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Articles from the Peace News log: Reportage

Articles from the Peace News log.
For articles in this category from the whole site, look here

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

ImageOn 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 sizeable tent village had magically sprung up on the beach, consisting of a row of colourful banners and flags billowing in the north sea breeze, a field kitchen, a marquee, a welcome tent, toilet tents and dozens of personal dwellings. Who knows what the two-headed adders of Sizewell Beach and their genetically-mutated human and canine visitors made of this spectacle.

Chernobyl and Fukushima

Tuesday, 26th April, would mark exactly a quarter of a century since the fateful day in 1986 when reactor 4 at Chernobyl, Ukraine went into meltdown, due to a combination of poor design and human error. The fire that ensued sent a plume of deadly radioactive materials high into the atmosphere, to be blown west by the wind, over the adjacent Belarusian border and across vast swathes of northern Europe. Britain was not spared from the fallout, with northern regions particularly badly affected, even to this day.

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Photos of the March for Alternatives, 26 March 2011 by Fred Chance

Maya Evans reflects on courts, money and human rights

The Judge Lord Justice Laws looked over his glasses, he was a no messing kind of guy with a habit of cutting to the chase immediately. “So this £50- £100 k figure, where did it come from? Is it the governments?”

The defence Lawyer for the Secretary of State Mr Grodzinski flicked through his papers to find the source. Indeed it was the government’s calculated annual expense for judicial reviews- cost was the main justification which the Ministry of Justice had used to cut legal aid for judicial review cases.

Justice Laws looked truly astounded, he had obviously followed the same path of logic we had: “But it’s peanuts!” he bluntly stated.

I had to put my head down as I struggled to keep a straight face and Grodzinski struggled for words, we couldn’t have put it better ourselves.

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Maya Evans has a case against her heard in her absence ...

It was back in November sometime when I discovered a phone message from someone at Charing Cross police events department asking me to return their call. Reluctant to spend money on a phone call which I didn’t really want to have, I called the number.

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Virginia Moffatt reflects on having a partner imprisoned

To all intents and purposes, last Wednesday was a normal day. I dropped my husband, Chris Cole, in Headington and watched him walk away in the darkness to the London bus, as I often do. Then I  headed back home for the usual morning routine of breakfast, sandwich making, and the school run.

But last Wednesday was different in one respect. For the second time in four years, Chris was returning to Westminster Magistrates to “wilfully refuse” to pay a fine he’d incurred during  an anti-arms trade protest. In September 2009, he’d taken a can of spray paint, and left messages of peace on the entrance to the opening conference of the Defence Services Export International Exhibition (DSEI). After a year of dodging bailiffs and arrest warrants, we knew this would inevitably lead to a prison sentence, and by lunchtime he’d been sentenced to 30 days (hopefully out in 15) and off to Wandsworth Prison. (Chris has written some excellent pre-prison reflections here)

Six days later, and although we’ve received a lovely chatty letter, he hasn’t managed to call.  This is the longest period of time that we haven’t spoken to each other since we’ve been together. I know from last time, that part of the frustration of having my partner inside is being at the mercy of the prison system. He’s probably written  several more letters, but they are buried somewhere in a postroom. He may not have received ours. It’s possible that he’s been locked up 24/7 and hasn’t been able to get to a phone, or he hasn’t got his pin number, or the queues have been too long. It’s best not to speculate, or sit around waiting for the phone to ring.  But I am so used to Chris being there throughout the day to share domestic tasks, silly jokes, work problems, that his absence is everywhere.

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Dariush Sokolov reports from No Borders' camp

Image25 June 2010, Steenokkerzeel by the airport outside Brussels, 60 people occupy the building site of the new 127 tris immigration detention centre, shutting down work for a day, taking direct action against the construction

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Milan Rai reports from the WRI Triennial in India

The War Resisters International Triennial (now held every four years, in a cunning ploy to avoid police detection and repression) is being held here in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India, at Gujarat University or “Gujarat Vidyapith”. Coming from the recent ice, snow and slush of southern England, Ahmedabad is jarringly hot – but not too hot, dusty but not too dusty. The university, which was closed down three times by the British authorities during the national freedom struggle, was founded by Gandhi, and the library has an extensive section called “Gandhiana” (I just saw it while looking for the internet facilities).

I hadn’t known that Gandhi had agreed to a World Pacifist Meeting in India in co-operation with WRI. He stipulated that it must take place only after liberation from the British occupation. Unfortunately he was assassinated before that took place. This is the third WRI Triennial in India (the first and second were in 1960 and 1985-86). There’s a lot of history around the event: people with long records of struggle were being memorialised yesterday, the long record of speakers was being invoked, a lot has been done to entwine this international gathering with the specificity of long-standing campaigns for justice and peace within India.

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