threatening picketers. There was also another picket line in the city centre. [report and pics]

Last week, a well-attended march took place in Gloucester, followed by a rally in the docks, as part of a campaign against the planned closure of the Gloucester Mail Centre. A similar march and rally were held in Coventry city centre last March to protest against the planned closure of Coventry's sorting office.

Links: CWU's Save Postal Services campaign

Full Story >>

26-06-2007 23:37

Birmingham's 2007 Refugee Week(end)

symbolic grave stones

Besides the annual high-profile Celebrating Sanctuary 'festival', this year's Refugee Week in Birmingham saw a candlelit vigil, organised by the Birmingham Anti-Racist Campaign (ARC), in the grounds of St. Philip's Cathedral on Friday, 22 June, to remember asylum seekers who took their own lives and to protest against the government's racist policies [call]. This was followed by African, Kurdish and Iranian live music, then the annual Refugee Sleep-out to highlight the problem of destitution that many asylum seekers suffer from. The following day, the end of Refugee Week, saw a rally in Victoria Square, organised by ARC as well, to highlight the bitter realities suffered by refugees and asylum seekers in Britain and to protest against the Home Office's war on them [call].

Meanwhile, Birmingham NoBorders issued a statement on the much-talked-about asylum amnesty, pointing out that, even when not based on racist criteria, it is not a long-term solution and often causes great suffering for those who do not 'fit in' and leads to stricter immigration controls.

Related: Celebrating Sanctuary?! What Sanctuary?! | Birmingham NoBorders and The Angel Group at Celebrating Sanctuary | Refugee Week 2006: ARC vigil | Solihull picket | "party without borders"

Full Story >>

18-05-2007 10:20

Indymedia Oaxaca Tour Starting In The UK

Indymedia Oaxaca, the network in the UK of Zapatista solidarity groups along with anticapitalist collectives launch a tour of information and debate on the issues surrounding the people of Oaxaca's rebellion. The Tour will be visiting Birmingham on 16th May 16th, Liverpool on the 17th, Bradford on the 18th, Manchester on the 19th, Edinburgh on the 20th, Bristol on the 22nd, and finally in London's Rampart Social Centre on the 24th before jumping over to Europe. There will be films, talks and discussions with a guest from Indymedia Oaxaca.

The right to rebel is sacred, as exercising it is indispensable to break the obstacles that oppose the right to life. (Ricardo Flores Magon)

Our guest for the tour is a member of the Indymedia Oaxaca collective, and a free radio maker for the communities in the mountains north of the state. He is also a collaborator of Radio Jenpoj (Wind of Fire ). Playing the role that independent media does in the popular struggle in Oaxaca means living alongside a constant threat of targeted repression.

Click at the Full article link for background information on the current situation in Oaxaca, and see IMC-UK Oaxaca topic page for reports on the Oaxaca Uprising.

Full Story | 2 additions | 7 comments >>

04-05-2007 10:51

Mayday 2007 in the West Mids

Well, it was almost pathetic compared to other places such as Turkey, Germany or Switzerland, for example. But at least some things happened on May 1st to celebrate the International Workers Day and the social and economic struggles of the working class and labour movement.

PCS Strike and Rally in Birmingham | Protest Against ESOL Cuts in Birmingham | Mayday Festival in Wolverhampton | See also Indymedia UK's Mayday 2007 topic page

Mayday was also Birmingham Indymedia's second birthday. That's two years of reporting, growing and evolving. Birmingham Indymedia has been a successful alternative to corporate and mainstream media due to volunteers who post, maintain, code, write, support, promote, video, photograph etc. If the Indymedia project is to survive another two years, we need to continue sharing and disseminating the message that another form of media, our media, is possible.

Full Story >>

01-05-2007 01:05

Don't Vote! It only encourages them

So it's that time of the year again: the election circus has come to town and you are expected to turn out to vote on May 3rd. By this seemingly straightforward act, however, you will tacitly endorse a sham democracy and are unlikely to change anything really important. Democracy is supposed to be "rule by the People", but there are huge areas in the UK system of government, such as foreign policy and defence, where the People have absolutely no say. Even health and education, which are typically hot topics in election times, are being sold off, always at the expense of the poor.

Further, Brummagem Star, a newly launched grassroots newsletter, has exposed that BNP candidates in Birmingham have been using bogus nominees to make up the ten required to be able to stand for a ward. Back in 2004, when 6 Labour councillors were found guilty of rigging the electoral system, a High Court judge said Birmingham's electoral fraud would "disgrace a Banana Republic".

Those who abstain from voting are often labelled as apathetic and may not bring about a proper democracy in the immediate future, but at least they will have the satisfaction of knowing they are not helping perpetuate a downright lie. On the other hand, there have been many successful examples in recent years of communities self-organising through solidarity and mutual aid. Direct democracy does not need the interference of parasitic intermediaries who only show up during election campaigns or for a 'photo opportunity'.

Election Circus Comes to Town! Brummagem Star issue 1 | Birmingham BNP Election Fraud | Anti Election in Balsall Heath

Full Story >>

14-04-2007 20:29

Police mar peaceful anti-deportation protest in Solihull

Over 200 people protested on Thursday, 12 April, at the immigration reporting centre in Solihull, near Birmingham, against deportations to the Democratic Republic of Congo. The protest was part of a UK-wide coordinated day of action to mark a Directions Hearing for the Country Guidance Tribunal regarding DRC asylum seekers.

The peaceful protest was marred by a large police presence and was penned, twice, into Sandford House's car park. Protesters, however, broke off after a while and blockaded the road for about 2 hours. Two people were arrested, one also assaulted by an aggressive cop. They were released later on but only because their fellow protesters, in an empowering show of solidarity, refused to leave the site before they were released.

Report | Photo report | Report & photos | Video

Full Story | 1 comment >>

11-04-2007 21:25

Mass for Critical Mass!

Birmingham's Critical Mass has been steadily growing to reclaim the city's roads, where people are often forced by petroleum guzzling road users to ride dangerously in the gutter. This month's ride saw over 30 people, joined by a few skaters and BMXers, joyfully cycling along the City Centre's main roads and streets, accompanied by a trailer sound system pumping out cycling-related grooves, without any intervention from cops or psychotic car drivers. Last month's ride saw a cap driver attempting to undercut the mass and colliding with a cyclist. It also saw attempts by the police to intervene in the Mass.

Birmingham Critical Mass takes place on the first Friday of every month. Poeple usually meet up at 5:30pm in Pigeon Park (St Philip’s Cathedral) and set off at about 6pm for a spontaneous ride around the city centre.

Recent Rides reports: April | March | February | January: cyclist wins re-trial

Full Story | 1 addition | 2 comments >>

12-02-2007 17:30

Dozens of Iraqi Kurds deported.. again

For the third time in less than two years, a 'charter flight' left the RAF Brize Norton military base in Oxfordshire today, carrying a number of Iraqi Kurds to Erbil, Kurdistan (Northern Iraq). The 38 'failed asylum seekers' had been arrested and detained from across the UK.

Some 60 protesters gathered at the gates of Brize Norton this morning, in a protest called by the Campaign to Close Campsfield. It followed other protests over the weekend in London, Leicester and Manchester [reports from Harmondsworth demo 1 | 2 | pics 1 | 2 | 3 | video]. But neither these protests nor the repeated warnings from national and international human rights organisations [UNHCR | Amnesty] managed to convince the Home Office of halting forced removals to unsafe Iraq.

Related: No Deportations to Unsafe Iraq | No Deportations to Iraq | New Labour's War on the Kurds

Full Story | 3 additions | 5 comments >>

09-02-2007 11:00

Get Down to Your Local Indy

Local Indymedia Collectives

Local Indymedia groups (IMCs) exist all over the UK. Some have existed longer than others and some are more active than others, but they all have one thing in common: they need your help. If you're interested in working on independent media on a local level, or if you have technical skills, why not become involved? Help organise film screenings, benefit events, or report on local issues, compile features and do admin work on the websites. There is a lot to be done!

Local IMC kollectives have regular meetings which are open to anyone interested. These include:
Bristol: Monday 19th Feb, 8pm at the Hillgrove Pub, Kingsdown, Bristol
Cambridge: Monday 19th Feb, 7:30pm at 3 Fletchers Terrace Cambridge (more on meetings)
Manchester: Wednesday 14th Feb, 7.30pm at Basement Social Centre, 24 Lever St, Manchester, M11DZ

Click at the 'Full article' link above to know more about the local kollectives and how to get involved.

Full Story | 2 additions | 5 comments >>

17-01-2007 22:05

Tackle Guantanamo Shackles


Some 70-80 people gathered today in Perry Barr, Birmingham, in front of Hiatt, a UK company that makes shackles and other torture equipment, to 'celebrate' the 5th anniversary of the notorious US-run prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, where 10 British residents and 400 other prisoners are held illegally. The protest was part of a UK-wide day of action and was called by the Birmingham Guantanamo Campaign, Reprieve, Save Omar Campaign and Amnesty International.

call-out | press release | photo report | video

Previous protests: 2005 demo: tackle the shackles | June 2006 vigil | Airport vigil | Birmingham Guantanamo Campaign and police at Starbucks | petition | public meeting

Full Story >>

27-11-2006 16:05

Activists Blockade Shell Petrol Station in Birmingham

On 20 November, 2006, some 20 environmental and human rights activists risked arrest by blockading a Shell petrol station in central Birmingham for over 3 hours during the morning rush hour. The direct action was taken in solidarity with the community of County Mayo, Ireland, who are resisting the construction by Shell of a dangerous and experimental gas pipeline and refinery in a beautiful and remote part of Ireland [background]. The project is yet another example of how governments (in this case, the Irish state) are putting the interests of large corporations before those of local people and the environment.

See: report | pictures | video

Links: Shell to Sea Campaign | Rossport Solidarity Camp | Indymedia Mayo | Rossport Solidarity action page on Indymedia UK

Full Story >>

14-10-2006 18:11

The Discriminatory Asylum Vouchers

Over 5,000 'failed asylum seekers' in the UK receive £35-a-week vouchers instead of cash for their NASS support under Section 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999, despite concerted efforts by the Home Office to open routes of enforced and 'voluntary' return to get rid of them. The so-called "hard-case support" claimants are stigmatised, demeaned and discriminated against on a daily basis. Yet, the House of Commons have recently debated extending the use of vouchers for more asylum seekers, 4 years after the original Asylum Voucher Scheme was abolished following huge public pressure [1 | 2] and a lot of criticism.

Read: Shaming Destitution: Citizen Advice Bureau's report | the Home Office review of the voucher scheme (pdf) | Token Gestures: the effects of the voucher scheme on asylum seekers (pdf) | Joint parliamentary briefing (pdf)

Links: Birmingham No Borders | other No Borders groups in the UK

Full Story | 1 addition | 3 comments >>

01-10-2006 17:17

Campaign Against CCTV Camera Surveillance in Balsall Heath

ANTI-CCTV-Boy up close and impersonal

Following the street protest on 23 July, 2006, on Birchwood Road in Birmingham [pics], where angry residents expressed their opposition to the installation of a CCTV camera on their road without any consultation with residents, there have been ongoing activities to demand the removal of the camera and extend the protest to other CCTV cameras in the city.

An anti-CCTV information leaflet was distributed to all residents shortly after the protest, then a petition was put together demanding the removal of the CCTV camera. Every house on Birchwood and Alder roads was called upon twice. Those who have been active against the camera were surprised at the number of residents opposed to the camera and their very good reasons for doing so. Almost everybody was dissatisfied that they had not been consulted about the camera going up. Moreover, activists are now trying to expose the businesses behind it.

CCTV protest | Anti CCTV placards and banner | CCTV Protest in Balsall Heath Continues

Full Story | 2 comments >>

07-09-2006 22:21

No Deportations to Iraq

No Borders demo at Harmondsworth and Colnbrook detention centres, 8 April 2006

32 Iraqi asylum seekers, who had been incarcerated in different detention centres, were deported to Arbil, northern Iraq, on 5 September, 2006, on a specially chartered flight from the RAF Brize Norton military base in Oxfordshire. There was a demonstration at the Home Office in London, called by the Coalition to Stop Deportations to Iraq and the International Federation of Iraqi Refugees, but that did not apparently stop the process, and neither did the warnings from international organisations [1 | 2 | 3] or the legal challenges.

The first forced deportation of Iraqi Kurds from the UK took place on 19 November, 2005. 15 men were taken to an airport at night, handcuffed, beaten and forced onto a military plane headed for Arbil through Cyprus. The move then sparked a lot of anger and protest [1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5], and the deportation of Iraqis was halted for a while until resumed this month. Tens of Iraqi Kurds are believed to be interned in UK detention centres, while thousands more have been served notice that they will be 'removed' from the country [latest report].

Read: initial report | call-out for demo | names of deportees | Home Secretary resumes forced removals to Iraq | EU-coordinated deportation of Afghani refugees

Links: Coalition to Stop Deportations to Iraq | International Federation of Iraqi Refugees | National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns | Noborders UK communication channels

Full Story | 4 additions | 2 comments >>

28-08-2006 22:32

Camp For Climate Action


In the shadow of Drax power station, hundreds of activists have gathered at the Camp for Climate Action [see report and location | first pictures and call out | video]. The camp, which started officially on Saturday, August 26th, is based on squatted land and will have over 160 workshops over the course of the week. For more information and background, see the climate camp special reports section. Click the Full Article link for updates.

Sunday, 27 Aug - reports: 1 | 2 - photos: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
Monday, 28 Aug - reports: Police Refuse Offer to Tour Climate Camp Site [2] | Kids Walk to Drax Power Station | Audio of Faslane Workshop

Full Story | 5 additions >>