News in brief

Climate change? Plane stupid!

Twenty-four activists from aviation campaign group Plane Stupid were arrested on 24 September after occupying an operational taxiway at Nottingham's East Midlands airport.

Calling airports “carbon factories”, a Baptist minister lead the airport shutdown protest against climate change. In a press release, the group made clear that safety was paramount during the action - hence a taxi-way rather than runway occupation - and said that the police had been immediately notified that this was a peaceful protest by environmental campaigners.

Plane Stupid is believed to be Britain's first direct action campaign group solely dedicated to tackling airport expansion, calling for higher taxes on aviation fuel and for an end to short-haul flights. The group says it is planning a national day of action against short haul flights on 6 November during the UN International Climate talks in Nairobi.

Anti-nuclear campaigners say "non"!

On 23 September an estimated 1,000 people converged on France's nuclear weapons facility at Les Landes in the south-west of the country to carry out a European “citizens' inspection”. The event was organised by a coalition of NGOs, including ATTAC, Re'seau Sortir du Nucle'aire, Mouvement de la Paix, Greenpeace and the Quakers.

French antinuclear campaigners believe that France - with its submarine-based M51 programme - is on a similar weapons development trajectory to Britain, with particular fears about low-yield, “usable”, warheads being developed. Activists from several European countries attended the event, with ten people from Trident Ploughshares making the journey across the Channel. It wasn't long before reports of their mischief-making floated back to Britain, as several entered the base's “forbidden” zone during the inspection.

The day ended with the creation of a massive human nuclear disarmament sign on the nearby beach. See

Keeping space for peace

Peace campaigners are gearing up for the annual international “Keep Space for Peace” week events - calling for an end to the US Missile Defence or “Star Wars” programmes.

This year's themes include “Stop Star Wars Research and Development”, “Convert the Military Industrial Complex” and “Fund Human Needs”. Actions are due to take place worldwide between 1 and 8 October and, here in Britain events are planned for USAF Croughton in Oxforshire, RAF Fylingdales and NSA Menwith Hill, both in Yorkshire.

Iraq: vigil for peace

In solidarity with Iraqi women's organisations - who were meeting in Irbil, Northern Iraq - vigillers gathered on the steps of St Martin in-the-Fields in central London on 21 September - the UN International Day of Peace. Iraqi women were expressing their commitment to peace and national unity, and to demand an end to the violence and bloodshed in the country.