A number of Brighton anti-war activists from the Smash Edo campaign were presented
with a summons to attend the High Court on 14th April.
EDO/MBM Ltd, who manufacture bomb components for F-16s used in the Iraq war, are
seeking an injunction to prevent campaigners from protesting outside their factory
in Brighton. The injunction is sought by solicitors firm Lawson-Cruttenden & Co.
The summons follows the recent acquittal of three activists accused of aggravated
trespass on EDO’s premises.
EDO also recently withdrew a threatened libel action against Indymedia over being
named as “warmongers”.
It is believed that the injunction served under the 1997 Protection from Harassment
Act (originally designed to protect women from stalkers) is the first of its kind
directed at activists outside of the animal rights movement.
If granted it would create an “exclusion zone” outside of EDO’s premises on Home
Farm Industrial Estate as well as banning any protests outside homes of directors
and employees of the company (over 160 addresses)! The company will allow protests
to take place on Thursday afternoons for two hours provided those protesting number
no more than ten and are silent.
The blanket nature of the injunction sought could affect hundreds of people involved
in the Peace Movement in Brighton and would in effect be a control order, placed
against “persons unknown”.
Tom Gittoes named on the summons said “I will fight this injunction. It’s sickening
that in a UN Peace Messenger City, the local police and an arms company are
colluding to prevent peaceful protest. This is typical of EDO’s contempt for human
rights. They’ve used every trick in the book including covert photography and
serving the summons on a Bank Holiday weekend when we can’t get legal advice.”
Lorna Marcham (also named) added “It is clear that this injunction is an attempt to
strangle our right to protest, EDO don’t want attention drawn to their role in the
death of civilians in the illegal war in Iraq”
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Notes for Journalists
Lawson-Cruttenden & Co, a solicitors firm have been instrumental in the development
of the Protection of Harassment Act 1997 from a measure designed to safeguard
individuals to a corporate charter to make inconvenient protest illegal. They have
pioneered to use of injunctions to create large “exclusion zones”. They have secured
numerous injunctions against anti-vivisection protestors.
EDO/MBM Technologies Ltd are a UK subsidiary of huge U.S arms conglomerate EDO Corp,
which was recently named No. 10 in the Forbes list of 100 fastest growing companies.