UK Free Spaces Feature Archive
At 7am two independent groups of campaigners from the Camp for Climate Action stopped carbon-intensive private jets fom operating at two airports in the south east. Executive flights at Biggin Hill and Farnborough airports have been brought to a standstill by climate activists concerned at the huge growth in the use of private jets by business people. At Biggin Hill Airport the activists D-locked themselves to the gates of the airports. 10 people were then arrested. The blockade lasted for just under 4 hours.
24 people took part in the blockade at Farnborough Airport with 9 people locked onto lock-on devices across the access road. After an hour the aiport staff opened up an emergancy crash exit to allow the gathered business people in. Meanwhile protesters handed out leaflets to staff, passengers and locals. Jets were delayed and after 2 hours a second emergency exit was opened. By this point the police warned people they would be arrested and it was decided to return to the camp. Although no one was arrested, the police did seize lock-on devices.
Also on the newswire: Pics of Biggin Hill blockade | Business flights blockaded by climate activists | Video Interview with Farnborough Airport Blockaders | Bristol Airport Stunt | Audio Interviews from Camp | Renewable energy at Camp - photos report and videos | Camp under Surveillance | Happy Days Thursday Pics and Report
Sunday, August 12. Late Saturday night, a field close to Heathrow airport site was occupied by about 100 people, the first wave of setting up the 2007 Camp For Climate Action [pics]. Twin double decker tripods were quickly erected and despite being just 800 metres from BAA's head office, it took the police two hours to find the site. There have been reports of two arrests and police copying data from mobile phones during searches.
There are now several hundred people on site and the camp taking shape. Police have been searching people and preventing access to the site on and off but in the last few hours this seems to have solidified into a state of siege with police refusing to let vehicles with power, water or toilet facilities onto the site.
Campaigners representing “Planning Disaster” , a coalition of Britain's leading environment organisations, today drew up a spoof planning notice for a new nuclear power station to be developed on the current site of Nottingham Forest Football Club. The action was to highlight the Government’s proposed changes to the planning system.
The current planning system allows people to be part of the decision making process. They can have their say on proposals for major developments such as new roads or nuclear power stations. But reforms proposed in the Government's White Paper on planning will remove the public's democratic right to challenge projects at public inquiry. Planning decisions will also be taken out of the hands of accountable politicians and handed over to an unelected, unaccountable new body called the Infrastructure Planning Commission.
Links: Planning Disaster Coalition | Nottingham FOE | Planning for a Sustainable Future: White Paper: website or PDF | House of Commons debate on the issue on 21 May 2007
In Reading, a group of local activists and residents have reclaimed a plot of land left empty by the local council, transforming it into an attractive community garden. After months of hard work, they went public with banners and door-to-door flyering, advertising the opening day and encouraging the neighbours to see the garden as common land for all to enjoy. The councils response? Injunctions and threats of eviction. Undeterred, the group pushed ahead with the opening day, which was a great success.
A few legal hearings later, the council have their eviction orders, and are expected to try and evict the garden and adjacent squatted building on Wednesday 20th June. Help is needed to resist the eviction - meet 9:30am at the garden.
Meanwhile, in Oxford, locals have turned an area of derelict garages into a similar community space - in this case, with the permission and help of the local council (undoubtably because access issues make the site unsuitable for developers).
They held their official opening on Saturday 16th, also a varied and wonderful community event. In a sickening counterpart to events in Reading, council bureaucrats and the local Blairite MP used the project as cover to prop up their own crumbling reputations, to the discomfort of many of those present.
[ Reading: eviction callout | eviction hearing | detailed report | injunction hearing + demo | opening day report + pics | opening announcement | local mainstream coverage ]
[ Oxford: opening day pics | opening announcement ]
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.
" I went to the Playhouse Theatre, where the Lantern Parade was due to assemble from Wellington Circus. This was a really colourful event with thousands taking part. Giant puppets, youth arts, drummers, samba band and a fire show. Folks paraded from there, down Maid Marian Way, and into the square. The usual suspects there included the Sheriff of Nottingham, Lord Mayor, assorted troups of King John's Army, oh, and Robin Hood, & Maid Marian on a wire, bobbing about above the crowds. Fireworks from the roof of the council House, with guys on rotating wheels. A windmill decked with fireworks, and the crowd ohh'd and ahhh'd as yet another lot of fireworks, went off, from the Castle. Event finished at about 9pm. Now, I ask you. What other country in the world, puts on a main event of celebration in its public space, and closes down in the early evening? "
" It's lovely to have the Market Square finally finished, isn't it? Now we can start to use it again; as a great hang out, somewhere to sit around with our friends in the sun, but the question is ... Is it really our Square, or not? The council has its own agenda for the Square. It wants it kept clear of pretty much everyone except shoppers and commercial outfits. It tells us it’s employing Community Protection Officers for our safety, but all they seem to do is kick people off the steps when we try to meet by the Lions. Just try gathering there in any numbers at the moment. The point seems to be to keep away young people and anyone whose face doesn’t fit. "
Articles: £7.2m to vote Labour? | Market Square Opening Events : Saturday Pix 1 | Market Square Opening Events : Saturday Pix 2 | Market Square Opening Events : Construction & Preparation | Reclaim Slab Square (March 24) | Reclaim Our City! - leaflet text for Nottingham's Market Square reopening night | Vote for band to open new market square
"We fix, we build!! Occupied against speculation, against gentrification"
A group of local south londoners have opened up a building in Camberwell, and are fixing it up to run it as a social space. It aims to be a centre open to the local community, and right now lots of work is going on fixing and repairing the space so to open it with regular events, including a caffe every Friday and film nights every Wednesday.
Early in the morning of March 6th, high court bailiffs and police moved in to evict the Vortex Occupied Social Centre. The old Jazz bar on Stoke Newington Church Street, North London, had been occupied since the beginning of the year and had been open for numerous and varied community events [ 1 | 2 | 3 ].
The occupied house in Copenhagen, Denmark named 'Ungdomshuset' has functioned as a very important political and social cultural centre since 1982. It had been involved in a long political and legal battle for its existance. But yesterday morning at around 7am Danish police made an end to this by entering the roof of the building using a helicopter and start an unannouced full scale eviction. Riot-police sealed off nearby streets quickly and attacked the building using teargas. As the whole area was closed off, so documenting the action and police-behaviour was difficult. Some witnesses say that teargas and police violence was plentiful, although the eviction happened swiftly and according to police in a "relatively calm manner".
At the moment everything is but calm. Over 1000 people are reported to be back onto the streets last night and (burning) barricades blocked off some major roads in the city. Some people have been admitted to hospital. Riots have continued throughout the day and night and solidarity actions spontaniosly broke out in cities across europe: Berlin (300+), Köln, Hamburg (700+), München, Karlsruhe, Göttingen, Frankfurt, Bremen (300+), Magdeburg, Hannover, Vienna, Heidelberg, Gothenburg, Oslo, Helsinki, Stockholm (100+), Flensburg, Marburg, Potsdam and Leipzig. Over the next few days many more demonstrations and actions are planned and Danish activists have called for people to make Saturday 3rd March an international day of action. Danish police have started to draft in re-inforcements from all over the country and many more activists are set to arrive in the capital in the coming days. Total arrested: 600+
Articles: Ungdomshuset evicted - Protests everywhere! | Pics of the brutal eviction of Ungdomshuset, Denmark | Police evicts social centre 'Ungdomshuset' in Copenhagen | Call Ungdomshuset Solidarity Demo Friday London [Report] | Ruths facistpolice clears the Youthhouse in Copenhagen!! (Video) | Protest against police raids | Ungdomshuset solidarity in Warsaw | Mailstorm for Ungdomshuset in Denmark | Ungdomshuset - demolition work has started | We’re Heartbroken and Furious! A report from Copenhagen, and call-out for action | Sat 10th: Pics Solidarity Demo in London [Video] | Berlin: 3000 on Ungdomshuset-soli-demonstration. Riots.
The Vortex Jazz Bar in Stoke Newington's Chuch Street, famous for its vibrant music scene and a venue popular in the local community, was occupied by local activists on the 6th January. In its new incarnation as a social centre, the building has once again been filled with the voices of the community. Already happening are busy café nights, cinema and jazz nights, exhibition space, a parent/baby group and regular benefits.
The development plan for the old Vortex, by notorious landlord Richard Midda, is to make way for a Starbucks with luxury apartments above. This planned development highlights once more the continued erosion of the 'the Street' as community space soon to be identifiable only from one corporate logo to the next. A court proceeding against the occupation took place on the 24th Jan to take repossession of the building, with an unlawful eviction attempt by Midda and private baliffs on the 26th Jan. This was repelled [Photos and Video] by activists with the help of local people. The occupation of the Vortex continues, but the threat of eviction is still imminent.
Update (15/02/07): Tree felling and preparation work has started, and sporadic actions are taking places to try to block this work. More help is needed.
Update (06/02/07): The eviction took place on Tuesday 6th February. Bailiffs wearing balaclavas smashed their way in through a set of downstairs windows early in the morning, but it still took them several hours to clear the house after one of the squatters locked on. "We may have lost round one but we will re-group and consider our next course of action. We are not finished yet[...]" - quote attributed to one of the squatters by the Oxford Mail.
URGENT CALL to defend the occupation of Sandles, Thrupp Lake.
On Wednesday 24th January, energy company RWE Npower was granted an order to evict this lakeside property with immediate effect. Meanwhile, at the property extremely robust defences are being built with a view to delaying the destruction of this area of outstanding natural beauty. This is an URGENT CALL for people to join them in resisting the coming eviction. Please phone the site mobile 07772 055 384 straight away.
Npower, who run the notoriously polluting Didcot Power Station, want to fill the lakes with toxic fly ash, a by-product of coal-burning.
A massive campaign by local people has been ignored by both company and the authorities. Oxfordshire County Council has so far facilitated npower's dumping. The habitat is home to many protected species, including water voles and rare orchids. There have been reported sightings of otters. Further expertise is requested to gather further evidence of the ecology of the lakes. Boats are also very welcome at the site.
"I tried to help someone up who was on the floor, he was at the feet of a policeman with a dog snapping right at him, and was holding his leg and screaming. I went to help him out of the way of the dog and got hit from behind by a truncheon in the side of the knee and back of my leg 4 times before I could get out of reach." Alex - would be party goer.
Last weekend about two thousand party goers were attacked by police whilst attempting to attend a free party in the Manchester area. The A57 was closed for about 2 hrs when police forced party goers out of a warehouse and on to the streets. According to one first hand report the rave was already filling up by around 11pm, nearly half an hour before the police arrived, and the premises were protected under section 6 "squatters rights" due to it being the permanent residence of a small number of people.
The police upon entry ignored this warning and proceeded to use extreme force on people who were showing no resistance and breaking no laws. This behaviour was carried out under supervision and instruction of the attending Detective Inspector. Several accounts confirm that people were beaten with police batons, bitten by Dog units for not moving fast enough and/or were thrown around by the police.
Outside the venue a large crowd of about 800 people had gathered outside in anticipation of the rave. It response the police saw necessary to form a line complete with riot units, and rush the crowd with both dogs and batons.
On Friday 26th a protest was held at Manchester Magistrates court to support a raver charged with affray. (see video below)
As evening fell Breach of the Peace samba band reclaimed Cornmarket to the cry of 'stop shopping, start living', merging beautifully with a local Faslane 365 anti-nuke group who were out and about doing a series of die-ins. Finally a 'merry band of Oxford pixies' reported having cheekily relabelled goods in several chainstores.
Meanwhile many other events took place across the UK.
[ reports: Samba and die-in | Shop worshippers | Relabellers ]
[ related: BoP samba | Faslane 365 | UK feature | radical carols ]
First suggested by Canadian artist Ted Dave in the early 90's, Buy Nothing Day has become an annual global event. Using Direct action and culture jamming, activists use this day to challenge consumerism and capitalist way of life.
This year, on 25 November, the Space Hijackers decided to resurrect one of their favourite projects: the half-price sale". Many actions and activities took place in Bath, Birmingham, Manchester, Oxford, Redditch and York.
Today police forces evicted the occupied Dalston Theatre in Dalston Lane, Hackney. Police came around 4.30 in the morning, climbing the massive building from several sides with ladders.
By 9.00h everyone is evicted from the theatre, police is still around the whole building. Read full story and the chronology of the building and 'Rebel Thanks to Everyone' from the Everything4Everyone collective..
The occupied theatre on Dalston Lane (Hackney, London) is currently facing eviction - the local council has got permission to demolish the buildings from next Wednesday. Dalston Theatre was occupied in February [pics 1 | 2] to protest against the gentrification of the area and has ever since been open as a community centre, hosting a variety of activities and workshops.
The first attempt to evict the building, in March, was successfully resisted. Now, the ocupiers are asking for support to resist the eviction once again. The week of resistance started with a "Day of Celebration" last Sunday, 15th Oct.
At 1pm on Monday October 9th, up to one hundred and fifty angry and concerned people converged on the Palace of Westminster, to sack parliament. The plan was to surround parliament and cause parliamentary activities to cease. MPs, Lords and civil servants would be prevented from re-opening Parliament.
As soon as protesters started to arrive, police quickly moved in stop and search everyone that was considered 'suspicious'. Many people were turned away from reaching Parliament Square, others were singled out by police units and prevented from joining the protests. See 2pm update when protesters were surrounded by police. An NUJ photogapher was hospitalised by police [photo + witness appeal] after being violently thrown into a kerb. See also 3pm update and a report.
Eventually the people trapped in the police ring were let out and escorted from Parlianment Square after having been searched, photographed and identified [treatment of press report]. All were told that they would be reported for summons for the offence of taking part in an unlawful demonstration.
There are reports of up to 40 people having been arrested. The court hearings for those arrested and summoned will start on Tuesday 17th Oct at 10am in West London Court [details] Anyone who can get down there to show solidarity and support to those involved will be greatly appreciated. [screening of footage (tuesday 10th)]
- Tue Oct 10 - London - RampART - 15-17 Rampart St (starts 8pm)
- Wed Oct 11 - Brighton - The Cowley Club - 12 London Road
- Thu Oct 12 - Nottingham - The Sumac Centre - 245 Gladstone Street, 7.30pm (read article | report and audio from screening)
- Sat Oct 14 - Glasgow - Document 4 Intl. Human Rights Film Festival
- Sun Oct 15 - Edinburgh - Quaker Meeting House, Victoria Terrace, 7pm
- Mon Oct 16 - Edinburgh - Forest Café, 3 Bristo Place, 7.30 pm
A community and youth centre in Sparkbrook, closed by Birmingham City Council last year, has been occupied by a group of activists, who, along with local people, aim to put the building back into community use. The Cottage of Content had been boarded up in May 2005 and scheduled for auction, allegedly for the old occupiers' failure to pay the rent and bills, 22 years after the Council stopped its funding.
Contrary to popular stereotypes about squatters and squats, the occupation was enthusiastically received by local people. A lot of 'neighbours', especially the youth, have been dropping in and attending meetings and workshops.
Whilst building up a campaign to compel the Council to re-instate the community's youth and community centre, the space is being used, as a social centre, for a wide range of activities, from DIY and educational workshops, screenings and socials, to a meeting place for various grassroots groups. Regular, open meetings are held every Monday at 7:30pm.
Read more: The Cottage of Content reclaimed | What lead to the closure of The Cottage | Disused buildings have no shortage of occupants | Social Centre occupation seeks to bring abandoned building back to community use | The Nursery Social Centre | Indymedia UK's Freespaces topic page