Green-fingered non-protesters hit Sweden

IssueMay 2006

Those pesky horticultural pioneers were at it again when they visited the Ericsson Microwave arms factory in Mo”lndal, near Gothenburg in Sweden, on 14 April. Best known for their mobile phones, the Swedish company also produces components and systems for military and border control purposes.

Continuing with their professed “non-protest” approach, six of the group were arrested inside the factory, after using ladders to hop the fence and proceeding to “planting an orchard” in its grounds. “The planting was the beginning of a dialogue between us, the guards and the police,” said planter Annika Spalde. Commenting on the “nonprotest” aspect, British planter Les Gibbons said “This is proactive resistance - not a protest action [...] We want to begin on the change that we want to see and invite others to take part.”

Resistance to injustice

Vine and figs have a symbolic meaning within the Old Testament. Commenting on this, Swedish planter Klaus Engell Nielsen said “We have read the prophet Micah's vision that each of us should sit under his vine and his fig tree, and nobody should threaten him [...] The planting is a way to connect our Christian faith to our resistance to injustices.”

The six arrestees were taken into custody and some are now waiting for to be notified about their first court appearance, though Les Gibbons reported that charges against him had been dropped after he refused to pay a 900Kr fine.

Previous excursions

Earlier in the week the group had also paid a visit to a BAe Systems plant and, in February, nine planters who had visited AWE Aldermaston last August were convicted of criminal damage and given a four-week prison sentence (suspended for six months), and #201 costs.