Maya Evans diary

1 November 2011Comment

As Maya Evans prepares to leave for Afghanistan, PN tracks her progress.

Surprisingly we were left for around 40 minutes to blockade the gates of Downing Street, red paint daubed around the six of us, kneeling, heads bent in silence. I held up a large sign saying “End the Afghan War” while others in the group announced to passerbys that we were protesting about the 10 years of war with Afghanistan and that everyone should join us.

Our support team hung around across the road clutching large banners while reading the names of all those killed in the Afghan…

1 June 2011Comment

A week in the life of...

Monday: I was just about to leave the house for work. I turned off my record player which had been blasting some early B52s. I reached for the front door when I noticed a letter stuck in the letterbox. Strange, it looked like junk mail, Michael Parkinson selling insurance again? NO, it was hand-delivered by (my friends) Marsden Bailiffs. “Cough up or we’re gonna come round and take ya stuff type thing.”

I immediately dived behind the sofa, pulled myself across the floor on my belly…

3 June 2010Comment

More journalists crammed into Court 3 of the Courts of Justice, further pushing up the temperature. The court, an elaborate Gothic room steeped in grandeur had law books from the 19th century stacked on shelves all the way around, way beyond arms’ reach. The windows were at least 20 feet high and stretched all the way up to the ceiling. Despite such dimensions it was stuffy and, moreover, it was tense.

The Canadians were sat at the front, hoping to pick up crumbs of information to…

3 May 2010Comment

Easter Sunday, 8am. Another dull, overcast morning in East Sussex. I looked out the window of the number 100 bus from Hastings to Lydd.

The flat, desolate expanse of Camber and Romney with its fields of sheep and giant pylons seemed to stretch on for ever.

I was on the bus with three other members of HAW (Hastings Against War): Jenny, Fernando and John. I’d been looking forward to this for ages.

As we pulled into the village of Lydd, six members of Christian CND…

3 April 2010Comment

An automatic voice came over the tannoy: “This bus is now on diversion”. We were on my old school bus route, I knew it like the back of my hand. It was going to be a close run thing.

I walked down a long, very familiar, slightly oppressive corridor. Magnolia walls, artificial lighting, children’s art on the wall, the smell of school dinners and floor polish.

My body turned automatically into what had been the library where I had avidly read geography magazines as a sixth-…

3 March 2010Comment

It was beginning to get light as our seven-seater pulled into Aldermaston with our patchwork affinity group. I joked with Gabriel (who had 300 copies of PN): 10 points if you spot Angie Zelter, 8 points for Dan Viesnik… 7 for Martin Newell.

We parked up in the bungalow housing estate opposite the military base agreeing to rendezvous at 2pm or to assume unplanned arrest for a no-show.

We headed off. I was togged head-to-toe for worst-case Antarctic-fishing-boat weather…

3 February 2010Comment

My friend Reuben popped round for a chat. It was late afternoon and I was in bed ill with the longest cold I’ve ever had.

“Hey, you know there’s a party tomorrow night. You going?” he asked with enthusiasm. At that moment his mobile phone beeped with a message: “Don’t forget PARTY tomorrow night. 3 rules– 1. No Guitarists 2. No Alcoholics 3. No one over 30!!”.

I thought to myself: “That rules out most of Hastings”, and answered with slight bitterness: “Well I’m 30 today…

3 December 2009Comment

My lawyer exuded politeness as he worked through his list of questions. “So Chief Inspector, would you describe the area of Northwood as a semi-rural district?” The public order bronze commander didn’t pause to think. “No, I would describe it as a busy urban district.”

The immaculate Matrix Chambers barrister immediately picked up the chief inspector’s witness statement “Would you read the last sentence from the fourth paragraph?” The inspector realised he had walked into a trap,…

3 November 2009Comment

Five of us crammed into the car, sleeping bags and picnic piled high on our laps. “Anyone for chocolate?” It was 8.30am on a Friday as we finally pulled out of St Leonards in a hired car on our way to the great climate swoop at Ratcliffe-on-Soar, one of the biggest coal-fired power stations in the country.

The day before, we heard news that police had already surrounded both Ratcliffe and Drax power stations in preparation for the arrival of activists who might try to gain access.…

3 September 2009Comment

The heavy iron door slammed behind me. Something about the situation seemed familiar. A woman police constable turned and faced me: “I’m arresting you for breaching your bail conditions. You’ll be held here overnight and taken to Hemel Hempstead in the morning.” I was in shock.

I started to explain how I had to attend the High Court on the same day as my plea hearing for the Afghan die-in arrest, and I had written to inform the magistrates court of the clash. I started waving…

3 July 2009Comment

It was on 27 May two years ago that the town of Haji Nabu in Afghanistan was bombed, and a wedding party was destroyed, killing 47 people. Many were women and children. On the anniversary of the massacre, I lay in the road outside Northwood military base in North London in a mock bridesmaid’s dress, covered in fake blood.

The police shouted to around 45 protestors that we had five minutes before we would be removed. The rain poured down. I felt cold lying on wet concrete; someone…

3 June 2009Comment

I looked out of my kitchen window as the rain belted down. I had a feeling of dread at the thought of cycling along the seafront in the wind and rain for a Hastings Against War film viewing of The Iron Wall. Weak-willed as I am, I flipped a coin; heads! Fate had decided my path of action, I was to attend the meeting.

I slipped into the back of a darkened room at the Friends Meeting House. Around a dozen people sat watching the already-started film. I hadn’t given the content…

3 May 2009Comment

“I’m so bored with the USA,” the Clash sang on their 1977 debut album whose cover pictures police with truncheons chasing protesters. It feels like songs such as “Know Your Rights” and “White Riot” are particularly relevant this month. Maybe if the Clash were together today they would be singing: “I’m so bored with the BBC”, because I certainly am.

Interested in and concerned for friends at the London G20 protests, I eagerly scanned the internet for info after hearing about “…

3 April 2009Comment

It’s six years on since the invasion of Iraq, the war has ended, and troops are coming home. Success? Well, we’re not celebrating. We’ve been campaigning for this result but no one is hailing it a victory to the movement.

I was reminded why the end of the war is not much to cheer about when I attended a talk by fellow Hastings peace activist John Lynes, who at 80 has just returned from Kurdistan after spending the best part of a harsh winter out there with the Christian…

3 March 2009Comment

The night before, I scrolled through his Wikipedia entry to brief myself on what to expect. “Voted sixth by New Statesman readers on their list of ‘Heroes of our time’.” Holy cow, I thought. I read on: “his political life started in [Australian] high school where in 1967 he launched campaigns in support of the indigenous Aboriginal population”. What a dude: “member of the committee of the Vietnam Moratorium Campaign; also founded the inter-denominational anti-war group Christians for Peace…