News in brief

Day out: farm

Campaigners are preparing to join Camp Constant next to Dale Farm, Essex, to help resist the eviction of 1,000 travellers from their homes. The eviction is predicted to cost up to £9.5m.

Day out: parks

Between 1-8 June, 12 members of Orlando Food Not Bombs, in Florida US) were arrested for feeding too many homeless people from their stall. A city ordinance forbids feeding homeless people in city parks without a permit or feeding more than 25 at a time with a permit. (Groups are only allowed two permits per year.) The police said FnB had fed more people than the permit allowed. FnB didn’t have a permit because they refuse on principle to apply for one! The penalty for violating the ordinance is 60 days in jail, a $500 fine or both.

On 28 May, three activists were arrested, thrown face-down and had their wrists handcuffed behind their backs for silently dancing in the public area at the Jefferson Memorial in Washington DC. Earlier in May, the US Court of Appeals had ruled that dancing at memorials is forbidden because it “distracts from the atmosphere of solemn commemoration”.

Day out: beach

300 Israeli lecturers and teachers have publicly signed an advertisement supporting the Israeli women’s group “Civil Disobedience”, which drives Palestinian women and children on day trips to Israeli beaches and other leisure sites. The advertisement appeared in a national Israeli newspaper on 17 June, next to an ad published by Civil Disobedience itself. Members of Civil Disobedience now have criminal records for breaking the “law of entry”.

Day out: lab, circus

On 20 June, Animal Aid launched a boycott of Cancer Research UK, the British Heart Foundation, the Alzheimer’s Society and Parkinson’s UK, urging that people stop donating money until the charities end animal testing.

On 23 June, MPs voted to ban wild animals in circuses.

Peace out

The world became less peaceful for the third successive year in 2010-11, according to the Global Peace Index compiled by Australia’s Institute for Economics and Peace.

The index estimated the cost of war and insecurity to the global economy at £5 trillion. Meanwhile, the Norwegian Refugee Council estimated that 43.7 million people were displaced in 2010 as the result of war and conflict, the highest number recorded this millennium.

Nepal in crisis

Western Sahara

A leaked report has cast doubt on the renewal of a fisheries agreement between the European Union (EU) and Morocco. The agreement, which costs E36.1 million a year, gives EU fishing boats rights to fish in waters off Western Sahara, a territory illegally occupied by Morocco since 1975. According to a confidential 112-page EU report, the agreement has lost money for the EU, with fishing boats landing only about E30m-worth of fish (mainly sardines and anchovies) every year. “The fleet’s contribution... to meeting the needs of the European market is... rather marginal,” the report also noted.

Last year, the European Commission refused to renew the four-year treaty without evidence that it benefits the local Sahrawi population financially. Meanwhile, Venezuela and Cuba are building the first high school in the Sahrawi refugee camps outside the zone of Moroccan control. The school, in the refugee camp Esmara, is scheduled to open in September.
For campaigning news about the Western Sahara campaign:

We all shouted "Push"

Climate activists are collecting funds to cover the E30,000 court costs of Tannie Nyboe and Stine Gry Jonassen, who on 1 June were sentenced by the Danish high court to two months in prison (plus two months suspended) for their involvement in nonviolent civil disobedience on 16 December 2009 during the failed climate negotiations in Copenhagen. The main evidence against Tannie and Stine, Danish spokespeople for the global network Climate Justice Action, was that they allegedly shouted “push” from the sound truck during a nonviolent demonstration – along with thousands of other protesters.

You can donate to Climate Collective; Merkur Bank; IBAN DK2484010001125014; SWIFT CODE VEHODK22; or with your credit card:

Facebook take-down 2

On 21 June, anti-cuts activists found themselves unable to use Facebook to share news of a new website promoting the public sector strike on 30 June. When Facebook users tried to share a link for, they received an error message: “This message contains blocked content that has previously been flagged as abusive or spammy.” The links were unblocked after the Morning Star and US-based news site Mother Jones contacted Facebook for an explanation.

A Facebook spokeswoman apologised and said the site had contained links which triggered Facebook’s spam filters. She did not explain what had been flagged as spam in the first place.

Ex-services prisoners

Prisoners who have served in the British armed forces are twice as likely to have commited sexual offences, and are more likely to have committed violent offences, than the general public, according to an 18-month inquiry by the Howard League for Penal Reform.

25% of ex-servicepeople in prison are there for sexual offences, compared to 11% of the civilian prison population. 32.9% of veterans in prison are there for “violence against the person”, compared to 28.6% of the civilian prison population.

The inquiry also found that ex-service people are less likely to be in prison than civilians, and that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) cannot, at the moment, be directly linked to criminality.