Tony Blair set out new plans today for a nuclear power policy, as him and other cabinet ministers attended a Labour Party forum, at the East Midlands Conference Centre in Nottingham. The conference centre is based at Nottingham University, where students jumped into action after it was leaked to Nottinghamshire Indymedia that Tony Blair was to visit the Uni. A call out for a demonstration, meeting at 10am at the Portland Building (on Notts Uni campus) was supported by a number of local campaign groups including the Students Union, Nottingham Stop the War, Nottingham Student Peace Movement, Lenton Anarchist Forum and the arts activism collective the Mischief Makers.
Read: report and timeline
From the newswire: Union pushes for urgent energy reform | Prime Minister visits Nottingham University :: Surveillance Operations | Prime Minister visits Nottingham University :: piccys 1 | Prime Minister visits Nottingham University :: piccys 2 | Pic's of Tony Blair visit in Nottingham | Blair hypocrisy over nukiller power | PM rallies for nuclear power in Nottingham | Blair to visit Nottingham Uni THIS Saturday
Background links: Greenpeace target climate changer Blair at Downing Street | Blair nuclear announcement scuppered | Meacher condemns pro-nuclear 'spin' | Blair Reignites Nuclear Debate - American lobbying adds to pressure | Blair must not back new nuclear power plants
Report: Up to 100 people, including the President and the Social Justice Officer of the Student Union marched down from the Union Building and managed (due to a clever diversion through some woodland) to stage a sit-in protest and block the front entrance to the conference centre for an hour and a half, while the shouting and screaming could be heard in the Labour Party meeting. The police penned in the group, including some children. Dozens of police vans filled up the streets on campus. Although no-one got arrested, various people were stopped and searched under section 60. After it was leaked that the PM was to meet at the uni, various groups met up to spontaniously organise to counter this meeting, which was meant to take place in secret. Some affinity group actions were planned but were made impossible due to the heavy police presence. Nevertheless, the word about Tony Blair coming to campus spread around the university like wildfire, resulting in a good turnout for the demonstration, something the police and Labour Party officials did not expect. At about 13:20, after rain, an hour and a half of being penned in by the police and Tony Blair leaving in a high speed convoy from the back entrance of the conference, it seemed the end of an exciting and wet day which seemed to have left people inspired that something was pulled off within 48hrs notice.
Timeline of events:
[09:15] Conference centre heavily guarded by scores of police vans and university security.
[10:08] Around 50 people have gathered at the Portland building for a demonstration towards the conference centre.
[10:35] Demonstration leaves for conference centre.
[10:55] Using a diversion through some woodland on campus, while still escorted by lots of police, the demonstration manages to blockade the entrance to the cenference centre.
[11:10] The demonstration is penned in by police. No one is allowed to leave.
[11:15] Someone outside the pen, handing out flyers to conference delegates is 'temporarily arrested'.
[11:20] A group of protesters at the Central University Library are spreading the word about what's going on. Announcements are made at various places on campus.
[11:30] More people start to gather outside the pen, supporting tthe protesters who are still penned in by police while having a sit in at the conference centre entrance.
[12:00] Various people outside the pen are being searched by police under section 60. Some are being held and questioned, but not arrested.
[12:10] People are negotiating with police about being able to leave as a group. Some children are still being held within the pen. It has started to rain.
[12:30] People are told they are allowed to leave, but are still being stopped by police. At an attempted break out, the police push people back in the pen, using force.
[12:35] A heavy guarded convoy of vehicles, including some with blanked windows, leaves from the back entrance of the building at high speed.
[12:40] More and more people outside the pen are joining in, shouting slogans and blowing whistles. People within the pen start a countdown from 60 to about 45, when the police opens up their cordon, letting the demonstration continue, towards the other group.
[13:10] Demonstration continues for about another 10 minutes outside the conference centre grounds.