Smash EDO recently held a week long peace camp in the Wild Park behind EDO MBM in Brighton. The Peace Camp came just months after EDO MBM sought a civil injunction under the Protection from Harassment Act aimed to limit protest outside the factory. Smash EDO are a grassroots campaign group who have been trying to shut down Brighton arms manufacturers EDO MBM for over 18 months. EDO MBM manufacture weapons for the US/UK's war on Iraq and to the IDF for their oppression of the Palestinians.
The camp began with a demonstration through the streets of Brighton designed to let the people of Brighton know about the war criminals in their midst. The march was met by police repression and corralled as it tried to proceed down North Sreet. Four activists were arrested but no one has been charged.
That evening protesters set up camp ouside the factory undeterred. On Monday protests began with a Lunch Against the Arms Trade outside the factory and a programme of theatrical protests called Carry on up the Injunction.
The next morning protesters paid a visit to EDO MBM's second premises in Fishersgate, those attending the demo were surprised to see that the factories gates had been D-locked. Later that day an anonymous posting on indymedia revealed that unknown persons had visited the premises during the night.
Later that day ten policemen arrived at the camp, supported by a helicopter and informed residents that they were enforcing a by-law and that they had the power to remove campers. The police were accompanied by he head of security for EDO MBM. However, campers called Brighton and Hove Council who hastily informed the police that the council had no desire to evict protesters from council land.
The happy campers paid a visit to Hove Town Hall the following day to suggest to Brighton and Hove Council that they should support the proposed council motion that EDO MBM was not welcome in Brighton and Hove.
EDO MBM are an exhibitor at DSEI, Smash EDO would like to encourage all supporters to protest at the arms fair. See Disarm DSEI.
Brighton & Hove is a UN Peace Messenger City.
The injunction referred to be served under the 1997 Protection from Harassment Act (originally designed to protect women from stalkers) and is the first of its kind directed at activists outside of the animal rights movement. Crucially it is a civil injunction but carries criminal penalties. It affects anyone deemed to be a protestor.
Initially EDO/MBM requested a large 'exclusion zone' comprising the whole of Home Farm Industrial Estate. They and Sussex police also wanted to limit demonstrations to two and a half hours, with less than ten people who had to be silent. Judge Gross refused to impose these conditions at the initial hearing of an interim injunction, which was put in place in the period before the full trial to be heard at the High court in London from November 21st.
In his summing up he said, "The right to freedom of expression is jealously guarded in English law" and consequently refused to impose the requested limits on size, timing or noise made at demonstrations.He also said that he doubted that protesters were 'stalking' employees of EDO MBM.
EDO MBM Technologies Ltd are the sole 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. They supply bomb release mechanisms to the US and UK armed forces amongst others. They supply crucial components for Raytheons Paveway IV guided bomb system, widely used in the 'Shock and Awe' campaign in Iraq.
EDO also recently withdrew a threatened libel action against Indymedia over being named as 'warmongers'.
Lawson-Cruttenden & Co, a solicitors firm working for EDO have been instrumental in developing 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 and anti-GM protestors.