Anti-war action

1 July 2008News

Faslane 365 – the year-long blockade of the Faslane nuclear weapons base finished on 1 Oct last year. However as the wheels of justice turn so exceedingly slowly, the resulting court cases are still trundling through the district court in Helensburgh.

It’s a good job that of the 1,150 arrests the Procurator Fiscal (PF) chose to take only 75 prosecutions.
Initially the PF, Andrew Miller, instructed the police to hold people overnight so that he could decide whether to bring…

1 May 2008Review

(Seven Stories Press, 2007; ISBN 978-1583227718; 416pp; £13.99)  

Flying Close to the Sun tells how Cathy Wilkerson transformed herself from a nice middle class girl to a violent revolutionary. Describing how she became involved in left-wing politics as a student, the book charts her developing understanding of the political issues of the 1960s and ’70s and how she begins to see violence as a possible tool to respond to injustice.

Wilkerson is at her best when she describes the debates around the formation of the Weather Underground and the…

1 April 2008News

As part of the international day of World Against War demonstrations, Aberystwyth Peace and Justice Network invited Wales to continue to protest. Five years on, the occupation of Iraq remains an unmitigated catastrophe.

In Aberystwyth, Cor Gobaith sang stirringly and a number of AP&JN supporters engaged with the public. Plaid Cymru president Dafydd Iwan sent a strong message of party support for the campaigns: Troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan, Don't attack Iran, End the siege…

1 March 2008News

On 7 February, the High Court upheld the right of a peace activist to summons a US airman alleged to have caused her actual bodily harm (and against two Ministry of Defence police officers who failed to intervene).

Lindis Percy of the Campaign for Accountability of American Bases (CAAB) entered Croughton USAF base on 19 February 2006 to carry out peace research into the military communications facility.

She reports that she was detained by US military personnel who handcuffed…

1 February 2008News

Two graffiti protestors were overwhelmed by a crowd of well-wishers when they arrived for their trial at Edinburgh sheriff court on 9 January. Appalling weather conditions failed to prevent more than a hundred supporters from turning up give their support.

Helen John and Georgia Smith were found guilty of defacing the High Court building in Edinburgh. They used black paint to write “ban cluster bombs” and “£76 billion for genocide” on Remembrance Day 2006.

1 February 2008News

On Monday 9 February a group of students from Aberystwyth University staged a lunchtime “die-in” in the busy Arts Centre plaza. The students, members of People & Planet and Amnesty, were highlighting University unit-trust investments in companies such as BAE Systems, Europe’s largest “defence manufacturer”.

The students are petitioning the University to adopt an ethical investment policy. Students’ Guild Environmental and Ethics Officer, Tom Marshall, stressed that the…

1 February 2008Feature

This Easter Monday 24 March the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) is holding a massive “surround the base” event at the Atomic Weapons Establishment, Aldermaston.

It will be a celebration of 50 years of campaigning for nuclear disarmament and a clear demand for an end to Aldermaston's continuing role as the beating heart of Britain's nuclear warhead production.

Get on board

Each of Aldermaston's seven gates will have a theme of one of the decades, the '50s, '60s, all…

1 February 2008Feature

Recently, reading about Ukraine’s 2004 “Orange Revolution” – with its iconic tent-city occupation of Kiev’s Independence Square, the Maidan – my memory was sent hurtling back to the 2003 “Day X” protests in London on the day that Britain invaded Iraq.

Then, in what was probably the most dramatic UK protest against the war, thousands of schoolchildren left their classes to occupy the roads around Parliament as part of a national school strike involving scores, if not hundreds, of…

3 December 2007News

Not needless to say, Wales was well represented at the Big Blockade on 1 October. It is, let's admit it, quite an effort to get up to Scotland and lock-on, superglue yourself to the tarmac, or sing your heart out all day.

Ray Davies was arrested and pictured in the newspapers before some of us got out of bed, as usual: “Four burly policemen grabbed hold of a leg and arm each and I was carted away.”

Phil Steele of Bangor and Ynys Môn Peace and Justice Group…

1 December 2007News

America's largest annual gathering of peace and human rights activists took place last month when over 20,000 people demonstrated at Fort Benning - the US Army's training school for Latin American military and security personnel. Formerly known as the School of the Americas (SOA), it has been renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC) although its role remains the same: providing training for the military officers who have gone on to commit human rights abuses…

1 December 2007News

Hundreds marched up Edinburgh's Royal Mile on 4 November to say: “No to Trident”. The demo had support from the Scottish Trade Union Council, churches and the Scottish National Party and was organised by Scotland's for Peace. Alex Salmond, the new SNP first minister, has stated his opposition to Trident replacement. Scottish CND and other lobbyists will be expecting to see action. Watch this space in 2008, the year of CND's fiftieth anniversary.

16 November 2007Feature

After a year of near-continuous protests at the Faslane submarine base, the international nonviolent direct action network Faslane 365 ended its campaign triumphantly on 1 October with 1,000 people blockading the home of Britain's Trident nuclear weapons force.

A thousand arrests

Before the final “Big Blockade”, the rolling protest had notched up over 900 arrests. This number crashed through the 1,000 mark by mid-morning, and by the end of the day the arrest total for the year stood…

3 November 2007Comment

As it turned out, having a warrant for your arrest is meaningless on a Sunday.

We were about 30 in number, all wearing identical T-Shirts saying “U Turn for Peace”. The traffic lights changed and a dozen of us started crossing.

Being at the front I was one of the first to sit down before police started limiting access.

I had almost forgotten to do so until I saw another activist taking the initiative. “Oh yeah” I thought, and sat down.

We linked arms…

1 October 2007News

In July, twenty European young people met to represent their nations at Faslane 365. Joining them at the blockade were twenty Japanese students from the Global University, a programme organised by the Japanese NGO Peace Boat.

Following the blockade, five of the young women from Europe joined the Global University on board Peace Boat, which makes four voyages each year. Naomi Proszynska (15) from Narberth, told her new-found Japanese friends, “The reason young people don't get…

1 October 2007News

Fresh from a speaking tour that included a warm welcome in Wales, US peace activist Bruce Gagnon was extended the full hospitality of the British state at Faslane nuclear submarine base in Scotland. Joining the year-round blockade for a day, he was arrested.

Bruce is Coordinator of the Global Network against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space. His speaking tour highlighted the hypocrisy of the US as it lectures the rest of the world about the evils of WMD while at the same time…