London Indymedia

Prosecution Collapses in Superglue Penny Trial

Sam Nexter | 10.01.2008 11:08 | Climate Camp 2007 | Climate Chaos | London

An activist who superglued her hands to gates to prevent riot police entering the Heathrow Climate camp last year has been exonerated by a judge at Uxbridge court.

During the Camp for Climate Action at Heathrow last year, large numbers of police invaded the site, only to be peacefully resisted by the Campers, and ejected from the site with impressive restraint. The pretext for this attack by the police was so that the Forward Intelligence Team could “do a headcount” (in spite of the face that local police officers were already patrolling the site, and were presumably perfectly capable of fulfilling this task). It is far more likely that the real reason behind the police action was their desire to provoke a riot, and thus have an excuse to destroy the camp and bang heads. After the incursion the Territorial Support Group (riot police) were ordered to kit themselves out in full gear, to prepare for a second assault on the camp.

This would have come to pass if it had not been for the swift response of an activist who superglued her hands to the gates in order to deny them access.

As a result of this action Penny Eastwood was charged with obstructing the police in the course of their duty, and she entered a plea of innocent on the grounds that the police were not acting in accordance with their duty.

After months of delay, the trial took place at Uxbridge on 8th and 9th January, at which the prosecution case collapsed. The district judge presiding rightly spotted that the police’s case was a load of rubbish, because they produced no evidence that they were prevented from carrying out a lawful duty.

This case proves (if any proof were needed), that the police are ever happy to employ violence in pursuit of their political aims. It also shows that the Met are spectacularly stupid. I suppose we should take some comfort that there are still judges in Britain who think that the provoking of riots is outside a police officer’s normal course of duty.

Penny said "I was trying to de-escalate the situation after aggressively over the top policing had created tension. There were riot police crouching behind the hedgerow. It was very scary, particularly as there were children on site".

"I am a climate activist because I am a mother and I want to ensure that my children have a half-way decent future - that's why I see it as my duty to oppose acts of environmental lunacy, like airport expansion. I thought that the riot police were trying to shut down the climate camp, and I didn't think that that was right or fair. The trial has been hanging over me for several months, and it is a huge relief that my action has been vindicated by the judge."

Sam Nexter
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Hide the following 9 comments


10.01.2008 14:37

another victory against the fucking knuckle-headed morons at the met.

keep it up people! inspiring to see....

fuck the police!



10.01.2008 18:01

dont know if i ever said thank you, but that was such quick thinking, who knows what would of happened if you hadn't of done that.

fucking brilliant woman.

great outcome.


congratulations penny

10.01.2008 20:18

that's fantastic. you're a star


Nice One

11.01.2008 00:06

I knew they wouldn't be able make it stick..........

Hebden Bridge

Congratulations, but...

11.01.2008 00:22

The acquittal is fantastic news. Every time someone stands up to the cops and opposes them by whatever means they feel appropriate is great. If you can get away with it without conviction, even better.

However, there are questionable assumptions made within this article which should be examined.

Firstly, the resistance was not peaceful. Unless pushing, kicking and punching is peaceful. People were not restrained, and this was impressive. Some people did put their hands in the air, but this was not until the police had been forcibly removed from site.

It is difficult to say what the intentions of the police were that day. Whilst their pretext is obviously laughable, I don’t think they were necessarily trying to cause a riot. The FIT who came onto site were not prepared for the resistance they received. Additionally they were wearing plastic gloves, as if intending to search, rather than being prepared for a public order situation.

The TSG were kitted up and ready to come on site. However, from what I have heard, they were acting without proper authorisation from their command structure and the silver commander ordered them to pull out.

Lastly, while attempting to block the entrance was a brave thing to do, it would not have prevented the TSG from storming the site had that been their intention, or if they were not called off. The site was very open and incredibly difficult to defend.

For me, the reaction to the police that night was the most positive experience I had at the camp. The fact people were prepared to physically resist by whatever means they felt necessary was an empowering experience.

We need more of this resistance. We need to fight back against repression and show we will stand up for what we believe in.

somebody present

if only I'd known...

11.01.2008 10:28

So the court found that the police raid on the camp may not have been lawful. Well, good on the court! That sort of ruling doesnt happen often. And well done Penny for pushing the case.

But of course it was not the law, or the individual actions of Penny which stopped the police raid on the camp. It was a load of people who were prepared to fight - physically fight - to get and keep them off site.

So if you were there and got stuck in - good on ya. If you were there and you just stood at the back - do better next time!

....the thing is, if I had known we'd get away with it, I may have kicked the bastards a bit harder....hindsight is a wonderful thing :-)

wannabee rioter

Another Observer

11.01.2008 11:04

I was present at the incident at the camp.

I think its fairer to say that the crowd at the camp had a clear objective - get the police off - and did so in a manner that was militant yet de-escalating (including Penny). It wasnt 'by any means necessary', more 'by the only means possible' - a large part of the camp acting together.

One way this was possible was by some people being more 'peaceful' than they perhaps wanted to be and some being less so. It was a great example of compromise amongst a large group - thinking and acting quickly to achieve a goal in the best interests of the group as a whole.

What we need is more undertanding like this, and not attitudes like 'it wasn't peaceful' from the poster above. It was peaceful for many people at the incident. There was also kicking, pushing and shoving. it wasnt peaceful for them. It worked becasue people worked together, having different roles.

Another Observer

not quite (or quiet)

11.01.2008 18:48

I was right in there and didn´t see kicking or punching from our lot, only from the police. Shoving and pushing yes, shouting and similar yes.

This is partly why I don´t like the word peaceful, and people use it around talking about direct action as if it´s the more acceptable DA or whatever, or has some values that aren´t about whether you made a loud noise or not!

The resistance was forceful; you can forcefully, with determination but without aggression or violence, push cops or break through their lines if you do it together and calmly. Not to say that we were all quite that calm, but it´s possible. That´s not to say that the same tactics should be used in all situations or whatever. But many people were restrained - there´s not something automatically bad about that in itself!

there too

The police expulsion...

12.01.2008 23:02

Just in case anyone hasn't seen it, this was the camp's response to the FIT's attempt at a "headcount". Meanwhile the Tactical Support Group were waiting just out of sight in Sipson lane, and Penny's brave actions served to delay them.

Well done Penny, you're a hero.



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