Viesnik, Dan

Dan Viesnik
1 October 2015News

Dan Viesnik surveys a week of creative disruption

Activists stop deliveries to the DSEI arms fair on 12 September. PHOTO: DAN VIESNIK

There were huge tailbacks during day-long blockades of both entrances to the ExCeL exhibition centre in East London on 12 September, as a day of mass action capped a week of creative disruption in the run-up to the huge biannual DSEI arms fair.

On Monday 7 September, the week of action was launched with a blockade in solidarity with Palestine. Activists stopped a military vehicle from entering…

18 February 2014News

Syria Peace and Justice

Candle-lit vigil at Syrian embassy, London, 10 December.
Photo: Dan Viesnik

On 10 December, Syria Peace and Justice, a grassroots group formed in October 2013, marked International Human Rights Day with a ‘Peace Pilgrimage’ for the people of Syria.

Two feeder groups visited embassies and offices in central London with a connection to the Syrian crisis (including Downing St and the foreign office) to deliver a letter from the group. The two groups then…

13 August 2012Blog entry

London actions in solidarity with Japanese protests against restarting of nuclear reactors.

Sixteen anti-nuclear protesters - half of them Japanese - gathered outside the Japanese embassy in Piccadilly, London on the morning of Friday 10 August, for the second week running, in a demonstration organised by London-based group Kick Nuclear http://kicknuclear.org. This was in solidarity with weekly demonstrations taking place outside the Prime Minister’s offices in Tokyo and elsewhere in Japan against the restarting of nuclear…

26 May 2012Blog entry

An overnight peace vigil tests how the new law restricting protest around Parliament is being enforced - or not.

Following long-term Parliament Square peace campaigner Maria Gallastegui's unsuccessful High Court challenge of the blanket ban (literally) on 'sleeping equipment', tents and other structures in Parliament Square under the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act (PRASRA) 2011 (Part 3), which came into force last December, resulting in the removal on 3rd May of her last peace box and tent (Maria has since lodged an appeal with the Court of Appeal), Maria has continued to sleep…

1 October 2011News

Dan Viesnik reports on the protests surrounding Europe's biggest arms fair.

The world’s largest arms bazaar returned to east London’s ExCeL exhibition centre from 13-16 September. The euphemistically-titled “Defence and Security Equipment International” (DSEi) exhibition opened its doors to dictators and merchants of death from around the world in the ultimate corporate celebration of killing.

Official invitations were, as usual, extended to such democratic and human-rights respecting nations as Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab…

1 October 2011News

Activists plan major blockade of Hinkley nuclear power station.

On 3 October, over 100 people opposed to new nuclear build will blockade Hinkley Point nuclear power station in Somerset. This is where French energy giant Electricité de France (EDF) wants to build the first new nuclear reactor in the UK for 16 years. Following the Fukushima disaster in Japan in March, Germany, Italy and other countries are turning their backs on nuclear power, or are having a rethink. Not so for the UK, for whom it’s business as usual.

In July, the formerly anti-…

1 June 2011News

Dan Viesnik reports from the Stop Nuclear Power Network's latest action

On Good Friday, I headed down to a sunny Sizewell beach on the picturesque Suffolk coast. The nuclear power station, directly overlooking the beach, was, for the third successive year, the target for the annual spring weekend camp of the Stop Nuclear Power Network.

As usual, it was timed around the anniversary of Chernobyl – the world’s worst ever civil nuclear disaster (prior to Fukushima, at least) – which this year coincided with Easter.

Within a few hours of arriving, a…

22 May 2011Blog entry

Dan Viesnik reports from a protest Camp outside Sizewell nuclear power station.

On Good Friday, I headed down to a sunny Sizewell Beach on the picturesque Suffolk coast. The nuclear power station, directly overlooking the beach, was, for the third successive year, the target for the annual spring weekend camp of the Stop Nuclear Power Network.

As usual, it was timed around the anniversary of Chernobyl – the world’s worst ever civil nuclear disaster (prior to Fukushima, at least) – which this year coincided with Easter…

1 July 2010News

London mayor Boris Johnson displayed his dedication to free speech on 3 June, by asking the high court to order the immediate eviction of Democracy Village, established on Parliament Square on 1 May. He also asked for the clearance of at least one tent from Brian Haw’s peace campaign, established over nine years ago, from the grassy area of the square, managed by the Greater London Authority.

The campaigners put forward arguments based on the free speech and assembly provisions…

3 December 2009News

As dawn begins to break on a Monday morning in February, hundreds of dedicated individuals from all around Britain and beyond will descend upon the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) at Aldermaston, determined to block the base and halt work on facilities for a new generation of nuclear warheads.

The Aldermaston Blockade on 15 February 2010 will highlight the illegality, immorality and criminal waste of resources involved in the multi-billion pound expansion of the nuclear…

1 November 2009News

Five anti-nuclear activists who peacefully blocked access to the atomic weapons establishment (AWE) Aldermaston last autumn were tried before Reading magistrates’ court on 21 and 22 October.

The defendants, Barbara Dowling, from Glasgow; Jean Oliver, from Lanarkshire; David Polden, from London; Emma Sangster, also from London (all self-represented); and Renate Zauner from Switzerland (represented by Prof. Nicholas Grief) were charged with “wilfully obstructing the highway”.

1 September 2009Feature

This summer I participated in my third International Walk for a Nuclear-Free Future, from Geneva to Brussels. This year’s “pilgrimage”, organised by Footprints for Peace and Sortir du Nucléaire, set off from Geneva on 26 April, the 23rd anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

The walk passed through Switzerland, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium, covering around 850 miles on foot over 10½ weeks, staging events at the World Heath Organisation headquarters in…

1 June 2009Feature

At the beginning of April, as London preoccupied itself with the G20, and the Met was busy batoning and shoving over peaceful protestors and newspaper vendors, I travelled to Strasbourg, France, with nine other peace activists who had chosen instead to join NATO’s sixtieth birthday celebrations. Our ad hoc affinity group, “Odd Socks”, consisted of eight Brits (one Anglo-French), a German woman and two Belgian lads.

Five of us were members of the anti-nuclear nonviolent direct…

3 March 2009News

On 7 March, I was at Newbury Magistrates' Court, Berkshire, putting Trident nuclear weapons on trial. I was charged with “obstruction of the highway'' for a peaceful sitdown protest outside the Atomic Weapons Establishment at Aldermaston last July, during the 86-day, 900-mile Footprints for Peace walk from Dublin to London which I completed.

The court heard how I joined three walkers from the US - Liana and Aleta Johannaber from Georgia, and Bernie Meyer (aka “the American Gandhi”)…

1 October 2008Feature

This summer, I was one of nine walkers to complete a gruelling 84-day, 1000+ mile International Walk towards a Nuclear-Free Future from London to Geneva, through France.

The other eight walkers were: co-organisers Kerrie-Ann Garlick and Marcus Atkinson, and June, from Australia; Jill Saunderson from Fife; Steve Gwynne from Birmingham; Lena Bladh from Sweden; and Albert Monti and Aristide from France.

The walk was jointly organized by the Australian-American group “…