Looking back on an amazing year

IssueDecember 2008 - January 2009
Feature by Milan Rai , Elise Desiderio

This year saw some outstanding court victories, including a legal breakthrough in Nottingham on 14 January when 11 East Midlands activists were allowed to present a legal argument known as “defence of necessity”. They had shut down the Ratcliffe-on-Soar coal-fired power plant in 2007.

The big court wins of the year were the 10 September Kingsnorth Six victory, securing an acquittal on charges of causing £30,000 worth of damage to Kingsnorth power station, and the 11 June Raytheon Nine victory, found not guilty in a Belfast court of causing £350,000 worth of damage to the Derry offices of the arms manufacturer.

We misreported the Kingsnorth Six last issue: they were indeed carrying 240kg between the five climbers, and they did climb for over eight hours, but the 200C 120mph CO2 emissions were in flues running alongside the bit they were climbing up.

Another thing we didn’t quite explain: why Brighton anti-arms trade group Smash EDO didn’t get a classification certificate for their documentary On the Verge, which would have stopped police harassment of venues showing the film. Simply, it would have cost £860 they didn’t have.

There was plenty of nautical action this year, including Peter le Mare’s journey from Cornwall to this year’s fantastic Climate Camp, the People’s Navy’s brave journey to Diego Garcia, protesting against the eviction of the Chagossian people - which ended with their boat being confiscated - and, of course, the Gaza siege-busters.

Finally, we must mention the astounding Aldermaston Big Blockade, the wonderful Drax coal train occupation (see picture left and appeal right), and this year’s British peace prisoners: Irene Willis, Georgia Smith, Helen John, Zelda Jeffers, Barbara Dowling, Sylvia Boyes and token man Martin Newell (jailed twice!).