News

1 October 2021 PN staff

XR Scotland issues guidelines for Glasgow climate protests

XR Scotland is asking all XR rebels coming to COP26 from outside Scotland to live by a ‘Rebel Agreement’. Here are three of the five points:

1) ‘We will be led by, listen to, learn from, and consult with communities at the front lines of the climate and ecological crisis: those who bear the least responsibility and suffer the greatest consequences, including Indigenous peoples, vulnerable nations of the Global South, and young people everywhere.
  4) ‘We will consider the impact…

1 October 2021 Rebecca Elson-Watkins

London demo calls for Johnson to 'stop stalling on LGBT+ rights'

On 24 July, 2,500 members of the LGBT+ community gathered in Parliament Square in Central London for a #ReclaimPride march.

Organised by legendary gay rights activist Peter Tatchell, the demonstration had five key demands: ban LGBT+ conversion therapy; reform the Gender Recognition Act; ensure a safe haven for LGBT+ refugees fleeing persecution; decriminalise LGBT+ people worldwide; and, finally, solidarity with Black Lives Matter.

Before a march to Hyde Park, Peter Tatchell…

1 October 2021 David Polden

Palestine Action campaigner freed as campaign continues

A Palestine Action (PA) activist was released from Foston Hall prison after a 37-day hunger strike soon after our last issue went to the printers, on 23 July.

Yogi Bear had been remanded to prison on 17 June after refusing to accept extremely restrictive bail conditions following a PA occupation of the Arconic Factory in Birmingham. (See PN 2655.) They were released after the conditions were reduced to simply remaining in one fixed abode, which they were willing to accept.…

1 October 2021 David Polden

Fortnight of protest against UK arms fair

Before the start of the DSEI arms fair in East London on 14 September, there were several arrests as many protesters attempted to blockade the two service roads used by vehicles carrying military hardware into the ExCeL Centre.

A great variety of groups organised a great variety of actions against DSEI this year, though numbers overall were smaller than in recent times.

This year, the mostly autonomous protests were co-ordinated by a coalition called ‘Stop the Arms Fair’ (STAF…

1 October 2021 David Polden

Case dismissed as 'no case to answer'

On 16 September, two Faslane Peace Campers had the case against them thrown out of Dunbarton justice of the peace court. One of them had spent nearly six weeks in prison on remand, waiting for the trial.

Willemien Hoogendoorn and Jon had been arrested for ‘breach of the peace’ on Hiroshima Day, 6 August, after blockading the North Gate of Faslane nuclear submarine base from 6.30am till around 12 noon.

According to the Helensburgh Advertiser, ‘tailbacks were reported in…

1 October 2021 PN staff

Paralympian jailed for airport action

On 24 September, Paralympic gold medallist James Brown, 56, was sentenced to 12 months in prison for an Extinction Rebellion (XR) action at London City Airport during XR’s October 2019 ‘Rebellion’.

This first custodial sentence for an XR action was imposed for the offence of causing ‘a public nuisance’.

Alanna Byrne, of Extinction Rebellion UK, said: ‘We are shocked and devastated by this news.’

Human rights activist Peter Tatchell tweeted: ‘It’s an excessively harsh…

1 October 2021 David Polden

US whistleblower gets 45 month sentence

On 27 July, former US air force intelligence analyst Daniel Hale was sentenced to 45 months in prison by a court in Virginia, USA.

Hale, 33, had plead guilty to violating the Espionage Act by sharing government documents relating to targeted drone killings and other abuses in the ‘war on terror’.

Hale spoke in court before sentencing, saying: ‘I believe that it is wrong to kill, but it is especially wrong to kill the defenceless.’ He said he shared what ‘was necessary to dispel…

1 October 2021 PN staff

What you need to know if you're heading to COP26

Most of us aren’t going to COP26, but for those who are thinking about it, here’s some information that may be useful.

Walking to Glasgow

A+E (an eco-art group based at St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral, Edinburgh) are organising a Pilgrimage for COP26, ‘a walk and a learning journey’, from Dunbar to Glasgow from 17 – 31 October. Participating organisations include: Deep Time Walk Project; Interfaith Edinburgh, Glasgow and Scotland; John Muir’s Birthplace; North Light Arts and…

1 October 2021 PN staff

PN surveys a variety of ways that you can take action in the run up to this November's Climate Summit

Whether or not you’re going to Glasgow, here are some actions you can take for climate justice this year.

You can join or set up a COP26 Coalition local hub (see p1) and take action on 6 November: cop26coalition.org There are #DefundClimateChaos protests on 29 October, mostly in London at the time of going to press: defundclimatechaos.uk You – and your group – can sign this petition asking COP26 to…

1 October 2021 PN staff

Fortnight of protests against fossil fuel investments

At the end of August, the climate action group Extinction Rebellion (XR) struck a new note, politically, when it began its latest two-week ‘rebellion’ in London. It put a much more achievable demand at the centre of its protests: the UK government must stop all new fossil fuel investment immediately.

The actions mostly focused on disrupting the heart of finance in the UK, the City of London, though there were also occupations of the Science Museum, Oxford Circus, and (in Woking) the…

1 October 2021 Rebecca Elson-Watkins

Rebecca Elson-Watkins is a Londoner, an activist and a writer. She's probably on some sort of watchlist as a rabble-rousing peacenik.

As part of the two weeks of protest against the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) arms fair held in London’s ExCeL Centre, Stop the Arms Fair organised a Festival of Resistance on 11 September. They were joined by activists from Extinction Rebellion (XR), Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT), Trident Ploughshares and others – there were even jointly-produced flyers available in the information tent (along with copies of PN). The XR activists I talked to all spoke…

1 October 2021 David Polden

Police spies targeted anti-nuclear group

The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) revealed in mid-September that it had been a target of the Metropolitan police’s undercover Special Demonstration Squad during the 1980s.

Two undercover police officers were involved, according to the long-running Undercover Police Inquiry (UCPI).

‘John Kerry’ worked in the CND office in London between 1981 and 1984.

‘Timothy Spence’ inserted himself into a CND group in East London (as well as defence campaigns against the…

1 October 2021 PN staff

Britain's coastal military nuclear infrastructure 'profoundly vulnerable to flooding'

Climate change could flood Faslane naval base, home to Britain’s Trident nuclear missile submarine force. That’s one conclusion of Climate Impact – UK Nuclear Military, a report released in September by the independent research institute, the Nuclear Consulting Group (NCG).

Climate Impact says that; ‘Present UK coastal military nuclear infrastructure is profoundly vulnerable to flooding from sea-level rise, storm intensity and storm surge – with inland nuclear…

1 August 2021 Lotte Reimer

Coastal communities send climate message to G7

‘People shout “have a wash”, “get a job” but I have a full-time job’. Curly, one of the Cardiff Red Rebel Brigade who performed in Porthcawl on 5 June, explains that the Rebels are ‘everyday, regular people’, taking action for change.

‘We’re urging world leaders to act now. Out politicians and our governments are failing us all at the minute and we need them to act now on the real causes of the crisis. We need them to act on global inequality, unchecked corporate profiteering and…

1 August 2021 PN

Unity demo demands 'new normal'

Image A CND ‘NHS Not Trident’ banner was at the head of a large Palestine/peace/anti-war bloc. 

PHOTOS: NHS WORKERS SAY NO TO PUBLIC SECTOR PAY INEQUALITY (TOP) LONDON CND (BOTTOM)

1 August 2021 Milan Rai

No action to be taken against British-Yemeni war resister

Do you remember the case of Ahmed Al-Batati, the British-Yemeni soldier who was arrested across the road from Downing Street on 24 August last year? (PN 2646 – 2647)

We have only just discovered Ahmed’s fate from the very wonderful Declassified UK group, who interviewed Ahmed last December.

It turns out that the authorities decided not to take action against Ahmed, and he was allowed to leave the army in December.

If you remember, Ahmed stood in his uniform next…

1 August 2021 David Polden

Police Bill 'a recipe for the arbitrary use of power' says report

Somerset and Avon police and the Metropolitan police have been heavily criticised by an group of MPs for their handling of ‘Kill the Bill’ demonstrations in Bristol in late March and the Sarah Everard vigil in south London on 13 March.

The all-party parliamentary group on democracy and the constitution also condemned the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts bill, the focus of the ‘Kill the Bill’ campaign.

In a report published on 1 July, the group of MPs found that ‘the police…

1 August 2021 Milan Rai

No Faith in War Four acquittal confirmed

On 25 June, Britain’s supreme court set an important legal precedent when it ruled that protesting can be a ‘lawful excuse’ for deliberately disruptive action that obstructs the highway. It made this ruling as it confirmed the acquittal of four Christian anti-arms trade campaigners.

The case dates back to the 2017 DSEI arms fair in East London, when Chris Cole, Henrietta Cullinan, Joanna Frew and Nora Ziegler were arrested (while locked-on to each other in pairs) on the ‘No Faith in…

1 August 2021 David Polden

Cornwall actions demand climate action

Extinction Rebellion (XR) reports that 1,000 climate ‘rebels’ descended on Cornwall in mid-June to try to influence delegations at the G7 summit.

On the first day, 11 June, activists from the Global South carried letters to G7 leaders, which security at the summit venue refused to take.

On the second day, rebels marched to the G7 summit media centre in Falmouth and demanded that the press report more effectively on climate change (see photo).

On Day 3, dozens of…

1 August 2021 PN staff

Nomadic people launch campaign against Police Bill

On 7 July, 500 people came to Parliament Square, London, to launch the ‘Drive2Survive’ campaign.

Drive2Survive is a coalition of Romany Gypsy, Irish Traveller, nomadic activists and community organisations opposed to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.

The bill would create a crime of ‘residing or intending to reside on land without the permission of the owner or occupier’.

Drive2Survive says the bill threatens to ‘criminalise, demonise and ultimately…

1 August 2021 David Polden

Direct action campaign targets arms to Israel

There have been at least seven Palestine Action (PA) actions in the last two months – and a PA prisoner, Yogi Bear, was entering their fifth week on hunger strike in Foston Hall prison as we went to press.

In the latest PA action, at 6am on 12 July, two campaigners smashed windows and property inside a factory in Tamworth, Staffordshire, owned by a subsidiary of the Israeli drone manufacturer Elbit Systems. Two others occupied the roof, spraying red paint.

The activists aimed…

1 August 2021 Rebecca Elson-Watkins

UK 'debasing natural justice' says Amnesty International

On 14 July, the UK government announced proposals to end all prosecutions for crimes committed during Northern Ireland’s ‘Troubles’ – and all related civil cases, inquests and complaints about police wrongdoing.

One effect would be that no British military personnel – or loyalist or republican paramilitaries – could be prosecuted for murdering civilians, so long as their crimes were committed before the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.

Out of the 3,600 people killed during the…

20 July 2021 Reclaim These Streets

Reclaim These Streets statement on the vigil on Clapham Common

13 March: We and women across the country are deeply saddened and angered by the scenes of police officers physically manhandling women at a vigil against male violence.

From the start, Reclaim These Streets set out to work closely with the Met to ensure this vigil could go ahead safely, so women could stand together peacefully and safely to remember Sarah Everard and all the women lost to male violence.

The Metropolitan police failed to work with us despite the high court…

20 July 2021 Lotte Reimer

Protests across Wales draw many first-time demonstrators

Repeated colourful protests against the proposed Policing, Crime, Sentencing and Courts bill have taken place in Cardiff, Haverfordwest, Cardigan, Aberystwyth, Wrexham, Bangor and many other towns across Wales from 3 April.

Ceredigion Against the Policing Bill (CAPB) organised their third well-attended demonstration in Aberystwyth on May Day with speakers including Ben Lake MP, Cammilla Mngaza from the Free Siyanda campaign, and Hilary Brown, lawyer and civil rights campaigner for…

20 July 2021

Project raises awareness of displaced peoples across the world

Sadly, stories of displaced communities are all too familiar but to the community of Epynt in the heart of Breconshire in mid Wales, it was ‘the end of the world’ as the old lady of Hirllwyn Farm put it as she watched the family furniture being moved by horse and cart.

It is a year since descendants and friends of the Epynt community commemorated the 80th anniversary of the Chwalfa – the eviction of 54 families from their homes and livelihood when the ministry of defence…

20 July 2021 David Polden

Ignoring judge, jury finds campaigners who 'damaged' Shell building not guilty

In April and May, 11 Extinction Rebellion (XR) protesters were acquitted in three separate trials for two different climate actions.

Six XR rebels were acquitted by a jury at Southwark crown court on 23 April. They’d been charged with over £25,000-worth of criminal damage to the Shell building in Central London, and the judge had instructed the jury that five of the defendants had no defence in law.

During XR’s April Rebellion in 2019, the activists had poured fake oil, glued…

20 July 2021 Brian Jones

First Welsh council backs anti-nuke treaty

On 26 April, the 35th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, Bangor city council became the first Welsh council (the 16th in the UK) to pass a resolution supporting the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).

Quakers in North Wales have a new Nuclear Weapons Group targeting action on councils, particularly via the ICAN Cities Appeal.

David Mellor of Colwyn Bay Quakers explained: ‘We have been inspired by TPNW and then shocked by the UK government’s defence plans to…

20 July 2021 Carol Jenkins

Councils to mark International Peace Day

Some months before the coronavirus pandemic struck, a small group in Aberystwyth got together to raise awareness of peace issues within the county of Ceredigion, with the ultimate aim of getting the county council to adopt a ‘Peace Charter’.

The first step was to ask Ceredigion county council and some of the county’s main towns to officially recognise and mark International Peace Day.

As it happened, the county council had already decided to do this, but Tregaron and Cardigan…

20 July 2021 David Polden

UK-made weapons have been central to Yemen bombardment, say campaigners

On 22 April, the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) was given permission by a high court judge to bring a case for judicial review of the government’s decision in July 2020 to resume arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

Sarah Waldron of CAAT commented: UK-made weapons have been central to a bombardment [of Yemen] that has destroyed schools, hospitals and homes and created the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.’

In January the new Biden administration in the US ‘paused’ arms sales…

20 July 2021 David Polden

139 undercover officers spied on 1,000+ political groups over 40 year period

Undercover police officers spied on activist Celia Stubbs for more than 20 years as she tried to discover the truth about the death of her partner, Blair Peach. So the Undercover Policing Inquiry (UCPI) was told on 6 May.

Anti-fascist teacher Blair Peach died after being hit on the head in April 1979 while on his way home from an Anti-Nazi League demo.

The Metropolitan police sat on an internal report that found that it could ‘reasonably be concluded’ that Peach was killed by a…

20 July 2021 David Polden

Campaigners shut down arms firm's British head office

On 11 May, following Israeli assaults on Gaza and Jerusalem, over 150 protesters shut down the British head office of Elbit Systems, an Israeli arms firm with 10 factories and offices in the UK. Three people were arrested.

The action was called by Palestine Action.

According to Palestine Action, the direct action campaign which called the 11 May blockade, Elbit produces the baton rounds ‘which have claimed eyes and limbs in Jerusalem’, and provides drones used for Israeli…

20 July 2021 David Polden

Police forcibly disperse 'Sarah Everard' assembly

After a Metropolitan police officer was charged with the murder of Sarah Everard in March, there was a wave of postings on social media as women shared their experiences of sexual harassment and violence by men.

On 13 March, countrywide vigils were organised by a new feminist group, Reclaim These Streets.

However, the day before, the home secretary, Priti Patel, told police chiefs that she wanted the demonstrations stopped because of the COVID risk. Police told organisers any…

20 July 2021 David Polden

'Kill the Bill' protests in 25 towns and cities

Over the weekend of 3 – 4 April, there were ‘Kill the Bill’ protests, mostly under a thousand strong, in more than 25 towns and cities in Britain. The largest was in London where an estimated 10,000 people marched from Buckingham Palace to Parliament Square.

On 1 May, May Day, there were more demonstrations around the country, including another one of 10,000 people in London, organised by the Kill the Bill Coalition.

The London marches led to 107 arrests in April and nine in…

6 July 2021 PN staff

100,000 march in London against bombing of Gaza

As PN went to press, Israeli airstrikes and artillery fire on Gaza had claimed nearly 200 lives, and Palestinians were fearing another ground assault.

Shortly afterwards, on 21 May, after 11 days of violence, the Israeli government and Palestinian militants in Gaza accepted a ceasefire.

Hamas, the Palestinian armed movement which rules Gaza, had first …

6 July 2021 Jane Harries

Primary and secondary schools invited to register with Wales Peace Schools Scheme

‘Peace is a big part of our lives, which maybe we didn’t realise. Now I understand more about the news. After we did our project on Syria, I could explain something about the conflict to other people.’ – Delyth, peace ambassador, Ysgol Dyffryn Aman

‘Learning about conscientious objectors and how Wales welcomed immigrants in the past really influenced my views, and I see things differently.’ – Judy, Cyfarthfa High School, Merthyr

These are just two of the comments the…

6 July 2021 Phil Steele

Why the ongoing obsession with nuclear power?, asks Phil Steele

Desperate attempts are being made to resuscitate the fading nuclear dream in North Wales, where the Welsh Labour government is vying with Tory Virginia Crosbie, MP for Ynys Môn, in repeated bids to save the seemingly-doomed Wylfa B power station project.

Possible ‘white knight to the rescue’ options included an unholy consortium of the financially- and morally-bankrupt Bechtel, Southern Company and Westinghouse.

In January, the application by the site owners, Horizon Nuclear,…

6 July 2021 PN staff

UN predicts 'worst famine the world has seen for decades' as UK halves aid

The UN’s head of humanitarian affairs has described the ‘huge cut’ in UK aid to Yemen as a ‘quite shocking’ attempt to ‘balance the books on the backs of starving people’.

Mark Lowcock was reacting to the UK’s pledge of only £87m of aid compared to the pledge of £160m it made a year earlier – and the £214m it actually delivered in 2020 – 2021.

For several years now, the UN and humanitarian agencies have described Yemen as the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.

Mark…

6 July 2021 PN staff

Fewer police killings in areas which saw protests

Police killed 15 – 20 percent fewer people between 2014 and 2019 in those parts of the US where there had been Black Lives Matter protests.

Where there were larger and more frequent BLM protests, there was a steeper decline in police killings.

These are the findings of a new study by US economist Travis Campbell posted in February (but not yet peer-reviewed): ‘Black Lives Matter’s Effect on Police Lethal Use-of-Force’.

Campbell wrote: ‘The payoff for protesting is…

6 July 2021 PN staff

Drilling plans rejected, protest ban defeated

British anti-fracking campaigners have been celebrating several wins recently.

On 2 March, West Sussex county council rejected new plans to test drill for oil in Balcombe, site of an early anti-fracking struggle in 2013.

Despite council officers recommending approval of the revised plan from Angus Energy, councillors unanimously refused the application.

On another front, at the beginning of February, anti-fracking campaigners were celebrating in Surrey and Sussex when…

6 July 2021 PN staff and Rob Fairmichael

Both unionists and nationalists need to start thinking creatively about possible futures inside and outside of the UK, says Rob Fairmichael

A Quick guide to NI
by PN staff

As many readers will know, the Northern Ireland mini-state was created when the British government partitioned Ireland 100 years ago, on 3 May 1921.

Since then, there have been people in NI who want to reunite the six NI counties with the rest of Ireland – they’re known as ‘nationalists’ and ‘republicans’. Against them have been those who want to maintain British rule over NI – known as ‘unionists’ and ‘loyalists’.…

5 July 2021 Kelvin Mason

Choirs fundraise to help end male violence against women

As part of the White Ribbon campaign, members of three activist choirs collaborated to stage a fundraiser for the charity, which works with men and boys to end male violence against women.

Canwyr Stryd Bangor, Côr Cochion Caerdydd and Aberystwyth’s Côr Gobaith organised an evening of teaching songs, singalongs, and performance poetry.

The evening began with Anthea Sully, chief executive of White Ribbon, who outlined the White Ribbon Promise ‘to never commit, excuse or remain…

5 July 2021 Lotte Reimer

‘Travelling’ signs and peace cranes mark 'entry into force' of UN nuclear weapons ban

Lotte Reimer writes: As congregating to sing or otherwise celebrate together was impossible due to the lockdown, a great deal of thought and innovation went into how to celebrate the ‘entry into force’ of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons on 22 January. ‘Travelling’ signs and peace cranes were photographed in various places across Wales (including the Welsh senedd/parliament – see below) and pictures were posted on social media. There was also an online CND Cymru concert…

5 July 2021 PN staff

Nuclear weapons treaty renewed days before expiry

The incoming Joe Biden administration stepped in to renew New START for another five years on 3 February, two days before the treaty was due to expire.

New START places limits on the US and Russia in terms of warheads, missiles and launchers that can be used for a nuclear attack on each other’s homelands (‘strategic’ weapons).

Each military can only have 700 ‘deployed’ (operational and armed) methods of attack at any one time.

They can split up that 700 number between…

5 July 2021 David Polden

Trial scheduled for 13 December

Four people charged with criminal damage to the bronze statue of 18th-century slave trader Edward Colston will face a jury trial at Bristol crown court, starting on 13 December.

The date was set at a hearing on 2 March, after the Colston 4 pleaded not guilty before Bristol magistrates on 25 January, and opted for a trial at crown court before a jury. This is their right because the charge they face carries a maximum sentence of 10 years.

Bristol city council, who recovered the…

5 July 2021 David Polden

Last occupier removed after 31 days underground

On 26 February, the final occupier came out of a tunnel under Euston railway station in central London. Bradley was taken away in an ambulance, having spent 31 days underground.

The tunnels were dug under an anti-HS2 protest camp which was set up in August in Euston Square Gardens, outside Euston station.

The aim of the Tree Protection Camp was to stop the felling of the trees in Euston Square to make way for new taxi ranks for the new HS2 terminus. Half the Gardens had already…

5 July 2021 David Polden

'No case to answer' for activists who prevented deportation 

On 29 January, after six days of trial, the court of appeal in London overturned the convictions of the activists known as ‘the Stansted 15’, saying they should never have been prosecuted on counter-terror charges in 2019.

After they prevented the departure of a deportation flight from Stansted airport in 2017, the Stansted 15 were prosecuted on the charge of ‘endangering the safe operation of an aerodrome’, under section 1(2)(b) of the Aviation and Maritime Security Act 1990.

4 July 2021 David Polden

Four charged for toppling Colston statue

In December, the Bristol police charged four people with criminal damage to the statue of Edward Colston. The bronze statue was removed from its plinth and tipped into the harbour by anti-racist demonstrators on 7 June 2020. No arrests were made at the time.

Rhian Graham (29), Milo Ponsford (25), Jake Skuse (32) and Sage Willoughby (21) appeared for a plea and directions hearing on 25 January.

Bristol city council, who recovered the statue of the 17th-century slave trader from…

4 July 2021 PN staff

Ukrainian journalist and conscientious objector attacked 

On 22 January, a Ukrainian journalist and conscientious objector was attacked in western Ukraine by a far-right mob shouting ‘Death to the enemies! Ukraine above all!’ 

Ruslan Kotsaba, a member of the Ukrainian Pacifist Movement, was sprayed with a fire extinguisher as he made his way into Kolomyia city district court in Ivano-Frankivsk region. He did not suffer any serious injuries.

Ruslan was on trial (again) for a video he posted in 2015 in which he called for people to…

4 July 2021 David Polden

'Beacon of truth' bamboo tower erected in river Colne

On 8 December, police and security staff cleared an anti-HS2 protest camp in Denham Country Park in West London. They made four arrests on suspicion of attempted assault on the police.

The Protection Camp has been in woodland there for the past six months. 

Half the woodland is due to be taken over for works in connection with the high-speed HS2 rail line from London to Birmingham and beyond.

Well-known environmental activist Dan Hooper, known as ‘Swampy’, was removed…

4 July 2021 David Polden

Arms company blockaded on anniversary of Paris climate agreement

On 11 December, protesters from Extinction Rebellion Bristol and Christian Climate Action blockaded the headquarters of the defence equipment and support organisation (DE&S) at Abbey Wood, near Bristol.

Sita Ruskin of Bristol XR told the Bristol Post: ‘We’re here to say to our government: “spend our money on combatting climate change – not on putting weapons into combat”.’

DE&S supplies both lethal and non-lethal equipment to the navy, army and air force.

4 July 2021 David Polden

Wikileaks founder denied bail pending US appeal

On 4 January, district judge Vanessa Baraitser, sitting at the central criminal court in London, refused an application for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to be extradited to the US to face charges of espionage.

However, the judge also ruled that Assange would have committed an offence under UK law if the acts complained about by the US had taken place in the UK. Judge Baraitser refused extradition on the grounds that Assange would be a suicide risk if extradited. 

Two days…

4 July 2021 David Polden

Are UK police still spying on activists?, asks inquiry head

On 3 November, retired judge sir John Mitting asked the question we all want to know the answer to. On the second day of the public hearings into undercover police officers sent in to spy on political groups, Mitting, the head of the inquiry, asked the QC for the Metropolitan police whether the spying was continuing. 

The QC avoided giving an answer. 

Mitting said he would insist on an answer... but no such answer has yet emerged.

We now know that the Metropolitan police…

4 July 2021 David Polden

Home office failed in its legal duties towards black Britons - report

The home office’s ‘hostile environment’ immigration measures were a breach of the ministry’s public sector equality duty under the Equality Act 2010. That was the conclusion of the British government’s own equality and human rights commission (EHRC) in a report published on 25 November.

The EHRC also found that the home office had a ‘perfunctory’ approach to its legal duty to ensure its policies complied with equality legislation. 

The Oxford dictionary says that ‘perfunctory’…

4 July 2021 PN staff

On 22 January, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons became law

A majority of people in Britain think that the UK should sign up to the UN’s nuclear ban treaty, which entered into force on 22 January. 

That was the finding of a Survation poll commissioned by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), Britain’s largest peace organisation by membership.

Survation found that 59 percent of the British public thought the UK should sign up to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), and 77 percent supported a total global nuclear…

11 December 2020 Jill Evans

Welsh peace institute launched

On International Peace Day, 21 September, Wales joined the world in having its own research and information body dedicated to peace. Academi Heddwch Cymru was officially established after 10 years of campaigning.

The idea was first proposed following UK government plans to privatise and merge all military training at a massive military academy in Sain Tathan in the Vale of Glamorgan.

This would have been the focus of all UK war preparations, but also available to other…

11 December 2020 Lotte Reimer

Wreaths removed at Knighton war memorial

With no marches or formal gatherings, this year’s Remembrance Day had less emphasis on pomp and perhaps more on reflection in the quiet laying of wreaths of red, white and purple poppies.

In Knighton, wreaths were removed from the war memorial, leaving white poppies scattered on the ground, while all the red poppy wreaths were left intact.

Local activist Angie Zelter said: ‘Knighton Action for Peace and Justice are in shock that such disrespect should be shown to all the…

11 December 2020 Ian Bell

Campaigners shift to online campaigning

I know! I can learn to play the concertina. I’ve never been able to commit to learn to play anything, but the COVID-19 lockdown would offer the opportunity. The pandemic has necessitated rapid change for us all. From the start of the first lockdown in March, and with each frequent rule change, like many other activists I have wondered what it means and where do we go from here?

In our peace and justice choir, we have found a way with online meetings to practice together though apart…

11 December 2020 Symon Hill

Call for UK to 'remember Yemen'

Launching this year’s white poppy campaign, Geoff Tibbs of the Peace Pledge Union (PPU) encouraged people in the UK to ‘remember Yemen’, where British-trained Saudi forces are targeting civilians with British-made weapons.

Despite the closure of shops and other outlets, white poppy sales were only slightly below last year’s level.

There was a sharp rise in orders from schools. The PPU, who produce and distribute the white poppies, received over 200 orders for remembrance…

11 December 2020 PN staff

US activists receive 10 - 33 months for anti-Trident action 

Six of the Kings Bay 7 have received their sentences – between one and three years in prison – for their disarmament action at a Trident base in Georgia, USA, in 2018. One will be sentenced in December.

The Ploughshares activists, five of them from Catholic Worker groups around the US, carried hammers and baby bottles of their own blood to three locations on the Kings Bay submarine base.

The seven Christians attempted to symbolically convert US weapons of mass destruction and…

11 December 2020 PN staff

Activists target UK-based Israeli arms companies

On 2 November, four Palestine Action activists were arrested at an Israeli-owned drone factory in Shenstone, Staffordshire, after several locked-on to the factory gates. According to Palestine Action (PA), two legal observers were also arrested, after being pepper-sprayed.

Two other factories owned by Israeli drone manufacturer Elbit Systems were spraypainted the same day: the Elbit Ferranti factory in Oldham, Greater Manchester, and the Elite KL factory in Tamworth, Staffordshire.…

11 December 2020 David Polden

Protests not exempt from lockdown rules

Under the regulations for the second lockdown in England, published on 3 November, protests outdoors of more than two people are in effect banned.

This is a change from the regulations previously in operation. These specifically allowed public gatherings of up to 30 people for political purposes provided a thorough risk assessment had been carried out and reasonable steps had been taken to limit the risk of transmission.

No such exception appears in the new regulations, which…

11 December 2020 PN staff

Banner hang calls for debt cancellation & reparations

On 12 November, a giant 70 square metred (23-foot by 33-foot) Africans Rising banner was hung on scaffolding on the side of the houses of parliament in central London. The huge letter, launching the #ReRightHistory campaign of Africans Rising for Justice, Peace and Dignity, made four demands. It called on the government of the UK to:

apologise for the human cost of slavery and colonialism  begin a Truth and Reconciliation process in relation to the UK’s colonial crimes  cancel African…

11 December 2020 David Polden

Jury returns unanimous verdict on anti-war action

On 23 October, a jury at Dublin circuit court acquitted peace activists Colm Roddy and Dave Donnellan of criminal damage to the security fence and runway at Shannon airport, on the west coast of Ireland, in May 2016.

At the nine-day trial, Colm (78) and Dave (60) were alleged to have cut through the airport perimeter fence and painted crucifixes on the runway.

They were arrested after asking soldiers and gardaí (police officers) surrounding a US military C-21 jet to search it…

11 December 2020 Rebecca Elson-Watkins

Groups take action across the UK

From 9 – 12 October, Migrants Organise, Kanlungan and many other groups joined together for a weekend of action against the home office’s ‘hostile environment’.

The ‘hostile environment’ is a web of immigration controls forcing NHS staff, employers, landlords and others to make life unbearable for undocumented migrants.

The weekend of action was exactly 10 years since the deportation-murder of Jimmy Mubenga, who an inquest said was ‘unlawfully killed’ while being restrained by…

11 December 2020 PN staff

Verdict in Assange extradition trial expected 4 January

On 7 November, police arrested four people at the socially-distanced weekly vigil for Julian Assange in Piccadilly Circus, using new COVID-related powers granted on 3 November.

Earlier, on 3 October, police exceeded the powers they possessed at that time by dispersing the vigil. On that occasion, there were 18 people expressing solidarity with the imprisoned WikiLeaks founder.

Twice that many police were on hand, and they arrested four demonstrators, presumably to encourage the…

11 December 2020 Milan Rai

Milan Rai reports on US activists' impressive efforts in nonviolent deterrence and preparation

As we went to press, Donald Trump had just sent a tweet which was the closest thing to conceding that he’s lost the US presidential election that we’re probably going to get.

In the weeks leading up to 3 November, there was anxiety across the political spectrum that Trump might try to hang onto power despite losing the election. In the end, it turned out that he didn’t have the determination, organisation or good judgement to mount a serious threat to the political system.

11 December 2020 Janet Fenton

Nuclear ban treaty will become law on 22 January

On 24 October, Honduras ratified the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), becoming the 50th state to signal its binding agreement with the treaty.

Passing the 50-ratifications threshold means that the TPNW will now actually ‘enter into force’ – become law – on 22 January.

With the 50th ratification, the treaty is irreversible.

Unlike other nuclear treaties, the TPNW specifically mentions the disproportionate impact on women, the damage caused to the…

10 December 2020

Swansea's 'Peace Mala' project extolled as model for cross-racial discussion

On 23 August, an online international workshop on the role of diplomacy in crisis management was held by the Africa Centre for Training, Consulting and Communication in collaboration with Cardiff’s Atlantis Academy.

From Wales, Stephen Thomas of Hub Cymru Africa spoke about Wales as a small nation with an international impact on peace processes and human rights projects in many African countries.

Pamela Christine Evans spoke about the ‘Peace Mala’ project in Swansea as a model…

10 December 2020 Adam Johannes

Cardiff campaigners converge to protest systemic injustices

A few weeks ago, Extinction Rebellion Wales contacted me with the idea of a ‘super-march’. What if diverse campaigns all marched together under one all-encompassing slogan, ‘Justice Now’?

On 5 September, over 1,000 people took to the streets of Cardiff, ringing out chants like: ‘This is what democracy looks like!’, ‘Black Lives Matter!’ and ‘Sea levels are rising so are we!’

Sponsored by 25 Welsh campaign groups including Extinction Rebellion, Black Lives Matter, Youth Climate…

10 December 2020 Jane Powell

Farmers and climate change campaigners deliberate at Zoom assembly

Two months into lockdown, 156 people logged onto Zoom for a two-hour meeting about food and farming in Ceredigion.

After hearing from a range of farmers, community organisers and environmentalists, small groups shared their personal responses to the crisis that is COVID, Brexit, climate change, globalisation and more.

Guided by a facilitator, they listened to each other, looking for common ground and exploring solutions.

Reporting back from the groups, there was a strong…

10 December 2020 PN staff

Photos from September's 'Rebellion'

10 December 2020 Milan Rai

$256,000 crowdfunded in 48 hours to pay whistleblower's fine

This is super-super-late news, there are no excuses. Chelsea Manning, US army whistleblower, was freed way back on 12 March, after attempting suicide in prison the day before.

Chelsea had been detained for over 11 months at that point because she refused to give evidence to a grand jury investigating WikiLeaks.

The judge also imposed $500- and then $1,000-a-day fines. When Chelsea was released, the total had grown to $256,000.

This sum was raised in less than 48 hours (…

10 December 2020 Kate Whitaker 

Tranings support campaigns and communities

Facing job losses and growing inequality because of the pandemic, communities and workers are coming together to support those in their community who need it, demand safety at work, tackle racial injustice, and call for green jobs and well-funded public services, among other demands.

Tripod, a training co-operative, and Friends of the Earth Scotland, a climate campaigning organisation, held a series of online campaign skills workshops to support Scottish communities and campaign…

10 December 2020 David Polden

Assets frozen over attempts to investigate US war crimes in Afghanistan

On 2 September, the US government imposed economic sanctions on two senior officials of the international criminal court (ICC): chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, and Phakiso Mochochoko, director of the court’s prosecution jurisdiction division.

The sanctions include the freezing of any assets they hold in the US and barring them from any access to the US financial system.

Announcing the sanctions, shortly after returning from Israel, US secretary of state Mike Pompeo said: ‘We…

10 December 2020 PN staff

The 75th anniversary of Nagasaki, Castle Park, Bristol, 9 August. PHOTO: SIMON HOLLIDAY

Despite COVID-19 restrictions, there were several in-person Hiroshima and Nagasaki commemorations in the UK to mark the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombings in Japan.

In Bristol, CND, Trident Ploughshares, and XR Peace organised an ambitious four-day Peace Gathering, which began and ended with die-ins, in Castle Park in central Bristol (above).

As well as the ‘longest banner drop in Bristol’ (91m along Finzel’s Reach Bridge over the harbour), there was a leafleting-and-…

10 December 2020 PN staff

Use of automatic facial recognition tech by South Wales police ruled unlawful

In the world’s first successful challenge against the use of automatic facial recognition technology (AFR) by police, the court of appeal ruled on 11 August that the South Wales police (SWP) force’s use of AFR had been unlawful. This overturned a high court ruling the other way.

The appeal was brought by Liberty, on behalf of anti-arms trade activist Ed Bridges. The court upheld three of the five grounds Liberty raised.

It found that the legal framework for the use of AFR was…

10 December 2020 David Polden

WikiLeaks exposed ‘grave violations of law’, court told

On 7 September, Julian Assange faced a new extradition hearing in London, set to last four weeks.

The US had been demanding his extradition to face charges of conspiracy to receive, obtain and disclose classified US diplomatic and military documents – because of his work with WikiLeaks.

If found guilty on all charges, Julian could face up to 175 years in jail.

Clive Stafford-Smith, founder of the legal charity Reprieve, told the court that documents published by…

10 December 2020 Rakesh Prashara

Opencast coal mine stopped

On 8 September, the government said that an opencast coal mine planned for Druridge Bay in Northumberland could not go ahead. Robert Jenrick, secretary of state for housing, communities and local government, rejected the planning application because it was ‘not environmentally acceptable’.

For the last seven years, the Save Druridge campaign has been opposing Banks Mining’s plan to put an opencast coal mine next to the dunes of one of the most beloved beauty spots along the…

10 December 2020 Gabriel Carlyle

Protest against Saudi state terrorism in Yemen

A lance corporal in a British army signal regiment has been arrested after staging a one-person protest opposite Downing Street against British support for Saudi Arabia’s bombing of Yemen.

In a video recorded before his 24 August protest, Ahmed al-Babati, who was born in Yemen, said: ‘I joined the army in 2017 and took an oath to protect and serve this country, not to be part of a corrupt government that continues to arm and support terrorism… I’d rather sleep peacefully in a cell…

9 December 2020 Robat Idris

Robat Idris remembers a community lost to a training area for the British army

I wonder if you have seen the words ‘Cofiwch Epynt’ (‘Remember Epynt’) whilst travelling in Powys, mid Wales?

It is an echo of the ‘Cofiwch Dryweryn’ murals that have appeared in all parts of Wales over the last year – but what is behind the words?

It is a story of the heartbreak of losing land, language and a way of life to a training area for the British army.

Sixty square miles of Welsh land fell under the rule of the ministry of ‘defence’; the Welsh language border…

9 December 2020

Beyond Politics or Beyond Foolish?

On 21 July, a new political party calling itself ‘Beyond Politics’ threw buckets of pink paint over the front doors of Amnesty International, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and Christian Aid.

The driving force behind the new group – which launched itself at the end of June with a shoplifting stunt at a branch of Sainsbury’s in Camden – appears to be Extinction Rebellion (XR) co-founder Roger Hallam.

On 25 July, XR UK issued a statement clarifying that ‘Roger Hallam no longer…

9 December 2020 Gabriel Carlyle

2020 strategy encourages action for local demands

Extinction Rebellion (XR) UK’s organisers ‘say they are… shifting strategy toward a model that prioritizes the communities in which they operate’ and ‘will also move away from [the group’s] focus on disrupting the public, which won it so much attention’, instead directing XR’s actions ‘at institutions, businesses and government bodies preventing climate action’, Time magazine reports.

According to Time, one member of XR’s UK actions circle ‘describes a “mini civil…

9 December 2020 PN staff

UK to resume arming war in Yemen, despite pattern of Saudi war crimes

The British government is going to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia again, after deciding there is ‘not a clear risk’ of those weapons being used to attack civilians in Yemen. Saudi-led forces have been waging war in Yemen since March 2015.

The Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) responded: ‘This is a disgraceful and morally bankrupt decision. The Saudi-led bombardment of Yemen has created the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, and the government itself admits that UK-made arms have played…

9 December 2020 Phil Steele

Phil Steele takes a look at what's been happening in Wales

The pandemic restrictions in Wales meant that from March onwards most peace campaigning took place screen-to-screen via Zoom or Skype.

This, of course, had its limitations, but it did mean that it was no longer necessary – or indeed permitted – to bring people together by making convoluted journeys through the mountains via B-roads or by circuitous train routes.

The Welsh government took a more cautious approach to lockdown than Westminster, but local socially-distanced…

9 December 2020 PN staff

How UK activist organisations and radical media have been responding to the current crisis (continued from last issue).

CND
www.cnduk.org

Since the beginning of lockdown, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament has held a series of webinars (including ‘Ventilators not exterminators: why now is the time for defence diversification’); run an online lobbying campaign directed at MPs (‘Wash our hands of Trident to combat COVID19’); and run an online competition to produce eye-catching posters that people can print off and display in their windows.

This year’s…

8 December 2020 Pat Richardson

Vigil for Gaza held in run up to Christmas

Borth and Aberystwyth Women in Black held a vigil on 30 November.

We were responding to a request from a local Palestinian woman whose family still lives in a refugee camp in Lebanon. She felt that Gaza and the plight of its people were forgotten in the midst of Brexit, general election campaigning and the run up to Christmas.

So we gathered on a cold morning and stood in silence with our Palestinian flags and simple placards: ‘Cofiwch Gaza’ (‘Remember Gaza’) and ‘Imagine Peace…

8 December 2020 Lotte Reimer

Welsh witnesses to Israel's occupation

In November, Kate Sherringer and Hwyel and Christine Davies of West Wales Friends of Palestine walked 100 miles through the West Bank of Palestine from Rummanah, near Jenin, to Jordan.

The walk was organised through the human rights organisation, the Amos Trust.

Kate explained: ‘I’ve never done a lot of walking, but it seemed like a good challenge to set myself in my 70s. I’ve been interested in issues around Israel and Palestine for a while, and this is my fourth visit there…

8 December 2020 George Carmel

From Wales to the West Bank

Tell us about your trip.’ ‘Tell us about your holiday.’ Just some of the responses to my visit to Palestine in October 2019.

For a start, I never imagined that I was going on a holiday when I signed up to go with a Peaceful Presence group to help with the olive harvest.

I knew that it would be hard work and that I might witness things that would distress me. Since I came home, I’ve found it difficult to talk about the visit. Knowing intellectually about the situation didn’t…

8 December 2020 David Polden

Extradition hearing to take place on 24 February

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s full extradition hearing is scheduled for 24 February at Woolwich crown court in South London.

The investigative journalist was arrested at the Ecuadorean embassy last April, having spent seven years there after claiming asylum to avoid possible extradition to the US via Sweden.

Sexual assault charges Julian was facing in Sweden have since been dropped, but he has been kept in Belmarsh high security prison because of an extradition request…

8 December 2020 PN staff

Mauritius issues threat of futher action after expiry of UN deadline

British officials might stand trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity because of the British government’s refusal to return the illegally-occupied Chagos Islands to Mauritius.

That was the threat made on 27 December by the prime minister of Mauritius, Pravind Jugnauth, after an advisory opinion by the world court last February and the expiry of a six-month deadline set by the UN general assembly.

The Chagos Islands in the Indian Ocean include…

4 December 2020 David Polden

Police 'counter-terror' guide brands Extinction Rebellion as 'extremist'

Young people who speak emotionally about climate change might be extremists who need to be reported to the authorities. That was the message of a regional police ‘counter-terror’ guide labelling nonviolent campaigning groups as ‘extremist’. A second (national-level) police document which warned of groups like CND and Greenpeace is being challenged by CND, Trident Ploughshares and others.

The first guide, Safeguarding young people and adults from ideological extremism, was…

4 December 2020 PN staff

Nuclear arms race and ‘limited political response’ to climate change shift Doomsday clock forward 20 seconds

The end of the world is closer than it’s ever been, according to the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. On 23 January, the Bulletin moved the hands of its Doomsday Clock 20 seconds forward.

The clock, which symbolises how close humanity is to destruction, is now only 100 seconds to midnight.

Rachel Bronson, president and CEO of the Bulletin, said: ‘We now face a true emergency – an absolutely unacceptable state of world affairs that has eliminated any margin for…

4 December 2020 David Polden

Seven arrested in attempt to break siege

In January, European activists were arrested as they attempted to break the illegal Israeli siege of Gaza by cutting the fence separating Gaza from Israel.

The campaigners were from ‘Gaza 2020 Breaking the Siege’, a new international movement whose aim is to challenge Israel’s ‘inhumane’ blockade of two million Gazans.

Previous attempts to break the siege have been by sea, including the Gaza Freedom Flotilla of May 2010, in which nine unarmed Turkish solidarity activists were…

4 December 2020 David Polden

David Collins & Hilary Evans on their experiences at COP25

Movement for the Abolition of War’s eye-catching banner ‘War causes climate change – Climate change causes war’ caused an international stir in December when it travelled to Madrid to take its message to the UN climate conference COP25.

The banner was seen and photographed by thousands of delegates and visitors entering the conference centre – and by many more on the 500,000-strong Friday evening climate march through Madrid (led by Greta Thunberg).

MAW has long believed that…

4 December 2020 Milan Rai

Milan Rai surveys the UK media's coverage of the assassination of Qassem Suleimani

A week after the killing of Qassem Suleimani and his nine companions on 3 January, Simon Jenkins was the first person in the mainstream British print media to refer to a US ‘empire’ in relation to the Middle East.

After referring to ‘ceaseless wars of western aggression’ in recent decades, Jenkins wrote: ‘As empires crumble, stuff happens’. He expressed the hope that the US might be about to withdraw from Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. (‘Trump’s rant against Iran is the howl of a dying…

28 September 2020 Nik Gorecki

Conference marks 60th anniversary of Cale Rd's Peace House

This year, Peace House – the building on Caledonian Road which is home to Peace News, Housmans Bookshop, War Resisters International, Network for Peace, Campaign Against Climate Change, and many others – is celebrating its 60th anniversary.

To mark the occasion, we are organising a conference on 28 March.

‘Our Power Is Real: A Festival of Grassroots Social Change’ is a one-day event bringing together a wide range of community and grassroots campaign groups.

In…

28 September 2020 Milan Rai

The Baghdad airport massacre is part of a pattern of US assassinations

On 3 January, a US drone strike destroyed two vehicles driving through Baghdad airport, killing 10 men, including Iranian general Qassem Suleimani and a senior Iraqi military official, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

US commentator Noam Chomsky described the Suleimani assassination to the Hindustan Times as ‘at least international terrorism, arguably worse.’

As well being aggression against the territory of Iraq, the assassination was the latest in a long line of acts of…

1 June 2020 PN staff

PN takes a look at how UK activists have been responding to COVID-19

Like everyone else, UK activists have been scrambling to adapt to the ‘new normal’ of ‘lockdown’ and social distancing. In early June we surveyed over twenty different activist organisations, networks and media projects to see what they’d been up to, as well as their plans for the future.

Here’s what we found out …

Campaigns, NGOs & activist networks

Calais Migrant Solidarity
calaismigrantsolidarity.wordpress.…

1 December 2019 Andrew Smith

More licences granted for military equipment to Saudi-led coalition

On 26 September, the secretary of state for international trade, Liz Truss, told parliament that the government breached a court of appeal ruling by granting further licences for military equipment to the Saudi-led coalition for use in Yemen.

This followed revelations the previous week that the government had breached the ruling on at least two occasions.

We are always being told how rigorous and robust arms export controls supposedly are, but this shows that nothing…

1 December 2019 PN staff

‘We are not sinking, we are fighting’

Photo: Gilang Kharisma/Survival Media Agency via 350.org

Hundreds of students and activists marched to Jakarta city hall in the capital of Indonesia as they joined the 20 September Global Climate Strike. The demonstrations started in the Pacific islands (‘We are not sinking, we are fighting’) and Australia, where 300,000 took part in 100 rallies. They spread across Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas, involving over four million people in total. A week later, two million people…

1 December 2019 David Polden

Police abused powers over 500 times during October ‘rebellion’

Several hundred XR activists may now be able to sue the Metropolitan police for wrongful arrest. On 6 November, the high court said that an earlier police ban on protests by Extinction Rebellion (XR) was itself ‘unlawful’.

Separately, a report by Netpol, the Network for Police Monitoring, says that there were over 500 cases of police abusing their powers during the XR October ‘rebellion’ in London, including discrimination against disabled protesters, and a police officer breaking…

1 December 2019 Lotte Reimer

Bangor city council follows Aberystwyth’s lead

For once, the sun shone on Remembrance Sunday as poppy wreaths were laid across Wales.

This year, , officially laying a white poppy wreath alongside their traditional red one.

Aberystwyth saw an additional five white wreaths from local groups plus a purple wreath for animal war casualties.

After the official parade, Côr Gobaith sang songs of peace at the Aberystwyth Peace Tree, including Sue Gilmurray’s ‘The Ones Who Said No’, which ends with the words: ‘Cry…

1 December 2019 Angie Zelter

Hundreds of peace activists join October actions

Mock Trident missile outside the ministry of defence for XR Peace blockade, 7 October. Photo: XR Peace

Several hundred peace activists took part in XR Peace actions in London during the October occupations and actions by the climate action group Extinction Rebellion (XR).

There were 57 arrests on different charges: causing a public nuisance, highway obstruction, aggravated trespass, criminal damage, and breaching ‘section 14’ orders. (Section 14 of the Public Order Act 1986…

1 December 2019 PN staff

White poppy wreath laid at Cenotaph

Photo: Veterans for Peace UK

On 10 November, Veterans for Peace UK marked Remembrance Sunday by walking to the Cenotaph in Whitehall, in central London, behind a banner saying ‘Never Again’. James Florey read a poem: ‘Suicide in the Trenches’. Jim Radford sang ‘1916’.

Ben Griffin, the outgoing national co-ordinator of VfP UK, laid a wreath of white poppies saying ‘Never Again’ (pictured).

1 December 2019 Lotte Reimer

Aberystwyth strikers hold People's Assembly

This is why we are not at school! Aberystwyth School Strike, 20 September. Photo: Marian Delyth

20 September saw school children strike for climate again across Wales, supported by many adults. At the Centre for Alternative Technology, students, visitors, staff and volunteers showed their support for the Climate Strike, sounding alarms to signal that ‘time’s up’ for action on climate change, and reading out words from young climate strikers from around the world.

In…

1 December 2019 PN staff

Corruption, unemployment and opposition to Iranian interference three key factors behind unarmed protests

Large-scale unarmed anti-government protests in Iraq have been met with lethal force from the security forces, leaving over 330 people dead since the beginning of October.

While the main focus of popular anger has been corruption, unemployment, poverty and the lack of public services, there have also been a number of protests at symbols of Iranian interference, including Iranian consulates.

On 26 October, to take another example, protesters set fire to dozens of offices…

1 December 2019 PN staff

Solidarity with Catholic peace activists facing jail

Photo: Peace News

On 21 October, the first day of the trial of the Kings Bay Plowshares 7, Peace News held a vigil outside the new US embassy in south London. We stood in solidarity with the seven US Catholic peace activists who broke into a US Trident base in Georgia, USA. The seven were found guilty three days later on all counts: trespass, ‘depredation’ and destruction of government property, and conspiracy. See here for a court report.
 

1 December 2019 Carol Jenkins

Rise in complaints over Welsh-speaking bans

Cymdeithas yr Iaith – the organisation that campaigns for the Welsh language – has seen a rise this year in the number of complaints by individuals who have been banned from speaking Welsh.

One workplace told employees not to speak Welsh to each other if there were non-Welsh speakers also working.

In a well-known fast food chain, a staff member was banned from speaking Welsh and told she had to take all orders in English, including from customers who spoke Welsh!

1 December 2019 Bethan Roberts

Solidarity with jailed independence campaigners

Aberystwyth stands with Catalonia. Photo: Marian Delyth

On 17 October, Aberystwyth locals gathered in solidarity with the Catalan people after the Spanish supreme court sentenced nine political prisoners to nine to 13 years in prison for their involvement in the 2017 Catalan independence referendum.

The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention had called on Spain to release the prisoners, conduct an independent investigation to identify public officials responsible…

1 December 2019 Milan Rai

How Northern Ireland's 'Troubles' really began

Graph of Responsibility of Troubles deaths by year, 1969 - 2001. Created from Sutton index data at: http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/sutton/crosstabs.html. IMAGE: IrishBriton [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]

There was a trickle of dishonest and…

1 December 2019 PN staff

East Sussex divestment campaigners to launch nonviolent action campaign

Divest East Sussex demonstrates outside a meeting of East Sussex county council, 15 October. Photo: Divest East Sussex

Climate action coalition Divest East Sussex is gearing up for nonviolent direct action after the first phase of its campaign came to a head on 15 October.

That was the day East Sussex county council was forced to hold a debate on its continued role in funding climate change after Divest East Sussex collected over 5,300 signatures on a petition demanding it…

1 December 2019 PN staff

Doctors fear for Assange's health

1 December is Prisoners for Peace Day, when activists are encouraged to write to people imprisoned around the world for refusing to fight or for campaigning against war.

This year, we have highlighted the imprisonment of US military whistleblower Chelsea Manning and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

At risk

As we went to press, there were reports that Julian Assange’s health was deteriorating rapidly.

More than 60 doctors wrote an open letter…

1 December 2019 Barbara Echlin

Bexhill meeting explores UN Charter

At a meeting on 26 October, Bexhill and Hastings United Nations Association (UNA) explored the UN’s meaning of peace by working through the Preamble to the Charter of the United Nations.

Bruce Kent (Movement for the Abolition of War) discussed how ‘We the peoples’ can actually ‘save succeeding generations from the scourge of war’.

Chris Coverdale (Make War History) suggested ways to end Britain’s perpetual involvement in war, including persuading taxpayers to obey the…

1 October 2019 David Polden

Tower Hamlets Council feared event would breach International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-semitism





1 October 2019 Lotte Reimer

Pension Fund votes to ditch fossil fuels after mass action

Meditative climate action, Barclays bank, Aberystwyth, 6 July. Photo: Lotte Reimer

Climate change actions have been many and varied in the past few months.

On 6 July, members of West Wales Triratna Buddhist Group took ‘meditative action’ outside Barclays bank in Aberystwyth. Wearing blindfolds and carrying placards saying ‘Barclays – blind to the climate crisis’, the group cut a powerful image of compassion and determination during their two-and-a-half-hour meditation.

1 October 2019 David Polden

Anti-nuke activists face 25 years in prison

Kings Bay Ploughshares 7 (left–right): Clare Grady, Patrick O’Neill, Liz McAlister, Steve Kelly SJ, Martha Hennessy, Mark Colville and Carmen Trotta.
Photo: Kings Bay Ploughshares

Seven US Catholic peace activists are facing up to 25 years in prison each, after breaking into a Trident submarine base at Kings Bay in Georgia, on the east coast of the USA. On 4 April 2018, the 50th anniversary of the assassination of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr, the seven entered…

1 October 2019

Anniversary of nuke bombings marked around the world

In August, demonstrators in town crier costumes walked around Whitehall in central London, shouting the good news about the UN's Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

The Trident Ploughshares activists also held an oration and die-in on the steps of the British Museum to protest at the holding of an MoD-sponsored exhibition to mark the 50th anniversary of the introduction of the UK’s nuclear-armed submarines.

When the group held the same demonstration in the…

1 October 2019 Lotte Reimer

Community-owned scheme aims to install 5,000kW of rooftop panels over 250 sites

Not-for-profit, community-owned enterprise Egni Co-op has embarked on a major scheme in Wales to install over 5,000kW of rooftop solar panels on over 250 sites, including golf, football and rugby clubs, businesses, community centres, universities, a brewery, leisure centres and schools.

Launching the community share offer in June, director Rosie Gillam said: ‘This is an opportunity for Wales to take the lead in tackling climate change, and we want as many people as possible to get…

1 October 2019 David Polden

Hundreds block arms fair for nine hours on'No Faith in War Day'

Lola Olufemi, one of many speakers of colour at the Conference at the Gates, gives a talk on ‘Dismantling the Institution’ on 5 September. Photo: CAAT

About 50 protesters were arrested for obstruction of the highway outside the ExCeL centre in East London on 'No Faith in War Day’, 3 September. They were among hundreds who had blockaded – for nine hours – an access road being used to ferry in exhibits for the DSEI (Defence & Security Equipment International) arms fair.

The…

1 October 2019 Christopher Draper

Gwynedd Council has £100m invested in arms, Freedom of Information Act request reveals

Gwynedd council in North Wales invests over £100 million in war, I discovered through a Freedom of Information request (FoIR). Gwynedd holds shares in Chemring, producer of gas canisters used against protesters in both Hong Kong and Tahrir Square; Lockheed Martin, whose bombs killed 40 children in a bus in Yemen; Safran who make navigation and rocket systems for nuclear missiles; and 83 other ‘defence’ companies.

Through its local government pension scheme (LGPS), Gwynedd also…

1 August 2019 David Polden

French arms dealers responsible for civilian deaths in Yemen

On 22 June, anti-arms trade die-ins and other nonviolent actions at Le Bourget airport resulted in 50 arrests. The activists were held for about four hours, then released after their identities had been checked and recorded (as were those of other demonstrators taking part in the actions).

The Paris Air Show serves as a showcase for arms dealers from around the world.

French arms dealers exhibiting at the show are responsible for many Yemeni civilian deaths: Nexter (…

1 August 2019 PN staff

Woman held on remand for anti-nuke protest

Brian Quail and Willemien Hoggendoorn, Faslane, 7 July. Photo: Trident Ploughshares

A Faslane peace camper was in prison as PN went to press, following a day of action at the Faslane nuclear submarine base in Scotland.

Faslane, 20 miles west of Glasgow, is the home of the UK's Trident nuclear missile submarine fleet.

On 7 July, a total of five peace activists were arrested after 'reclaiming' the base on the second anniversary of the UN adopting the Treaty on…

1 August 2019 PN staff

Hundreds cut off coal supply to Germany’s largest coal-fired power station

More than 6,000 activists from the Ende Gelände anti-coal alliance blocked parts of a giant opencast coalmine in the Rhineland, Germany, over 21–23 June. Hundreds cut off Germany’s largest coal-fired power station from its coal supply by occupying train tracks for over 24 hours. Thousands also entered the Garzweiler mine and stopped huge coal excavators. Police detained some activists for more than 13 hours, denying them food and water for hours. Photo: Jens Volle (CC BY 2.0)

1 August 2019 David Polden

Campaign to get US nukes repatriated continues

On 28 June, more than 40 people from the Stop Ramstein Campaign blockaded all three gates to USAF Büchel in western Germany, where the US air force stores an estimated 20 US nuclear bombs, defying a parliamentary ban. (USAF Ramstein, also in western Germany, is implicated in US drone warfare.)

The campaigners totally blocked the base for about two hours, preventing personnel from leaving.

Police carried the blockaders off the road and conducted ID checks before…

1 August 2019 Lotte Reimer

UK condemned as international outlier on child recruitment

In June, members of Denbighshire council’s committee on religious education discussed a Denbighshire Quaker charter calling for a stop to armed forces recruitment in schools.

Chair Dominic Oakes said: ‘If a child wants to go to a cadet event and enjoys it, then our responsibility through their schooling is that they at least come across ideas of the problems with the fact that we have cadets and arms and wars.’

It was agreed to present something to the council in the…

1 August 2019 PN

'International rebellion' to take place in October

On 12 July, 29 campaigners from climate action group Extinction Rebellion (XR) had their first court hearings at City of London magistrates' court. They were facing public order charges arising from XR's 11 days of mass action in London in April.

Two courtrooms have been reserved at Westminster magistrates' court in Marylebone Road to process 50 activists every Friday for 19 weeks.

1,130 arrests were made in April; only 79 people were charged at the time, XR reports.…

1 August 2019 London CAAT

Walk throws spotlight on London arms dealers

Blue plaque at BAE Systems office, London.Photo: London Caat

With DSEI looming large on the horizon, London Campaign Against Arms Trade took an interested group of people around some of the weapons producers that are likely to exhibit at the East London arms fair in September.

On 6 July, visits were paid to the London offices of BAE Systems, Boeing, G4S, Lockheed Martin and Rolls Royce, as well as Buckingham Palace (due to the support the royals have provided in securing arms deals…

1 August 2019 Chris Bluemel

International fast marks anniversaries of nuclear attacks

Between 6–9 August, Trident Ploughshares is organising a series of anti-nuclear weapons actions in London. They will run in parallel with the international fast in commemoration of the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945.

With tensions mounting between key nuclear weapon states, we are aiming to highlight the links in the nuclear chain today, as well as drawing attention to the enormous public and social cost of Britain’s Trident nuclear weapon system.

1 August 2019 Kelvin Mason and Carol Jenkins

Radical choirs make waves in Aberystwyth

Over the weekend of the 7–9 June, the streets of Aberystwyth reverberated with the sound of singing in at least three languages – Welsh, Norwegian and English – as Aberystwyth’s Côr Gobaith hosted Norwegian socialist choir SJOKK, Pales Peace Choir from Powys, and Cardiff’s renowned Côr Cochion. SJOKK (‘shock’) was founded in 1981 to ‘spread socialist and humanistic ideas and values through singing and music’.

The event was a result of a chance meeting at the 2018 Street Choirs…

1 August 2019 Barbara Lindsay

Barbara Lindsay

AWCI members proudly dish out their delicious food. Photo: Kareem Abdelraheem

When the Morlan Centre of Faith and Culture in Aberystwyth asked the Arabic Women’s Communty Initiative (AWCI) to host an event, we felt ‘The Great Get Together’ would be perfect for the AWCI to invite the wider public to an Arabic-flavoured evening. The Great Get Together brings communities together once a year in events inspired by Labour MP Jo Cox, who was murdered on 16 June 2016.

The AWCI first…

1 June 2019 Milan Rai

Little progress will be made on disarmament until we dismantle a basic myth about Britain's nuclear weapons, argues Milan Rai


On 3 May, George Robertson, former Labour defence secretary and former secretary-general of NATO, was interviewed about Britain’s nuclear weapons on Radio 4’s Today programme (part of the time he was debating with CND’s Kate Hudson, who has an article on p9).

Robertson said: ‘They’re not there to be used. They’re there in the absolute last resort.’

Interviewer John Humphrys pointed out that ‘we’ve only got to use them once and – that’s it’.

1 June 2019 PN

Assange faces 175 years in prison as Manning reimprisoned

Julian Assange, London, 2014. Photo: david G Silvers [CC BY-SA 2.0]

Julian Assange is facing 175 years in prison for his investigative journalism if he is extradited to the US and convicted of the 18 charges filed against him by the US government.

Meanwhile, US whistleblower Chelsea Manning was jailed on 16 May for refusing (for a second time) to give evidence against the WikiLeaks founder.

Assange is being charged under the US Espionage Act 1917, mainly for obtaining…

1 June 2019 PN staff

Italian dock workers and French human rights groups take anti-war action

Saudi arms ship Bahri Yanbu was deterred from loading weapons in France and Italy in May, after taking on six containers of Belgian arms in Antwerp on 3 May. (The ship also stopped in London’s Tilbury Docks on 7 May, but it is not known what was loaded.)

Yemen is the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, with 12 million people on the verge of starvation. Britain sold almost a fifth of Saudi Arabia’s weapons imports between 2013–2018, while France sold four percent of…

1 June 2019 Kate Hudson

International peace movements must defend treaties restrain production, deployment and potential use of nuclear weapons

Soviet general secretary Mikhail Gorbachev and US president Ronald Reagan signing the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty in the East Room of the White House, Washington DC, US, on 8 December 1987.Photo: Ronald Reagan Presidential Library

It’s 10 years now since US president Barack Obama made his famous Prague speech, committing to a nuclear weapons-free world. I remember hearing his words broadcast, amid the tumultuous cheers of the crowd in Hradčany Square, as if it were yesterday…

1 June 2019 PN staff

'Farcical' prosecution of ant-nuke campaigners


Eight Trident Ploughshares campaigners were on trial at Reading magistrates court on 23 April for blocking access to Burghfield Atomic Weapons Establishment in Berkshire on 24 October 2018. Welsh activists Awel Irene (second from left), Jan Jones (second from right, front) and Brian Jones (second from right, back) labelled the prosecution ‘farcical’ after charges of ‘aggravated trespass’ were added to the original ‘obstruction of the public highway’ charges. This charged four of the…

1 June 2019 Chris Bluemel

No PN camp in 2019, but a winter gathering in 2020 ...

Sadly, there will be no actual Peace News Summer Camp in 2019. (But there may be a Peace News Summer Camp ‘neighbourhood’ within the Reclaim the Power camp in South East England, 26–31 July.)

This year, the organising team did not feel that we had the capacity to attract enough participants and to secure the funding the camp needed – in addition to creating a programme exciting and original enough to do both of these things.

Also, a number of other…

1 June 2019 Brian Jones

Move to ban dumping contaminated sediment in sea off Cardiff Bay narrowly defeated

73 councils in Wales have now officially stated that they will not host an underground nuclear waste dump.

The Welsh consultation on a ‘geological disposal facility’ closed in April 2018. In their submission, CND Cymru argued that the Welsh government should follow the Scottish government and adopt an ‘on site, near ground level’ storage policy for nuclear waste.

The group cited the large number of councils which have rejected underground storage as indicative of the…

1 June 2019 Milan Rai

More than 1.4m young people took part in a school strike for the climate on 24 May  

Dozens of young people joined the climate school strike in Kiev, Ukraine on 24 May, in one of 1,664 cities taking part across the world.Photo: Andrii Kuzmenko / 350.org

The global climate school strike on 24 May was reportedly the biggest yet, even bigger than the 1.4m-strong actions on 15 March. (PN 2628–2629) Young people in 1,664 cities across 125 countries registered strike actions with the co-ordinating group set up by Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg.

The group…

1 June 2019 Wendy Lewis

300 in hunger strike over Turkish state’s treatment of Kurdish leader

Support for Imam Şiş, the Kurdish activist living in Newport, has grown as his hunger strike in solidarity with jailed Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan reaches the limits of human endurance.

Alongside 300 of his compatriots, Imam is on an indefinite hunger strike to protest the Turkish state’s treatment of Öcalan, who has been held mostly in solitary confinement by the Turkish government since 1999 and denied access to lawyers and family.

Imam began his hunger strike on…

1 June 2019 PN staff

Memorial to Haringey conscientious objectors unveiled



On 15 May, Haringey First World War Peace Forum unveiled a hand-carved plaque to remember the North London borough’s 350 First World War conscientious objectors. The plaque was installed where outdoor anti-war meetings were held during the war, outside the Salisbury pub (back then, the Salisbury hotel) on Green Lanes. Actor Jim Broadbent, historian Cyril Pearce and local councillors Mark Blake and Emine Ibrahim joined 150 people for the ceremony. The plaque was funded by a…

1 June 2019 Lotte Reimer

Actions take place across Wales

Extinction Rebellion has highlighted the existential threat to humanity posed by climate change in Wales and around the world, and young people have inspired everyone to raise their voices.

Local actions recently took place right across Wales, from schoolchildren striking in response to Swedish schoolgirl Greta Thunberg’s weekly strike, to colourful marches and demonstrations.

On 23 April, a mass cycle ride brought traffic to a standstill in Cardiff city centre (as it…

1 June 2019 PN staff

War refusers receive messages of support

Events were held in locations all around the world to mark International Conscientious Objectors’ Day on 15 May, including Edinburgh’s Princes Street, Leicester’s Peace Walk, Liverpool’s News from Nowhere bookshop, London’s Tavistock Square, Manchester’s Friends Meeting House, and Sheffield’s Peace Gardens.

In South Korea, hundreds of COs received messages of support, there was a cycle ride for peace in Seoul and, on Jeju Island, and Jeju Green Party and Jeju Queer Culture…

1 June 2019 David Polden

74 charged and counting

An arrest on the first day of XR’s International Rebellion, 15 April, on Waterloo Bridge, London. Photo: Vladimir Morozov / Extinction rebellion

Despite there being over 1,000 arrests during 11 days of Extinction Rebellion (XR) climate actions which shut down much of central London in April, only 74 people seem to have been charged. The police are now threatening all the arrested with prosecutions....

On 23 April, Elliott Cuciurean (20) became the first person to be convicted…

1 June 2019 David Polden

David Polden surveys three recent UK peace movement actions

Here are three notable peace movement street actions that took place recently.

On 18 May, the Gareloch Hortis Women’s Peace Group took to the streets of Newcastle to make the links between their anti-nuclear campaigning and other concerns held by members of the group.

Their colourful banners attracted curious passers-by who wanted to discuss climate justice, an end to austerity and poverty, and ATOS assessments and their effect on people with disabilities. The banners…

1 April 2019 Milan Rai

State killings in Northern Ireland: what you won’t read in recent Guardian coverage

Mural by the Bogside Artists, William Kelly, Tom Kelly and Kevin Hasson, painted in 1997 on a wall in Rossville Street, Bogside, Derry. It shows a group of men, led by a local Catholic priest Edward Daly, carrying the body of Jack (‘Jackie’) Duddy (17) after he had been shot dead by British soldiers during a civil rights demonstration on Bloody Sunday, 30 January 1972. Photo: diego_cue via Wikimedia Commons [CC BY SA 3.0]

Karen Bradley, the British government minister in charge of…

1 April 2019 PN staff

Action challenges EU countries to expel US nukes

MEPs block runway, USAF Kleine Brogel, 20 February. Photo: Agir Pour La Paix

On 20 February, seven peace activists climbed over the fence of the US military base of Kleine Brogel in the north-east of Belgium. Four were activists from Belgium’s Agir Pour La Paix (Act for Peace). Three were Green MEPs (Michèle Rivasi from France, Molly Scott Cato from the UK, and Tilly Metz from Luxembourg).

The seven symbolically blocked the F-16 runway to demand the withdrawal of around 20 US…

1 April 2019 Brian Jones

Consultation meeting cancelled because of planned protests

1 April 2019 PN staff

Campaigners gatecrash airline industry dinner

Park Plaza Hotel, London, 30 January. Photo: Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants

On 30 January, 14 members of queer activist group, Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants (LGSMigrants) handed out 200 sick bags to executives at an airline industry dinner in a central London hotel.

Four campaigners took to the stage, made a speech, and unfurled a banner saying: ‘BA: deportation contracts make us sick’ (see above). The Airlines UK 2019 gala dinner was attended by the head of…

1 April 2019 PN staff

300+ demand end to oil sponsorship

Photo: Diana More / BP or not BP?

On 16 February, more than 300 activists (using 200 metres of black cloth) took over the British Museum in London in a performance protest against the sponsorship of an exhibition by BP, the oil and gas company. Protestors drew attention to BP’s role in the 2003 Iraq war and its contribution to climate change, holding a banner: ‘The British Museum – proudly sponsored by climate change.’

1 April 2019 PN staff

Group claims 200 chapters worldwide as protests continue

The first trials for people arrested on Extinction Rebellion (XR) actions were discontinued at the beginning of March. Christian Climate Action members Ruth Jarman (55) and Margriet were due to appear at Hendon magistrates’ court on 1 and 4 March after having been arrested many times during XR protests in London last autumn. (PN 2624–2625)

XR has held dozens of events in the last two months, and spread internationally, claiming more than 200 XR chapters worldwide.

1 April 2019 PN staff

Actions across globe demand urgent action on climate change

10,000 young climate strikers took to the streets on 15 March in Brisbane, Australia. Photo: School Strike 4 Climate Australia

In a historic global day of action, on Friday 15 March, 1.4m young people in 125 countries took part in a co-ordinated school strike for the climate. Leader of the strike movement Greta Thunberg, 16, told the World Economic Forum in January:
‘I don’t want your hope. I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel…

1 April 2019 Jill Evans

Aberystwyth holds packed meeting US campaigner

US campaigner Linda Pentz Gunter (white scarf) and Welsh peace activists in Aberystwyth, 16 February. Photo: Robat Idris

‘Truth versus Power’ was the theme of a public meeting in Aberystwyth organised by CND Cymru on 16 February.

A packed room was inspired by Linda Pentz Gunter talking about the work of Beyond Nuclear, a US peace group she founded, particularly on a Green New Deal.

She explained how not even the smallest of nuclear reactors is safe or efficient and…

1 April 2019 David Polden

Sentencing prompts counter-trial and direct action

On 6 February, the 15 anti-deportation activists known as the ‘Stansted 15’ were sentenced for nonviolently stopping a deportation flight carrying 60 people to West Africa in March 2017. They had already launched an appeal against their convictions on 7 January, but this has yet to be heard. Their sentencing sparked a counter-trial and direct action in London.

Melanie Strickland (35), Ali Tamlit (30) and Eddie Thacker (29) were given nine-month prison sentences, suspended for 18…

1 April 2019 David Polden

Campaigners block JCB headquarters

JCB warehouse blockaded on 7 March. Photo: Sarah Wilkinson/Twitter

On 7 March, four Palestine solidarity activists were arrested at JCB’s world logistics headquarters in Stoke-on-Trent while lying on the road outside the depot. They had locked-on at 6.30am, joining their arms together in reinforced concrete arm-tubes. (They protected themselves from the rain with waterproof covers.)

The blockade lasted several hours while the company was unable to get deliveries in and out of…

1 April 2019 Jane Harries

Seven more schools to join network

Imagine a network of schools across Wales actively embedding a peaceful ethos and applying peace-related learning activities to their everyday lives.

This is what the Wales Peace Schools Scheme is aiming to achieve. The project is a legacy of the Heritage Lottery-funded ‘Wales for Peace’ project which ran during the period of the centenary of the First World War.

The Peace Schools scheme has now been integrated into the global learning programme of the Welsh Centre for…

1 April 2019 PN staff

High Court orders halt to 'no warning' deportations

On 14 March, charity Medical Justice persuaded the high court to order a halt to ‘no warning’ deportations.

The home office has a policy of giving targets just three days’ notice that they will be deported – and that the removal could happen at any time after that. This denies people the chance to prepare evidence or appeals.

The Medical Justice victory followed courtroom success for the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) on 1 March.

The high…

1 April 2019 PN staff

Six million women join Spanish protests

Two major flashpoints on International Women’s Day (IWD) on 8 March came in Turkey and in Spain.

In contrast to previous years, the Turkish government announced beforehand that no IWD demonstration would be allowed on Istanbul’s central shopping street, Istiklal Avenue.

Thousands of women gathered in Taksim Square anyway and faced riot police firing tear gas and using dogs to break up the protest.

In Spain, the two largest unions, the CCOO and the UGT,…

1 February 2019 PN

Arms trade protested in London and Brussels

Monique D’hooghe demonstrates in Brussels on 29 November. Photo: Vredesactie

On 23 January, there was a noisy ‘Stop arming Saudi’ protest outside an arms dealers’ dinner at the Grosvenor House hotel in central London.

There was a sit-down blockade of the hotel, as guests filed into the aerospace, defence & security group’s annual dinner. The guest of honour was former home secretary, Labour MP Alan Johnson.

Andrew Smith of Campaign Against Arms Trade said: ‘Many of…

1 February 2019 Mair Jones

Whistleblower and passionate campaigner for peace dies aged 56

 

Genny Bove was born in London. Her father was of Italian heritage, her mother from Hull. She was 16 when she met Alan, forming a relationship that was to be an enduring one of 40 years. They moved to Wrexham where their daughter Libby was born in 1991. Libby shared with me her memories of being home-educated by Genny and of a fabulous travelling trip through Europe.

It is apt to let Jill Gough of CND Cymru sum up Genny’s enormous contribution to peace and justice:

‘…

1 February 2019 David Polden

Anti-arms trade campaigners found guilty on appeal

On 22 January, the high court ruled that four Christian peace activists who took action against the DSEI arms fair in September 2017 were actually guilty of highway obstruction at the ExCeL centre in East London.

Chris Cole, Henrietta Cullinan, Jo Frew and Nora Ziegler were all arrested (while locked-on to each other in pairs) on the ‘No Faith in War’ day of action during the run-up to the arms fair. On 7 February 2018, they were found ‘not guilty’ at Stratford magistrates’ court…

1 February 2019 Lotte Reimer

PAWB (People Against Wylfa B) have welcomed the news that the Japanese conglomerate Hitachi have suspended their project to build a nuclear power station at Wylfa, on the north coast of Anglesey.

PAWB say in a press release: ‘it will be a relief for all of us who worry about the future of our island, our country, our language, our environment and indeed renewable energy.’

Citing huge resources of renewable energy in Wales such as wind, tidal and solar, and great…

1 February 2019 PN

Anti-nuke campaigners in court this April

Photo: Awel Irene.

Four Welsh Trident Ploughshares members who took part in a blockade of the Atomic Weapons Establishment at Burghfield appeared in court on 22 November (above). The three entrances to the Burghfield nuclear warhead factory were closed down at 6.30am on 24 October, preventing workers from entering. The four are part of a group of eight who will appear before Reading magistrates’ court on 23–24 April charged with ‘willfully obstructing the highway’.

1 February 2019 Jane Tallents

Convictions for activism-related offences could lead to some European activists being forced to leave the UK

Let’s be aware that our international friends might need our support in all sorts of ways during Brexit chaos.

Being convicted for peace actions may stop activists from the remaining 27 EU countries from continuing to live in the UK.

If they want to have ‘settled’ status and remain in the UK after Brexit, EU27 citizens will have to answer three ‘simple’ questions online, according to the home office.

People will be asked to: show who they are; prove that they…

1 February 2019 PN

Doomsday clock still 'closest it has ever been to apocalypse'

The world remains as dangerous as it’s ever been. On 24 January, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Science and Security Board revealed that its famous Doomsday Clock remained set at two minutes to midnight, ‘the closest it has ever been to apocalypse’.

The clock setting was designed to highlight ‘an unacceptable reality that remains largely unrecognized by the public at large: The future of the world is now in extreme danger from multiple intersecting and potentially…

1 February 2019 PN

New date for Germany's 'coal exit' good news for ancient forest but still 'disastrous' for climate

Barricade in Hambach Forest 23 September 2018 Photo: Leuni (CC BY-SA 4.0) from Wikimedia Commons

There is mixed news on one of Europe’s climate front lines, as activists have forced a German government commission to effectively rule out further coal-mining in the ancient Hambach forest near Cologne, while setting an inadequate (‘disastrous’) date for ending the use of coal in Germany.

Coal currently accounts for 40 percent of energy in Germany. In Britain, it’s around 10…

1 February 2019 David Polden

Anti-deportation campaigners face years in prison

Almost all of the Stansted 15 activists shortly before going into Chelmsford court on 1 October 2018. Photo: SAM WALTON
 

The Stansted 15, who nonviolently stopped a deportation flight from taking off in March 2017, were found guilty on 10 December of breaching an anti-terror law. After nine weeks of trial (see PN 2624–2625), the jury found all 15 defendants guilty of intentional disruption of services and endangerment at an aerodrome under the 1990 Aviation and…

1 December 2018 PN staff

Climate group blocks London bridges

Banner on Southwark bridge during Extinction Rebellion occupation, 17 November. Photo: Francesca Harris

New climate direct action group Extinction Rebellion (XR) held three large civil disobedience protests in central London in October and November, as well as a number of smaller actions.

The group has received wide backing for its militant stand against runaway climate change. 100 academics wrote a letter of support on 26 October, including former archbishop of Canterbury,…

1 December 2018 David Polden

Trial of Stansted 15 anti-deportation activists goes on

As PN went to press, the trial was continuing at Chelmsford crown court of the Stansted 15, activists who face years in prison for using lock-ons to ground a charter flight for 10 hours. The 15 prevented the deportation of 60 undocumented immigrants to West Africa on 28 March 2017.

The defence argue that their action was to prevent the human rights abuses that deportation charter flights involve.

The first defendant to give evidence, Benjamin Smoke, described his…

1 December 2018 Milan Rai

Britain finally calls for ceasefire (but British arms sales continue)

After fleeing Hodeidah, Ameen Hamanah and his family now live in Aden, renting a house with financial support from UNHCR. Photo: UNOCHA/Matteo Minasi

Extremely late in the day, in mid-November, Britain finally put forward a draft UN resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in and around the Yemeni port city of Hodeidah, and setting out a possible peace process. This was over two weeks after the US started calling for a ceasefire in Yemen.

As Labour shadow foreign…

1 December 2018 Lotte Reimer

'Historic victory' for anti-coal campaign

Local residents and campaigners were jubilant on 20 September when the Planning Inspectorate upheld Caerphilly county borough council’s 2015 ruling and rejected developer Miller Argent’s appeal for an opencast coal mine at Nant Llesg.

The United Valleys Action Group (UVAG), local activists and residents worked with Friends of the Earth (FOE) to oppose the opencast mine. Haf Elgar, director of FOE Cymru, said it was a ‘historic victory’ for people power.

UVAG’s Alyson…

1 December 2018 David Polden

Group heralds blockade as 'largest action of civil disobedience for climate justice that Germany has ever seen'

Ende Gelände blocks the Hambach Forest coal train near Cologne, Germany, 28 October. Photo: Christian Willner CC BY-SA 2.0

Climate activist group Ende Gelände described its occupation in late October as the ‘largest action of civil disobedience for climate justice that Germany has ever seen’.

On 27 October, 6,500 people took part in the action at Tagebau Hambach, a large opencast coalmine near Cologne, Germany, where highly-polluting brown coal (lignite) is extracted by German…

1 December 2018 PN staff

Appeal court suspends ‘manifestly excessive’

On 17 October, three anti-fracking protesters were released after spending three weeks in Preston prison. Roscoe Blevins, 26, and Richard Roberts, 36, had been sentenced to 16 months in prison; Richard Loizou, 31, had been given 15 months inside.

The court of appeal replaced the prison sentences with two-year conditional discharges (no punishment unless you commit another offence within two years, in which case you will be sentenced for both crimes).

Lord chief justice…

1 December 2018 Valerie Flessati

UK peace groups mark 100th anniversary of First World War armistice

Tavistock Square, London, 11 November. Photo: Fay Salichou, conscience

‘We are proud to have broken the power of the military authority…. It matters not whether we were in the Non-Combatant Corps refusing to bear arms, whether we took alternative service, whether we were in workcamps as part of the Home Office Scheme, or whether we were absolutist and remained in prison – all of us shattered the infallibility of militarism.’

100 years after a sick and emaciated Clifford Allen…

1 December 2018 David Polden

Nine charged after anti-nuke action

Julia Mercer locked-on, AWE Burghfield, 24 October. Photo: Trident Ploughshares

There was a five-hour blockade of the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) Burghfield, in Berkshire, where British nuclear warheads are assembled, by activists from Trident Ploughshares. The blockade started at 6.30am on 24 October, the 73rd anniversary of the birth of the UN.

Blockader Jim Davies, a 70-year-old retired civil servant, said: ‘I’ve never been involved in an action like this before and…

1 December 2018 PN staff

Plaque put up in North London

PHOTO: Holtom family

On 6 October, a plaque was put up at 3 Blackstock Road, North London, to honour the designer of the peace symbol, Gerald Holtom. It was there, in the PN office, in February 1958, that Gerald first presented sketches for the symbol to PN editor Hugh Brock and other organisers of the Direct Action Committee. They accepted the design as the theme for the first Aldermaston march for nuclear disarmament.
 

1 December 2018 Phil Steele

Anti-nuke power campaign working with Japanese campaigners

The campaign against two new nuclear reactors at Wylfa on the Isle of Anglesey is gathering force on several fronts. In the immediate vicinity of the site, local people are beginning to appreciate the vast scale of the development (about the size of Holyhead, the biggest town on Anglesey), the extent of environmental damage involved, the social and cultural impact of the invasion. They’re also beginning to realise that few of the promised flood of jobs will actually be local.

1 December 2018 PN staff

Aberystwyth campaigner delivers anti-nuke petition to PM

PHOTO: Hereford Peace Council

On 24 October, Aberystwyth peace activist Mary Millington travelled to Shrewsbury with messages for Theresa May, Jeremy Hunt and other MPs, writes Lotte Reimer. The locally-collected letters and petitions demanded that Britain sign up to the UN’s Treaty on Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Having picked up more signatures at stations along the way, handed over by local activists, Mary (pictured with her placard at Shrewsbury railway station) got on the ‘…

1 December 2018 David Polden

Palestinian village to 'will be demolished very soon'

On 19 November, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the Palestinian village of Khan al-Ahmar, which has become an international cause célèbre, ‘will be demolished very soon’. The removal of the village would enable the Israeli government to cut the occupied West Bank in two, making a Palestinian state impossible.

The Israeli security cabinet had delayed the demolition by ‘several weeks’ on 21 October to provide time for negotiations for an agreed-upon evacuation of the…

1 October 2018 Milan Rai

Famine risk from British-backed attack on Yemeni port

This summer, Abdullah, 13, Abdulaziz, 12, and Maria, 5, fled from Saudi airstrikes on their neighbourhood in the Yemeni port city of Hodeidah. Their mother and father, who didn’t wish to publish their own names, are destitute and searching for work in Sana’a, 90 miles from the coast. Photo: Becky Bakr Abdulla/Norwegian Relief Council.

‘This war risks killing an entire generation of Yemen’s children’, said Carolyn Miles, the president of Save the Children, on 18 September. As she spoke,…

1 October 2018 PN

Campaigners demand free language lessons for migrants

Welsh language campaigners called for free Welsh language lessons for migrants during this year’s Eisteddfod. While English lessons are funded by the UK Government for refugees and asylum-seekers in Wales, there is no provision for Welsh lessons.

Swansea University’s Dr Gwennan Higham commented that the Welsh government and the Home Office both downplay the importance of any language other than ‘superior’ English to the lives of immigrants in Wales.

Toni Schiavone from…

1 October 2018 Mathilde Griffin

Activists blockade Europe's largest gas field

Climate activists march to the biggest gas field in Europe, in Groningen in the Netherlands, 28 August. Photo: Code Rood

From 18–24 August, Time to Cycle organised a bike ride from London to the Code Rood week-long climate action camp in Groningen in the Netherlands. Over 700 people from Code Rood held a 48-hour sit-down blockade of Europe’s largest gas field in Farmsum, near Groningen, starting on 28 August.

Our cycling trip, that was to become a beautiful shared experience…

1 October 2018 Paul Allen

New report showcases projects from across the globe

In the largest survey to date of the potential of rising renewable energy supplies, a new report from the Centre for Alternative Technology shows that clean energy can meet our electricity needs all year round at all times of the day.

Launched in the run up to the COP24 climate summit in Poland in December, the report, Raising Ambition: Zero Carbon Scenarios from Across the Globe, maps over 130 scenarios designed to meet the targets of the Paris climate accord at global, regional…

1 October 2018 Lotte Reimer

Cardiff event marks peace camp anniversary

Sue Lent commemorates Greenham at Alexandra Gardens, Cardiff. Photo: Wendy Lewis

Bank Holiday Monday, 27 August, was the 35th anniversary of the day a group of women set off from Cardiff to walk to Greenham Common to protest against the US cruise missile base there.

Women and their now-adult children who had been on the original march gathered with others in Cardiff at Alexandra Gardens to commemorate the march. There were speeches and Heather Jones and Côr Cochion sang songs…

1 October 2018 David Polden

Over 130 killed and 20,000 injured in ongoing protests

The Great March of Return demonstrations at the Gaza-Israel border fence have not only continued every Friday since March, they are escalating. Protests now happen on other days of the week as well, after ceasefire talks between the Hamas government in Gaza and the Israeli government broke down.

During these demos, Israeli forces have killed over 130 unarmed Palestinians, including 29 children and three medics. Around 20,000 Gazans have been injured, nearly 5,000 by live…

1 October 2018 David Polden

Anti-drones action caused £500,000 damage

On 5 August, Italian Ploughshares activist Turi Vaccaro was arrested near Niscemi in southern Sicily, and then imprisoned in the capital, Palermo. The barefoot campaigner will serve an 11-month, 27-day sentence in a maximum-security prison for nonviolent direct action against the MUOS military satellite communication system. MUOS is used to direct US drones, among other ‘mobile users’.

Italian special police attempted to arrested Turi at this summer’s annual ‘No MUOS’ protest camp…

1 October 2018 PN

Voter registration drives happening in over 40 states in run up to November mid-terms

Following a massive wave of civil disobedience in May–June which led to 2,500 arrests (see PN 2620–2621), the new Poor People’s Campaign in the US has committed to a voter registration campaign in over 40 states.

Without endorsing particular candidates, the aim is to make poor people a significant force in the mid-term elections on 6 November. That’s when all members of the house of representatives, a third of senators, most governors and many local officials across the US will be…

1 October 2018 Rachel Mann

Aberystwyth anti-torture fundraiser packed

Aberystwyth tells HSBC to Stop Arming Israel, 15 September. Photo: Janice de Haaff

The Friendship Inn in Borth, near Aberystwyth, was packed to the rafters on 8 September as people gathered for the potentially solemn purpose of raising funds in support of ‘Freedom from Torture’. This organisation dreams of a world free from torture but, until such time, it supports survivors of torture in rebuilding their lives and it works to bring perpetrators to account.

The vision for the…

1 October 2018 David Polden

Anti-nuke actions span seven countries

Hiroshima lanterns in Alexandra Park, Hastings, on 6 August. Photo: PN

In early August, the annual fast in remembrance of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings was held in seven countries.

In London, four people fasted behind the ministry of defence in Whitehall. They also held a demo outside Downing Street urging the UK to sign the UN global ban on nuclear weapons.

Long-time Scottish peace activists Janet Fenton and Brian Quail fasted in Edinburgh and Glasgow. In…

1 October 2018 David MacKenzie

Blockade celebrates global campaign against nuclear weapons

More than 600 demonstrators took part in the ‘Nae Nukes, Anywhere’ demo at the Faslane Trident submarine base, 22 September. Photo: ivon bartholomew

For a few hours on 22 September, the gate to Faslane, the Clyde estuary home of the UK’s Trident submarines, became a ‘hostile environment’ for nuclear weapons.

In putting together the ‘Nae Nukes, Anywhere’ event, Scottish CND planned something more than a demo or a protest. The vision was for a celebration of transnational…

1 August 2018 Phil Steele

Welsh campaigners travel to Japan to meet Fukushima evacuee

In May–June, a delegation from Welsh anti-nuclear group PAWB (People Against Wylfa B) visited Japan (under pro-nuclear PM Shinzo Abe) at the invitation of Friends of the Earth Japan. PAWB has been fighting a 30-year battle against the building of new nuclear reactors on the beautiful coast of Anglesey, North Wales.

After the Fukushima disaster, German owners pulled out of Horizon Nuclear (formed to build nuclear power in the UK) in 2012, and sold it on to Hitachi – so PAWB decided…

1 August 2018 PN staff

London and Glasgow conferences mark 50 years since the formation of Britain's undercover political police squad

Dave Morris, one of the organisers of the ‘1968-2018: A Celebration of 50 years of Resistance, despite 50 years of police opposition, spying and repression’ conference at Conway Hall.photo: PN

The issue of undercover policing gained more attention in June because of a brave stand by Lush, the vegetarian/vegan cosmetics company. Then the Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance (COPS) and COPS Scotland held conferences in London and Glasgow on 7 July and 23 June, marking 50…

1 August 2018 David Polden

20,000 Palestinian women march for end to illegal siege

On 7 July, the Palestine Chronicle reported that the Palestinian ‘Great March of Return’ had taken place near the Gaza-Israel border for the 15th consecutive Friday. A Palestinian man was shot dead by an Israeli soldier, bringing the overall Great March death toll to 135.

Nearly 400 Palestinians were injured on 7 July, according to the Palestinian ministry of health. Overall, some 5,000 Palestinians have been injured by Israeli live fire and tear gas during the largely…

1 August 2018 PN staff

How you can get involved

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https://peacenews.info/node/9413/ten-ways-join-climate-strikeEurope’s largest single-issue peace group, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) is joining Ethical Consumer magazine, Five Leaves Bookshop in Nottingham, 10:10 Climate Action and Freedom Bookshop in London, Peace News and many others in the Global Climate Strike.

Here…

1 August 2018 Neil Taylor and Leslie Barson

Draconian new guidelines could affect all parents

Hastings Home Education, Development, Growth and Empowerment (HEDGE) day trip. Photo: Milan Rai

In 2009, home educators won a great battle for democracy, for privacy and for the open practice of learning. Through internet organising, lobbying and a bit of luck, we got two clauses removed from the Education Bill. These clauses would have turned home education (HE) into a narrow school model monitored and regulated by local authorities.

Since then, many local authorities have…

1 August 2018 Andrew Smith

British government acted 'irrationally and unlawfully' in allowing arms exports for use in Yemen

CAAT supporters celebrate, Court of Appeal, London, 20 June. Photo: Darren Johnson

The public and press benches were absolutely full on the morning of 20 June, when the court of appeal in London ruled that the British government had acted ‘irrationally and unlawfully’ in allowing UK arms exports to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen.

The ruling means that the government must not allow future sales to the Saudi-led forces that are at war in Yemen, and that it must review existing…

1 August 2018 PN staff

New Poor People’s Campaign says: ‘Another America is possible’

Led by Ana Ilarraza Blackburn (right), Poor People’s Campaign protesters

Over 2,500 arrests were made this summer during a massive wave of nonviolent civil disobedience across the United States in a new ‘Poor People’s Campaign’, 50 years after the original campaign led by civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

The original Poor People’s Campaign ended with 3,000 activists camping for six weeks in May–June 1968 on the National Mall in the centre of Washington DC.

In…

1 August 2018 Kim Bryan

Adults join the global climate strike on 20 September

Climate strike Manila, Philippines, 24 May. Photo: Leo sabangan II /350.org cc by-nc-sa2.0

Candidates will step off the campaign trail; sports stars off the pitch; celebrities will scrub off makeup and teachers will lay down chalk; cooks will close restaurants and bring meals to protests; pensioners too will break daily routines and join together in an unprecedented historical moment.

As we deal with devastating climate impacts and hurtle towards dangerous climate tipping…

1 August 2018 PN staff

Hundreds join mass action at Lancashire fracking site

Protesters blockade Preston New Road fracking site, 28 June. Photo: Reclaim the Power

At the end of June, hundreds of people joined a mass action camp blockading energy company Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road (PNR) fracking site in Lancashire, three years after Lancashire county council rejected the company’s application to drill for shale gas.

Anti-fracking network Reclaim the Power organised ‘Block Around the Clock’ as a 48-hour non-stop non-arrestable festival of resistance…

1 August 2018 Lotte Reimer

Welsh anti-nuke campaigners bring direct action to Westminster

Ben Lake, MP for Ceredigion supports locked-on protesters in Westminster. Photo: Zoe Broughton

On 20 June, peace campaigners from Wales locked on to the railings outside the Westminster parliament in London together with about 50 Scottish and English activists as part of a Trident Ploughshares action.

Supported by nearly 50 more activists, they highlighted the UK’s refusal to engage with the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons adopted by the UN in 2017. Several MPs,…

1 August 2018 David Polden

Glasgow arms fair was directly linked to Trident nuke system, online news service reveals

Earlier this summer, Glasgow city council announced that it would not host any more arms fairs and three anti-arms trade protesters in Cardiff were acquitted of trespass outside an arms fair.

In Glasgow, there were protests against the Undersea Defence Technology (UDT) exhibition in Glasgow, sponsored by arms manufacturers BAE Systems and Babcock. Despite the criticism, the Scottish National Party-controlled council defended the UDT arms fair in mid-May, only withdrawing its ‘…

1 August 2018 Becky Knight

Processions in Belfast, Edinburgh, Cardiff and London commemorate 100th anniversary of suffrage victory

Everywoman goes to Cardiff. Photo: Lynne Dickens

On 10 June, there were processions of women and girls in Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh and London to commemorate the centenary of the Representation of the People Act that gave the first British women the right to vote.

Carried on these processions were 100 centenary banners, made by 100 women artists who had been invited to create them by working with communities across the UK.

As a textile artist, I make my own work for…

1 August 2018 Bruce Gagnon

Bruce Gagnon reports on the 26th annual conference of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space

Group photo, Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space conference, 23 June, Friends Meeting House in Oxford. Bruce Gagnon in the centre with purple checked shirt. photo: PN

The 26th annual conference of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space (GN) was held from 22–24 June at the Friends Meeting House in Oxford.

Will Griffin, Mary Beth Sullivan and I went a week early to Leeds and GN board convener Dave Webb organised talks…

1 June 2018 Adam Johannes

Six arrested at Cardiff arms fair

Adam Johannes arrested at the Motorpoint Arena Cardiff Arms Fair. Photo: Ann Bateman

On 27 March, I was arrested, handcuffed and placed in a police cell for over 12 hours. My crime? Nonviolently protesting at an event glorifying violence: the Cardiff Arms Fair (officially ‘Defence Procurement, Research, Technology and Exportability 2018’).

The Welsh government has built links between Wales and arms industries – selling it as job creation. The arms fair, in the Motorpoint Arena…

1 June 2018 Milan Rai

One person barred and a second ejected from Liverpool event

Brian Bamford outside the Liverpool Anarchist Bookfair, 7 April. Photo: PN

On 7 April, the organisers of the Liverpool Anarchist Bookfair excluded two people from the gathering, which was taking place in the huge Black-E community arts centre near the city centre.

Brian Bamford, a member of the Northern Anarchist Network, was told in advance that he would not be allowed in, and was stopped at the door. Another man (whose name is not known) was taken from a workshop by…

1 June 2018 PN staff

Swedish ships begin two-month journey

On 15 May, boats of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla set out from Gothenburg, Sweden on a two-month journey to the besieged Palestinian territory. Three Swedish ships, the Mairead, the Falestine/Palestine and Freedom to Gaza, were joined by a converted Norwegian fishing boat, Al Awda/The Return. The Mairead is named after Mairead Maguire, the Peace People activist from Belfast, northern Ireland, who was joint winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1976.…

1 June 2018 Lotte Reimer

Vigils held in support of 'The Great Return March'

Sawiya Friendship Association’s vigil for Gaza in Llanidloes. Photo: Elwyn Vaughan
 

Vigils were held across Wales after Palestinian authorities declared 31 March a national day of mourning. 17 Palestinians had been killed in Gaza as the Israeli Defence Forces cracked down on ‘The Great Return March’ starting on Land Day, 30 March.

On 31 March, Aberystwyth’s street choir Côr Gobaith fundraised for Medical Aid for Palestinians. In Llanidloes, about 20 protesters pinned…

1 June 2018 David Polden

House of Commons declared 'crime scene'

Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) occupied the central lobby of the Westminster parliament in London just before midday on 18 April. DPAC taped out a ‘crime scene’ with the outline of a ‘murder victim’ laid on the floor. They demanded the scrapping of Universal Credit, a working-age benefit. DPAC claim it produces ‘crimes against claimants’, including 160,000 children losing free school meals and the increased use of foodbanks in areas where it’s been introduced.

After the…

1 June 2018 PN staff

Hamas offers ceasefire as Israel shoots 3,000 unarmed Gazans

East of the town of Khuza’ah, southern Gaza Strip , 6 April, part of a photo essay by researchers for Israeli human rights group B’Tselem. Photo: Muhammad Sabah via B’Tselem

The death toll continued to rise as PN went to press. Israeli snipers killed over 100 unarmed Palestinians in six weeks of demonstrations at the fence separating Gaza from Israel.

During the ‘Great March of Return’, Israeli forces injured more than 5,000 protesters, over 3,000 of them with live…

1 June 2018 David Polden

Anti-nuke activists singled out for harsher treatment following arms fair blockade

On 11 April, four defendants from Faslane Peace Camp were tried for aggravated trespass allegedly committed during last September’s week of action against the DSEI arms fair in London.

Most of the 102 activists arrested during the week of action were charged with highway obstruction. The Faslane four were the only protesters to be charged with aggravated trespass, even though their blockading actions were identical to those of many of the others arrested.

The Faslane…

1 June 2018 PN staff

Thousands protest British missile attack

Photo: Garry Knight (CC-BY-SA 2.0) from Flickr

On 16 April, hundreds protested in Parliament Square, London, after 100 missiles were fired at targets inside Syria two days earlier by Britain, France and the US. The three governments claimed to have proof that the Syrian government was responsible for chemical weapons attacks the previous week in Douma, on the outskirts of Damascus. Inspectors from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons collected samples from Douma…

1 June 2018 Joanna Frew

Drones are becoming central to 21st century warfare, new report says

From an obscure technology originally used for target practice, drones have become almost central to the way in which armed forces fight wars and project power in the early 21st century.

The US and Israel played a leading role in the development and use of remote-controlled unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), commonly called drones. Both countries have manufactured and operated unarmed and armed systems since the early 2000s. While these two nations monopolised the field for more than a…

1 June 2018 Kelvin Mason

Wales protests British role in Syria air strikes

‘Not in Our Name!’ Ceredigion says bombing Syria is not the answer. Photo: Marian Delyth

People from across Ceredigion and beyond gathered in Aberystwyth on 16 April to protest against the UK government’s decision to bomb Syria. Organised by Stop the War Ceredigion and Aberystwyth Peace and Justice Network, the protest attracted more than 70 people.

It was part of a UK-wide series of protests organised by the Stop the War Coalition against the UK government, referring to the…

1 June 2018 Milan Rai

Trump's Korea summit is heading for disaster, argues Milan Rai

US national security advisor John Bolton, US secretary of state Mike Pompeo, US president Donald Trump and US vice-president Mike Pence (left to right) on 2 May 2018. Photo: US State Department

We can expect a lot of twists and turns over the next month, before the unexpected 12 June summit in Singapore between US president Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. There is a reasonable way forward that experts agree gives a solid chance for building towards some kind of…

1 April 2018 Lindsey Gilroy

Mid Wales Refugee Action takes action in support of Yarl's Wood detainees

With my husband and six members of Machynlleth’s Mid Wales Refugee Action, I was one of many who joined the 24-hour ‘Freedom fast’ on International Women’s Day called in support of women on hunger strike in Yarl’s Wood detention centre. There, asylum-seeking women and children are locked up indefinitely until the home office decides to deport them. Some have been held for years with no idea what awaits them.

In 2010, the then children’s commissioner for England, Albert Aynsley-…

1 April 2018 Benjamin Kaplan

Dublin and Berlin events to follow London launch

Peacebuilding ‘is about a longstanding partnership, not a series of one-off projects’, said Charlotte Morris, senior conflict adviser at the department for international development, on 21 March, at the launch of Building Peace Together, a new Quaker Council for European Affairs (QCEA) resource book.

‘At its most effective, peacebuilding is a combination of historical knowledge, local expertise, and international experience,’ Morris added.

The launch, at…

1 April 2018 PN and Inquiry Participant

Doreen Lawrence says chair turning hearing into 'inquiry cloaked in secrecy and anonymity'

People targeted by undercover police walk out of the Undercover Policing Inquiry at the high court in London on 21 March. Photo: Razbigor

Dramatic developments in the #spycops scandal unfolded on 21 March, when people targeted by undercover police, their lawyer and their supporters walked out of the Undercover Policing Inquiry (UCPI) being held at the high court in London.

Baroness Doreen Lawrence backed the walk-out, saying that the chair of the inquiry, sir John Mitting, was…

1 April 2018 David Polden

Israel’s military justice system characterised by prolonged pre-trial detention, abuse of kids and sham trials, says Amnesty

On 21 March, an Israeli military juvenile court in Ofer in the Occupied Territories sentenced Palestinian teenager Ahed Tamimi to eight months in prison (with a further eight months suspended) and fined her 5,000 shekels ($1,440). She had agreed to a deal where she pleaded guilty to four of the 12 charges she faced, according to her lawyer.

Ahed, then 16, had been filmed slapping and kicking armed Israeli soldiers at the entrance to her home in the village of Nabi Saleh in the…

1 April 2018 David Polden

Well capped after government calls for financial review of Third Energy

On 13 March, two anti-fracking campaigners were found guilty of highway obstruction at a site near Kirby Misperton village, North Yorkshire. Dr Julia Collings and Ronnie Hollarand were each given six months’ conditional discharge and ordered to pay costs of £220. In October 2017, the pair had occupyied a three-sided tower in the middle of the road, blocking access to the proposed fracking site, as part of a long-running campaign of nonviolent direct action.

This verdict followed a…

1 April 2018 Jeff Cloves

New play tells story of WW1 peace activist framed by police spies for non-existent murder plot

A Dangerous Woman is a compelling new play by Alex Gifford that has re-fashioned the well-known story of Alice Wheeldon (1866–1919) so that this piece of radical history speaks clearly to our times. Performed in Stroud by the outstanding Gloucester Theatre Company in February, the fluid and fluent production got off to a blinding start and held our attention to its moving solitary end, with Alice singing a capella to a white dove we imagine but never see.

The story is a…

1 April 2018 Colin Nosworthy

Farmer calls for devolution of broadcasting powers to Wales

Young farmer and Aberystwyth student Elfed Wyn Jones ended his seven-day hunger strike for the devolution of broadcasting powers to Wales outside the Senedd in Cardiff on 27 February.

He presented a letter to the Welsh government ahead of a debate on the matter.

Elfed commented: ‘I genuinely think that this is a crucial question. If people don’t get the right facts about who is making decisions in their name, if they don’t understand how they’re governed, our young…

1 April 2018 David Polden

Terrorism charges followed arrival of British undercover cop, documents reveal

On 18 March, French prosecutors finally admitted that they were relying on information supplied by British undercover police officer Mark Kennedy, in a case against the Tarnac group of French activists, in a trial due to close just after PN goes to press.

Kennedy, who used the name ‘Mark Stone’ while undercover, was sent to France to spy on the Tarnac group in June 2008 as an officer of the UK national public order intelligence unit (NPOIU), according to secret NPOIU documents…

1 April 2018 PN

LGBT+ rights defenders protest outside Westminster Abbey

80 LGBT+ rights defenders protested outside Westminster Abbey as the queen and the prime minister celebrated Commonwealth Day on 12 March, ahead of a Commonwealth summit in April. The Commonwealth Equality Network and 14 other groups demanded gay rights including the decriminalisation of same-sex relations in 37 of the 53 Commonwealth nations. Photo: Peter Tatchell Foundation

1 April 2018 Linda Murgatroyd

Display of peace poppies made by public planned to mark WW1 centenary

The ‘Collateral Damage’ project is inviting everyone to commemorate non-military victims of war by making unique textile white poppies. The military often refer to non-military deaths or destruction as ‘collateral damage’. These days, over 90 percent of people killed in war are civilians. Others suffer loss of family, home, community and even their country.

In November 2018, it will be 100 years since the end of the First World War. This centenary year is a golden opportunity to…

1 April 2018 Milan Rai

Break down in hasty Trump-Kim summit could 'take us closer to war' warns George W Bush's North adviser on North Korea

Should the US be talking to North Korea? Definitely. Is a hasty Trump-Kim summit a good idea? Almost certainly not. Still there are ways to make this process more modest, safer and more constructive. Bizarrely, the summit, rather than being the date by which a detailed deal must be agreed, may be more usefully thought of as a confidence-building gesture and as a way of agreeing the final goals of a nuclear-free zone around Korea.

North Korea has been signalling its willingness to…

1 April 2018 Awel Irene

CND anniversary celebrated in Caernarfon

Awel Irene writes: As the sun set on Caernarfon castle, a symbol of centuries of militarism and oppression, eight of us unpacked a van that arrived from faraway London to launch the CND Symbol tour. We put together the jigsawed symbol to celebrate 60 years of protest against nuclear weapons. We remembered the hundreds of people who have gathered in that square rallying and wearing CND badges, including Dilys O’Brien Owen who died in February shortly before her 103rd birthday after a life of…

1 April 2018 Symon Hill

Military police blame 'more urgent enquiries' for 'unacceptable delay' in bringing case to trial

On 23 March, it was revealed that 16- and 17-year-old recruits at the Army Foundation College in Harrogate made 50 allegations of abusive and violent behaviour by army instructors between 2014 and 2017. The Freedom of Information requests by Child Soldiers International and Liz Saville Roberts MP also revealed that there had been around 50 investigations by royal military police into staff at the college over the last decade, with allegations declared to have been proven in about 15 cases.…

1 April 2018 David Polden

13 cases dropped after aquittal of Christian activists

The crown prosecution service (CPS) broke off proceedings against 13 activists awaiting trial for obstructing the highway while protesting against the DSEI arms fair in London last September. Five protesters, from Faslane Peace Camp, are still scheduled to go on trial on 11–12 April.

The dropping of the cases followed the acquittals, on 7 February, of four Christian peace activists, and the dismissal of charges the next day against four Quaker abseilers, by a different district…

1 April 2018 Lyn Meredid

Poet, author, hospital worker and socialist 'was never one to give up when things got tough'

In February, we lost our dear friend and comrade Beaty Smith after a prolonged period of failing health. Beaty was born in 1937 to a large working-class family in Garston, Liverpool, and her experience of growing up in 1940s Britain among intelligent, self-educated people informed her profound sense of social justice and lifelong adherence to the socialist cause.

Beaty worked in National Health hospitals all her life, first as a nurse and later as a ward sister. In Paris in 1968,…

1 February 2018 David Polden

Palestinian teen arrested for slapping Israeli soldier

On 5 February, Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, visited Palestinian teenager Ahed Tamimi in an Israeli prison.

Ahed, then 16, was filmed slapping and kicking armed Israeli soldiers at the entrance to her home in the village of Nabi Saleh in the occupied West Bank on 15 December. Just an hour earlier, she’d learned that her 14-year-old cousin, Mohammed Tamimi, had been shot in the face at close range by Israeli soldiers with a rubber-coated metal bullet.…

1 February 2018 Benjamin Kaplan

Activists from across world meet to share insights

Activists and curious members of the public gathered in the comfortable confines of Housmans Bookshop in central London on 5 February to discuss the indoctrination of young people into the military, and how to prevent it.

During the War Resisters’ International (WRI) forum, representatives from WRI-affiliated groups in Turkey, Finland, the Czech Republic and the UK shared their experiences in countering conscription, militarised culture, and media controlled by authoritarian…

1 February 2018 Milan Rai

Despite the fragile Olympic truce between the US and North Korea, war may be edging closer – with support from the self-censoring liberal media

Ice-skaters Ryom Tae-ok and Kim Ju-sik competing in 2017; they are representing North Korea in the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea. Photo: Garrett Wollman CC BY 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

There is one simple first step that can help the world to avoid a war between the United States and North Korea: extend the Olympic peace pause in US military exercises and North Korean nuclear/missile testing.

Possibly the most urgent task of the global peace movement is to…

1 February 2018 David Polden

Trials to continue through May

Quaker abseilers, Louis Dorton and Nicholas Cooper, blocking the road to the DSEI arms fair set-up, 5 September 2017. Photo: Diana More/CAAT

In January and early February, there were acquittals for 12 of the 102 people arrested during the set-up of the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) arms fair last September (PN 2610–2611).

Most of the 102 were charged with obstruction of the highway, some with aggravated trespass, and a few were released without…

1 February 2018 PN

Nuclear powers 'on cusp of new arms race

On 25 January, Rachel Bronson, president and CEO of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, announced: ‘Because of the extraordinary danger of the current moment, the Science and Security Board [of the Bulletin] today moves the minute hand of the Doomsday Clock 30 seconds closer to catastrophe. It is now two minutes to midnight – the closest the clock has ever been to Doomsday, and as close as it was in 1953, at the height of the Cold War.’

The central concern of the…

1 February 2018 Benjamin Kaplan

US government review backs mini-nukes

A new, aggressive US nuclear posture review was released on 2 February. The review advises removing restrictions on the use of nuclear weapons, as well as the development of new low-yield, or tactical, warheads.

The US is looking to add a number of long-range weapons to its arsenal, with accompanying sea/air-based delivery systems. One is a modified Trident D5 submarine-launched missile that can be equipped with either a conventional or a low-yield nuclear warhead. These less-…

1 February 2018 David Polden

Coulport blockaders found guilty

On 24 January, Peter Anderson and Jamie Watson were both found guilty of ‘breach of the peace’ at Dumbarton justice of the peace court for blockading the Coulport nuclear weapons store during the Trident Ploughshares summer disarmament camp last July.

Two Finns who were arrested and charged with them, Esa Noresvuo and Kaj Raninen, did not turn up. Peter and Jamie accepted prosecution evidence that none of the four who locked-on across an access road to Coulport had moved when asked to…

1 December 2017 Catherine Tauriello

Attorney General declines to prosecute Theresa May over Trident

After two years, ‘Public Interest Case Against Trident’ (PICAT) finally received a decision from the UK attorney general in late November on whether it had permission to prosecute the prime minister and the defence secretary for war crimes in relation to Britain’s nuclear weapons. Britain’s only nuclear weapons are Trident missiles – which are carried on Trident nuclear submarines.

PICAT is an initiative of the Trident Ploughshares direct action network. The project was begun by…

1 December 2017 PN staff

4,500 invade opencast coal mine during Climate Summit

The Pacific Climate Warriors held a ceremonial ritual on 5 November in solidarity with the people of Kerpen-Manheim. The German village is now almost completely abandoned due to the relentless expansion of the Hambach coal mine. Photo: 350.org

The two-week COP23 climate talks in Bonn, Germany, in November were met with a 25,000-strong march; a 4,500-strong mine invasion (above right); the occupation of a nearby coal-fired power station; a banner-hang on a coal ship in Bonn itself;…

1 December 2017 PN staff

Anti-nuke campaign wins Nobel

Marking ICAN’s Nuclear Abolition Day on 16 June 2010 in New York, USA. Photo: ICAN

On 6 October, the Norwegian Nobel committee awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2017 to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN). Executive director Beatrice Fihn laughed in disbelief when the committee rang to inform her.

ICAN was awarded the prize for drawing attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons, and for its work on a nuclear…

1 December 2017 April Griefsong

From Swansea to Westminster

Sanctuary of Song at Westminster (with faces blurred). Photo: Sanctuary of Song

I sing with ‘Sanctuary of Song’ in Swansea, a singing group for women, forming bonds between local community and the marginalised ‘asylum-seeking’ and refugee community of Swansea.

Bright and early on 17 October we drove to London, en route practising the songs we’d sing in parliament that afternoon under the banner of Black History Month. A motorway services stop gave us a chance to practise ‘…

1 December 2017 David Polden

Prosecution failed to rebut activists defence, says judge

On 3 November, 10 Greenpeace anti-fracking activists were acquitted of highway obstruction by Blackpool magistrates court. The 10 had locked themselves together for eight hours, blockading the entrance to the Cuadrilla shale gas exploration site at Preston New Road near Blackpool in May.

In his judgement, the district judge said: ‘I have to consider location, duration, interference with the rights of others and overall reasonableness. If the crown cannot show that these defendants…

1 December 2017 David Polden

More arms fair trials scheduled for December and January

On 10 November, a trial at Stratford magistrates court in London descended into farce when the prosecution declined to show police bodycam video evidence because it ‘showed nothing’ and dropped the case. This was the first trial arising from a week of action in September aimed at disrupting the DSEI arms fair held in London’s Docklands (PN 2610–2611).

Chris Maunder was facing the most serious charge brought against any of the 102 DSEI arrestees: assaulting a police…

1 December 2017 PN

Polish scientist & anti-nuke campaigner remembered

 

On 6 November, peace group British Pugwash, the Polish Heritage Society UK and the Polish embassy unveiled a plaque for Joseph Rotblat on the corner of Bury Place and Great Russell Street in London. The Polish nuclear scientist won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1995 for campaigning against nuclear weapons. Photo: Polish Heritage Society

1 December 2017 PN

Calls for scrapping of Welsh Language Bill

Welsh language campaigners call on assembly member Alun Davies to bin his plans for the Welsh Language Bill, while blockading his office in Brynmawr on 26 October. The bill would abolish the Welsh language commissioner and weaken regulations that ensure organisations provide services in Welsh. Photo: Cymdeithas yr Iaith



1 December 2017 Benjamin

PN reports from this year's ORGCon

Women made up more than half of the speakers at November’s high-profile ORGCon digital freedom conference, which in the world of ‘tech’ is refreshing. The conference organiser, Open Rights Group (ORG), should be praised for achieving such a balance. ORG is the UK’s only grassroots organisation working to protect our right to privacy and free speech online.

ORGCon drew a mix of activists, academics and digital professionals to Friends Meeting House, London to hear some of the world…

1 December 2017 Claire Poyner

Call for council homes to be built on former prison site

Many a woman peace activist has been incarcerated in Holloway Prison. There have been many poor women imprisoned there, some jailed for non-payment of fines (being fined for not having a TV licence was once a speciality of the British judicial system). Holloway saw the suffragettes force-fed and Ruth Ellis hanged. Then there are the women who were imprisoned after killing an abusive partner, and the long list of women who were neglected by prison staff and died there.

Activists…

1 December 2017 Apolo Santana

Cymru Cuba celebrates 35th anniversary

On 7 November, the first centenary of the Bolshevik revolution in Russia and the 35th anniversary of Cymru Cuba’s foundation, Denbigh Town Hall was host to a historic first visit to Wales.

A full house of 400 people gathered to hear Dr Aleida Guevara, daughter of the Argentinian-born guerrilla fighter Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara, passionately calling for unity among the left. She emphasised love as the heart of the revolution, evidenced by Cuba’s tradition of sending medical staff when…

1 December 2017 Brian Jones

Nuke power research sparks national debate

Photo: Brian Jones

Tim Deere-Jones has created quite a stir by researching a scheme by French power company EDF to dredge up more than 300,000 tonnes of mud from the Bristol Channel and dump it off Cardiff Bay.

The sediment in Bridgewater Bay is potentially contaminated by radionuclides and other toxins released from the nuclear power stations at Hinkley Point A and B. The mud is being dredged in preparation for the construction of another nuclear power station, Hinkley Point…

1 December 2017 PN

Anti-war veterans remember all war deaths

Members of Veterans for Peace UK line up in Whitehall, London, on 12 November for a Remembrance Day ceremony at the Cenotaph. VfP UK lays a wreath of white poppies and remembers all those killed in war, including civilians and enemy soldiers. The banner at the front says: ‘Never Again’. Photo: Veterans for Peace UK

1 December 2017 David Polden

Nukes blocked on way to Trident base

Police holding down David McKenzie block our view of Janet Fenton behind him. Jane Tallents is held down on the right on 16 November at Bannockburn. Photo: Nukewatch

Three members of Nukewatch UK briefly stopped a convoy carrying nuclear bombs on 16 November. The vehicles were leaving a base near Bannockburn on their way from Atomic Weapons Establishment Burghfield to the royal naval arms depot at Coulport near Helensburgh where the warheads are loaded onto Trident submarines.

1 October 2017 David Polden

Prosecution failed to establish road boundary rules judge

On 31 July, the high court in London overturned the convictions of five members of the Christian ‘Put Down the Sword’ affinity group who had blocked the entrance to Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) Burghfield in June 2016.

Nina Carter-Brown, Nick Cooper, Angela Ditchfield, Joanna Frew and Alison Parker had been found guilty of wilful obstruction of the highway by Reading magistrates in January. Their action (using lock-on tubes) was part of a month of action organised by Trident…

1 October 2017 PN

Campaign Nonviolence plan 'Referendum for a nonviolent future' for 2018

Hundreds of peace and justice events took place in the Campaign Nonviolence Week of Actions in the US in late September. Sponsors Pace e Bene say they are already aiming at next year’s action week (15–23 September 2018) which will take place just before important US congressional elections.

Campaign Nonviolence wants to frame those mid-term elections as a ‘Referendum for a Nonviolent Future’: ‘Will we ratify the policies of violence and injustice – or will we set a new course for…

1 October 2017 Catherine Tauriello

50 states sign no-nukes treaty

On 20 September, over 40 high-level figures from around the world signed the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons at the United Nations on behalf of their countries.

They were led by the presidents of Brazil, Central African Republic, Chile, Comoros, Costa Rica, Guyana, Kiribati, Palau and South Africa. The UN secretary-general, António Guterres, said: ‘We cannot allow these doomsday weapons to endanger our world and our children’s future.’

At the moment the…

1 October 2017 PN

TUC backs conversion and divestment

On 12 September, the TUC (Trades Union Congress) passed two ground-breaking motions, one on the conversion of military industry to socially-useful production, and the other on climate action. Both proposals stressed the need to involve workers in making change.

The conversion motion was passed by a majority after being proposed by the brand-new Artists’ Union England (established 2016) and opposed by the huge GMB union (over 600,000 members).

The motion recalled the ‘…

1 October 2017 PN

Activists arrested during backwards anti-nuke protest

On 8 August, French activist Rémi Filliau was arrested in Paris during a Clown Army action at the headquarters of En Marche (‘Forward!’), the political party of president Emmanuel Macron.

Rémi was one of 15 ‘clowns en marche arrière’ (‘backwards clowns’) who occupied the lobby of the building. The backwards 15 wanted to congratulate ‘the president of the clowns’ on his valiant opposition to the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

‘We came to thank him,…

1 October 2017 PN

Anti-drones campaigners to stand trial on 24 November

‘Justice for the Elbit 5 — Stop Arming Israel’ demo at Aberporth test-flying site for UK-manufactured Israeli drones on 13 September. This action was in solidarity with five activists appearing before Cannock magistrates court, Staffordshire, charged under the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 for their part in shutting down the Elbit drones factory in Shenstone on 6–7 July. Charges were dropped against three defendants, while the trial of the remaining two…

1 October 2017 PN

Campaigners plead not guilty

Some of the folk pleading not guilty on 21 September at Thames magistrates court. This was one of many days of plea hearings (18 September – 9 October) for the 100 activists arrested for disrupting the set-up for the DSEI arms fair in East London.

PHOTO: Sarah Lasenby

1 October 2017 David Hanlon

Head of Bil’in Popular Committee against the Wall comes to Aberystwyth

On 10 July, some 50 Ceredigion residents gathered in the Morlan Centre in Aberystwyth to hear Iyad Burnat bear poignant witness to a life of resistance in his native Bil’in, a village in the Israeli-occupied West Bank some seven miles to the west of Ramallah. Bil’in has been divided by Israel’s separation barrier which cuts off access to half of its agricultural land.

Iyad is the head of the Bil’in Popular Committee against the Wall (PCAW) which for the last 12 years has staged…

1 October 2017 PN

800 arrested during weekend of mass civil disobedience

PHOTO: Ende Gelände

At the end of August, 800 people were arrested as over 6,000 climate justice activists gathered in western Germany for the Rhineland Climate Camp, taking part in different protests against brown coal mining in the area. The arrests came during the Ende Gelände (‘Here and No Further’) weekend of mass civil disobedience involving 3,000 people. Affinity groups crossed fields (see above) to enter the Tagebau Garzweiler lignite coal mine or to block coal trains to the…

1 October 2017 Kate Macdermott

Welsh Borders join arms fair protests

Welsh Borders join the Arms Fair protests. PHOTO: Richard Stafford

Not yet dawn. 10,000 dead in Yemen. (Drink and a blanket). One million homeless. (Packed lunch, cake?) £3.3 million spent by Saudi Arabia since 2015 on British weapons. (Remember the banner). 22 of us, mostly from a choir based in Presteigne in the Welsh borders, board our coach heading for the ExCeL centre in East London where Britain hosts its biennial international arms fair. We are coming to support the blockading…

1 October 2017 Milan Rai

Muslim human rights activist convicted for not surrendering passwords

On 25 September, a Muslim human rights activist was found guilty by Westminster magistrates of the crime of not handing over the passwords to his phone and laptop.

Muhammad Rabbani, international director of Muslim anti-repression group CAGE, ‘wilfully obstructed’ an examination under schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 at Heathrow airport last November (see PN 2606–2607). He was given a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £620 in costs.

Rabbani…

1 October 2017 David Polden

Four-day fast marks anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings

As part of an international event, a four-day fast was held in central London between Hiroshima Day, 6 August, and Nagasaki Day, 9 August, to commemorate the 300,000 deaths caused by the atomic bombings of Japan in 1945.

At 8.15am on Hiroshima Day, three fasters set out banners on railings on the Thames side of the ministry of defence, where they camped throughout the fast. By 8 August, numbers had grown to seven, and they held a one-hour protest in front of Downing Street. They…

1 October 2017 PN

Mayors threatened, offices raided and posters confiscated as Spain cracks down on independence referendum

As we went to press, it wasn’t clear whether the regional government of Catalonia would succeed in holding its 1 October independence referendum – which has been declared illegal by Spain’s constitutional court.

The independentistas are engaged in mass non-co-operation with the Spanish state. Dock workers in Barcelona and Tarragona refused to provide services to boats carrying over 5,000 armed police ordered to disrupt the referendum.

Spanish prime minister…

1 October 2017 Andrew Smith

Campaigners blocked the set-up of the London DSEI weapons fest

Die-in at DSEI arms fair, East London. PHOTO: Diana More.

Over the course of seven days in early September, thousands of activists from across the country descended on East London in a vibrant and colourful show of strength, solidarity and unity – to try to stop the set-up of the terrible DSEI arms fair.

Defence & Security Equipment International (DSEI) is one of the biggest arms fairs in the world. This year, it brought 1,600 arms companies to London and put them together…

1 August 2017 David Polden

Independence day protests @ Menwith Hill

Every year on 4 July, US Independence Day, there is an ‘Independence from America’ protest at the Menwith Hill US spy base on the North Yorkshire Moors. The base is run by the US national security agency and is linked to circling satellites gathering political, military and economic information that is fed to the Pentagon in the USA.

This year began with a public reading of ‘The People’s Declaration for Independence FROM America’ and the handing over of a letter to the RAF…

1 August 2017 Patricia Richards

Radical choir targets HSBC on day of action

Aberystwyth’s Côr Gobaith made their presence felt at the annual Street Choirs Festival in Kendal at the end of June. One of three Welsh choirs, alongside Pales Peace Choir and Wrexham Community Choir, we took our messages of nonviolence, justice and environmental sustainability out onto the streets with our peace flags, pride flags and red dragons flying!

The festival has a long history of putting music into protest and for us, especially in these difficult times, the overarching…

1 August 2017 Peter Salmon

Evidence to Pichford inquiry unlikely to be heard until mid-2019

The Pitchford public inquiry into undercover policing continues its frustrating, meandering path, bogged down in procedural issues.

The honest picture is that very little is coming out of the inquiry at the moment. To the alarm of many involved, we are being told that evidence is unlikely to be heard until mid-2019. That is five years after the inquiry was first announced, nine since undercover police officer Mark Kennedy was first exposed.

Much of the work done to date…

1 August 2017 PN

Aberystwyth remembers murdered MP


Aberystwyth residents stand together on 18 June, one of 120,000 events around the UK to remember murdered MP Jo Cox and to show that ‘we have more in common than divides us’, a view expressed in many tongues. Photo: Marian Delyth

1 August 2017 Jo Lo

Campaigners to appeal high court verdict

While the high court in London ruled on 10 July that arms exports to Saudi Arabia are ‘lawful’, Campaign Against Arms Trade remains confident in its legal case. We are challenging the verdict and hope that the court of appeal will overturn its ruling.

If the verdict is allowed to stand, government will regard it as a green light to keep arming human rights abusers and repressive regimes around the world. Even worse, Saudi forces will see it as a green light to continue in their…

1 August 2017 Sue Gilmurray

Sue Gilmurray reports on this year's Peace History Conference

The Movement for the Abolition of War (MAW), organiser of the series of Peace History Conferences, has a strong and creative relationship with the Imperial War Museum (IWM) in London. This works because, on MAW’s side, there is an attitude not of dogmatic pacifism but of reasoned opposition to the legitimacy of war; and on the museum’s side, war is not glamourised but commemorated in all its aspects. This makes it a fitting venue for a conference like the one on 10 June, especially as the…

1 August 2017 PN

Come to PN's digital tools dayschool in January 2018!

We’ve had to postpone a major workshop to June 2018! We’re also organising a digital tools dayschool, ‘Weaving Our Own Web’, in January!

This July and August, Peace News was meant to have been hosting noted author and trainer Betsy Leondar-Wright from the US group, Class Action. We have been big fans of Betsy’s work on class and classism (while recognising that there are differences between class in the US and in the UK). We interviewed Betsy over three issues in 2015–…

1 August 2017 David Wyn

Gathering considers Brexit impact on UK Celtic languages

The European Language Equality Network met in Valencia in June for #ELEN2017, a get-together of interested parties from minority languages acting together to create an united voice.

On the top of the agenda was the effect of Brexit on the Celtic languages of the UK, including Welsh, which has recently lost its national newspaper as Y Cymro has ceased publication due to market forces. David Wyn of Cynghrair Cymunedau Cymraeg (the Alliance of Welsh Communities) explained how hate…

1 August 2017 PN

122 nations vote for treaty outlawing nuclear weapons

Delegates give a standing ovation on 7 July as the UN adopts a treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons, by 122 votes to 1. PHOTO: CLARE CONBOY/ICAN

On 7 July, the United Nations passed a treaty forbidding the development, testing, production, possession, transfer, use and threatened use of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.

Costa Rican diplomat Elayne Whyte Gómez, president of the abolition conference, said: ‘We all feel very emotional today. We feel that we are…

1 August 2017 PN

Rolling month of action comes to Lancashire

You never actually own a lock-on....

Local families, councillors and anti-nuclear power activists joined the first days of the ‘Rolling Resistance’ month of anti-fracking action in Lancashire organised by local groups and national climate activist network Reclaim the Power.

As PN went to press, we were half-way through the month of action, which aimed to disrupt work every single day in July at the Preston New Road site near Preston, owned by oil and gas company Cuadrilla.…

1 August 2017 Milan Rai

How the mainstream media self-censored ‘revenge for western foreign policy’ from their reporting of the Manchester attacks

Image based on Jomana Abedi’s Facebook profile picture

In the first month after the attack on the Manchester Arena on 22 May, dozens of commentators offered dozens of theories on what could have led a Manchester-born-and-raised 22-year-old to massacre dozens of teenage girls and parents as they left a pop concert.

While there was a lot of confident speculation by people who never met Salman Abedi, there is one person who has spoken up who definitely knew Abedi well:

‘Abedi’s…

1 August 2017 Tony Young

Tony Young visits Wales' 'National Air Show'

On 1 July, I attended the so-called ‘Wales National Air Show’ in Swansea. It is marketed as a fun day out for all the family but, moving beyond the massive funfair, you find what the occasion is really about. Military hardware of every description, and information points that tell you about the delights of a career in the armed forces, with huge banners carrying the message ‘RAF: recruiting now’.

Teenagers and small children are invited aboard the tanks and troop carriers,…

1 August 2017 David Polden

Government acted improperly, high court rules

On 22 June, the high court in London ruled that the government had acted improperly by seeking to use pension law to pursue its own foreign and arms industry policy.

In September 2016, the department for communities and local government had published some innocuously titled ‘guidance’ on investment strategies for local government pension schemes.

The DCLG wrote: ‘using pension policies to pursue boycotts, divestment and sanctions against foreign nations and UK defence…

1 June 2017 Kelvin Mason

Court's decision favours corporate power over public interest - campaigners

Climate activists block the rail head terminal road at Ffos-y-frân on 21 April. PHOTO: COAL ACTION NETWORK.

On 8 May, five Welsh activists learned the price of nonviolent action they had taken in April to save lives and mitigate environmental harms. Sentencing them to 18 months’ conditional discharge, magistrates in Merthyr Tydfil also ordered them to pay compensation of £10,000 to the Miller Argent mining company plus court costs of £525.

On 21 April, environmental activists had ‘…

1 June 2017 PN staff

PN & friends celebrate release of US whistleblower

PHOTO: Emma Sangster

The Peace News/Housmans Bookshop ‘Chelsea Manning Freedom Party’ had people crowding into the bookshop on 17 May to eat cake and hear trans women Kirsten and Mika; Ben Griffin of Veterans for Peace; and others.

1 June 2017 Claire Poyner

Mark Rylance joins CO commemoration

Mark Rylance (left) and Patrick

An impressive number of people braved a forecast downpour on 15 May to commemorate Conscientious Objectors (CO) Day in Tavistock Square in central London.
The rain downgraded to a steady drizzle but maybe the news that Mark Rylance (sir Mark? We don’t do titles do we?) was going to be one of the speakers motivated people.

Mark is best known for portraying Thomas Cromwell in the BBC TV series Wolf Hall; younger readers may know him as the BFG.…

1 June 2017 David Polden

Atom bomb survivors embark on world tour

Three hibakusha, survivors

Three hibakusha – two survivors of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and one of that of Nagasaki – set sail from Japan on board Peace Boat on 12 April for a 105-day global voyage.

Joined by two second generation hibakusha and two ‘youth communicators’, the delegation is visiting 22 countries, including the nuclear weapon states of France, Russia and the United States.

Ms Tsuchida Kazumi, Ms Tanaka Toshiko and Mr Mise Seeiichiro are giving personal…

1 June 2017 PN staff

'tis the season for activists to appear in court

Lots of high-profile direct action cases have court dates coming up.

DSEI appeal

On 13 June, the high court in London will review the acquittal of eight anti-arms fair activists – Isa Al-Aali (Bahrain), Bram Vranken (Belgium), Luis Tinoco Torrejon (Peru), and Lisa Butler, Angela Ditchfield, Thomas Franklin, Susannah Mengesha (UK) – by Stratford magistrates court in April 2016.
The high court’s decision is likely to affect peace activists’ ability to use the legal defence…

1 June 2017 PN staff

Over 280 events take place in 45 countries

On 8 May, a wedding was broken up on the steps of the London headquarters of the Church of England.

Christ’s bride (representing the church) was about to be given in marriage to the fossil fuel industry, when Jesus objected and persuaded the bride to break her engagement with fossil fuels and to seek forgiveness.

Christian Climate Action’s sketch was one of dozens of actions around the UK during the Global Divestment Mobilisation (5 – 13 May).

Thousands of people…

1 June 2017 Milan Rai

Saudis have asked US for permission for devastating assault

Fateem Hadi Jaber and her daughter, Sameera, live on the street in Hodeidah City, Hodeidah, after fleeing their home in the neighbouring governorate of Hajjah. Hodeidah (also spelled Hudaydah) is the main port in Yemen, crucial to the international humanitarian aid effort. PHOTO © UNHCR/SHABIA MANTOO
 

‘The Saudi-led, Western-backed, military coalition has threatened to attack the [Yemeni] port [of Hodeidah], which would likely destroy it and cut supplies to millions of hungry…

1 June 2017 David Polden

850 prisoners enter sixth week of hunger strike

In April, Manchester university students organised a one-week fast in solidarity with Palestinian hunger strikers. PHOTO: MANCHESTER UNIVERSITY 

As PN went to press, 850 Palestinian prisoners were entering their sixth week on hunger strike to try to get better treatment in Israeli jails.

Several dozen prisoners had been transferred to special prison wings with medical staff, according to prison officials.

The action started on 17 April, chosen as ‘Palestinian…

1 June 2017 Milan Rai

Prosecution part of sustained attack on human rights group

On 17 May, a British Muslim human rights campaigner was charged with a terrorism offence for refusing to give police the passwords to his laptop and his mobile phone.

Muhammad Rabbani, international director of the London-based human rights group CAGE, was detained and questioned at Heathrow airport in November under schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000.

He refused to surrender his passwords on the grounds that his devices contained confidential testimony relating to torture.…

1 April 2017 Milan Rai

Muslim NGO calls for 'courageous introspection' by British society

In the wake of the Westminster terror attack, British society needs ‘courageous introspection’, and ‘a re-examination of the neo-conservative and violent Western foreign and domestic policy towards Muslims’.

That was the response of CAGE, a Muslim NGO ‘working to empower communities impacted by the War on Terror’, to the car-and-knife attack in London on 22 March which had led to five deaths by the time of going to press.

CAGE pointed to ‘the death this month of at…

1 April 2017 PN

'I really support what you're doing. Keep doing it.'

‘Big Books’ action blocks US drone operators’ base, Hancock, New York, 19 March 2015. Photo: Upstate Drone Action

Two sets of drone resisters in New York state, USA, walked free from court, after a ‘not guilty’ verdict on 2 March, and the dismissal of separate charges on 10 March.

In the first case, Daniel Burns, Brian Hynes, Ed Kinane and James Ricks were found ‘not guilty’ by a jury in Dewitt town court. They had been charged with obstruction of government administration,…

1 April 2017 PN

Hastings activists take action for refugee children


On 12 February, dozens of constituents gathered in Tackleway, outside the official Hastings residence of home secretary and Hastings MP, Amber Rudd, to demand that she continue with a scheme to bring unaccompanied child refugees to Britain. Photo: Milan Rai

1 April 2017 PN

Alleged coalition civilian killings since January outstrip claims against Russia

On 24 March, Airwars, a transparency NGO monitoring civilian casualties from international airstrikes in Iraq, Syria and Libya, sent out an email warning that the escalation of US strikes was threatening to overwhelm its capacity to monitor and assess the civilian impact.

Airwars wrote: ‘Following an unprecedented number of alleged Coalition civilian casualty events and casualties in recent weeks, Airwars has taken the difficult decision to suspend detailed assessing of alleged…

1 April 2017 PN

Camp celebrates 35th anniversary by halting warhead convoy

A nuclear warhead convoy is brought to a full stop on the A817 near Helensburgh, Scotland, on 22 March by Faslane Peace Campers.Photo: Faslane Peace Camp

In Scotland, peace activists connected to Faslane Peace Camp have blockaded the Faslane Trident submarine base, held an open day as part of the camp’s 35th birthday celebrations. Oh, and halted a nuclear warhead convoy.

The 2 February blockade was carried out by five peace campers who ‘locked-on’ to each other by chaining…

1 April 2017 Lotte Reimer

Zionist exploitation of event condemned by local council

On 3 March, Llandudno town council condemned the ‘inappropriate Zionist exploitation of Conwy HMD 2017’ and voted to cancel the grant it had allotted to one Roy Thurley for organising the event.

Every 27 January, the date that the Russian army liberated the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp in 1945, the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust asks people to ‘pause to remember the millions of people who have been murdered or whose lives have been changed beyond recognition during the Holocaust,…

1 April 2017 PN

'Deluge' of charges brought against leading nonviolent activists

Nonviolent Palestinian activists are facing a new wave of repression, demonstrating again that the Israeli authorities fear effective nonviolent action.

Israeli officials themselves know ‘we don’t do Gandhi very well’, as the then director of policy and political-military affairs at the Israel ministry of defence, major general (reserves) Amos Gilad, said in February 2010. Gilad, who retired in February after 14 years in that critical post, was talking to US officials about the…

1 April 2017 David Polden

Indigenous struggle over pipeline continues

On 7 March, a US district judge refused the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s attempt to stop oil flowing through a part of the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL) near their reservation.

The Sioux thought they had won on 4 December when the US army corps of engineers stopped construction of DAPL for alternative routes to be considered. Then, on 24 January, US president Donald Trump signed an executive decree ordering the secretary of the army to expedite approval of the pipeline – without a…

1 April 2017 Kelvin Mason

UK nuclear power driven by military demands - SPRU

Peter Smith of Stop Hinkley. Photo: Alun Williams

On 11 March, a conference entitled ‘Green Nuclear-Free Wales’ drew more than 60 delegates to the National Library in Aberystwyth on the sixth anniversary of the ongoing Fukushima nuclear disaster (in March, a Japanese court ruled that state negligence contributed to the triple meltdown).

Speakers in Aberystwyth included the former chief electrical engineer for Hinkley Point, Peter Smith, who critiqued nuclear industry safety…

1 April 2017 Andrew Smith

Campaigners challenge British complicity in Yemen carnage

Airstrike in Sana’a, Yemen, 11 May 2015. Photo: Ibrahem Qasim (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Wikimedia Commons

26 March marked two years since the Saudi-led bombardment of Yemen began. Since then, 10,000 people have been killed and millions have been left without access to vital infrastructure, clean water or electricity. An estimated 17 million people are food-insecure and require urgent humanitarian assistance

For decades now, Saudi Arabia has been by far the largest buyer of UK arms. The…

1 February 2017 Sam Archie

No case to answer for nuke protestors

On 14 December, the trial of five Quaker protesters ended on its first day because the police sergeant who arrested the five failed to state in his testimony that he held a ‘reasonable belief’ that aggravated trespass had occurred. The judge stated there was no case to answer and acquitted the whole group.

Ellis Brooke, Hannah Brock, Gillian Lawrence, John Lynes, and Sam Donaldson had pleaded not guilty, and decided on a defence that their right to freedom of belief was enough…

1 February 2017 David Polden

Secret cabinet office papers reveal impact of nuke sub protest

A protest action in 1988 in which Phill Jones, Chipper Mills, and Tony Vallance from Faslane Peace Camp managed to get into the control room of one of the UK’s nuclear-armed submarines left British prime minister Margaret Thatcher ‘utterly horrified’, according to secret cabinet offices papers published by the National Archives on 29 December.

The papers describe how, at 1.15am on 10 October 1988, the three successfully broke into Faslane naval base north of Glasgow, climbed into…

1 February 2017 Rachel Melly

Activist gear up for arms fair protests

On 14 January, campaigners from around the country got together in the beautiful Ecology Centre in Islington, London. The aim? To get people trained and ready to give great workshops on stopping the DSEI arms fair before it opens its doors.

Every two years one of the world’s largest arms fairs comes to the UK, and the countdown to the next one is on. This September, Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI, pronounced by some campaigners as ‘dicey’) comes to London…

1 February 2017 PN

March reaches Czech Republic but splits over 'revolutionary flag'

Photo: Civil March for Aleppo

As PN went to press, the Civil March for Aleppo had been walking for 28 days through the European winter in protest against the bombing of civilians in Syria. Having left Berlin, Germany, on 26 December, dozens of marchers had reached Ledec nad Sazavou in the centre of the Czech Republic. The intention is to walk for over three months, for over 2,000 miles, into Syria.

The organisers’ founding statement says: ‘We are going to Aleppo. From…

1 February 2017 PN

A look into the future - and an opportunity to reflect on the last 10 years

This year, Peace News is changing. We’re going to be more focused in the paper and on the web; we have new folk coming onto the board of Peace News Ltd; we want to be doing more events around Britain; and we want to move forward with Zylum, our super-easy-to-use set of online tools for grassroots campaigners.

PN will have some core themes for the paper for the year, including nonviolent revolution; class and classism; and the British-supported war in…

1 February 2017 Kim Bryan

Welsh activists spend week in La Linière refugee camp

Image La Linière refugee camp near Dunkirk, France. Photo: Mid-Wales Refugee Action

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Lotte Reimer: In December, a group of volunteers from Mid-Wales Refugee Action went to work at La Linière refugee camp near Dunkirk, France. Mainly from Machynlleth and the surrounding area, they brought much needed supplies of sleeping bags, blankets and clothes donated by people across mid-Wales. For a week, they volunteered with Kesha Niya, a…

1 February 2017 Milan Rai

Training coops now 'more like cousins than sisters'

One of Britain’s oldest activist training organisations has divided into two. Seeds for Change used to have two groups, one in Oxford, one in Lancaster. As reported last issue, Seeds for Change (Oxford) has become ‘Navigate’; and Seeds for Change (Lancaster) has become just ‘Seeds for Change’.

Seeds for Change say: ‘Towards the middle of last year, Seeds for Change Oxford and Lancaster realised we’d be able to offer more on-the-ground support through a looser relationship with…

1 February 2017 Milan Rai

Over 5 million march on seven continents

London, 21 Jan. Photo: Gabrielle Lewry

Women’s marches on 21 January took place on seven continents and involved over five million marchers, according to the organisers of the Women’s March on Washington, to show that ‘women’s rights are human rights’ and more: ‘We stand together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us.’

There were marches in Antarctica, Belarus, Botswana, the Congo, Costa Rica, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Macau,…

1 December 2016 David Polden

Campaigners challenge nukes in court

In October, two women presented anti-nuclear arguments to Reading magistrates’ court, but were convicted for their actions during the June month of direct action at Atomic Weapons Establishment Burghfield.

On 14 October, Mary Millington pleaded not guilty to painting ‘No more deadly convoys’ on the road without permission, and ‘going equipped’ to cause criminal damage. When she was arrested on 28 June, police took two cans of spray paint and bolt croppers from her.

Mary…

1 December 2016 Milan Rai

Death-rate has tripled says UN

Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants marked Remembrance Sunday by laying wreaths of orange poppies – the colour of lifejackets – at the Cenotaph in central London on 13 November, remembering the 4,200 people who had drowned in the Mediterranean since January.PHOTO: Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants

In 2015, there was one death for every 269 arrivals. This year, the UN reports, the rate for migrants crossing the Mediterranean has risen to one death for 88 arrivals.

1 December 2016 David Polden

Peace activists walk free after actions in Australia and the US.

In Australia, five Christian peace pilgrims had charges against them dismissed after entering one of the country’s most sensitive locations.

On 29 September, Jim Dowling, Margaret Pestorius, Andy Paine, Tim Webb and Franz Dowling walked onto the Pine Gap US spy base at Alice Springs, in Arrernte country, ‘to lament the death caused by the base and to resist the violence that is perpetrated there’.

The Pine Gap Five, aged 19 – 72, were charged with trespass under the…

1 December 2016 Jill Evans

Landmark resolution could trigger new treaty

27 October was a truly historic day. We voted in the European parliament calling on all UN member states to support the UN general assembly resolution on nuclear security and non-proliferation. This landmark resolution, which would trigger a new treaty banning all nuclear weapons, was adopted with a large majority by the UN general assembly that same day.

International negotiations are set to start in March 2017 with a conference to discuss a ‘legally binding instrument to…

1 December 2016 David Polden

Women vow to continue sailing to Gaza after ship seized

The Women’s Boat to Gaza campaign (see PN 2598–2599) has announced that it will continue to sail until Palestine is free, despite the seizure of its first vessel. On 5 October, two Israeli warships and four or five smaller boats surrounded the Zaytouna-Oliva in international waters and ordered it to stop sailing towards the Palestinian coast.

When the women-only boat continued its siege-breaking journey, the Israeli defence forces (IDF) boarded and commandeered the…

1 December 2016 Gabriel Carlyle

Global South takes lead on zero-carbon future as climate denier elected US president

A Reclaim the Power climate action Critical Mass bike ride around Heathrow on 1 October involved over 100 cyclists, slowing traffic in and out of the airport. Inside the airport, over 100 protesters staged a flash mob die-in, with testimonies from Global South communities affected by climate change. The bike block visited Harmondsworth detention centre to link climate change, drought and mass migration. The actions were part of an international day of action, with events in Turkey and…

1 December 2016 Claire Robertson

Biofuels challenged in North Yorks

On 22 October, around 60 British climate campaigners assembled in the autumn sunshine at the vast cooling towers of Drax power station in North Yorkshire. We were there to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the first Climate Camp, held at Drax, and to once more call for Drax’s closure, and an end to both coal and large-scale biomass burning in the UK.

Climate protesters were at Drax 10 years ago because, in burning 13m tonnes of coal and emitting over 20m tonnes of CO2 every year…

1 December 2016 Lotte Reimer

Welsh event explores Orwellian present

Johnny Gaunt (right) introduces Ken Booth (left) and John Rees (centre) at Aberystwyth Arts Centre on 22 October. PHOTO: Lotte Reimer

On 22 October, Aberystwyth Arts Centre hosted an event by Ceredigion Stop the War to explore the meaning of imperialism 15 years after the attack on the World Trade Centre. The title ‘War is Peace’ was picked from George Orwell’s novel 1984.

Over 50 participants heard professor Ken Booth, senior academic researcher and author on…

1 December 2016 Symon Hill

Alternative remembrance day events held around UK

‘I would rather have been there than anywhere else in the world,’ said Scottish pacifist poet Ashby McGowan after the Alternative Remembrance Sunday Ceremony in London on 13 November. He added: ‘Like many of the people there, I was in tears during the ceremony.’

The Peace Pledge Union (PPU) organised the ceremony in Tavistock Square only a short distance from the official ceremony at the Cenotaph with its display of military pomp.

Ashby McGowan read some of his poetry…

1 December 2016 PN

Welsh peace activist visits Japan

Ian Bell adds peace cranes in Hiroshima. PHOTO: Rory Bell

Aberystwyth and the city of Hiroshima were symbolically linked when a local peace activist visited the Japanese city on 26 October. Wishing for peace and the abolition of nuclear weapons, Ian Bell brought paper cranes from the peace tree in Aberystwyth to The Children’s Peace Monument in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park.

Sadako Sasaki, who was two years old when the world’s first atom bomb was dropped over the city of…

1 December 2016 Andrew Smith

High Court to scrutinise UK arms exports

On 11 July, Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) handed in a petition to Downing Street, London, against British arms sales to Saudi Arabia. Photo: CAAT

‘No one questions that these people are terrorists, but their presence in that city cannot justify an assault on 275,000 innocent people, still less the imposition of a siege, which is, by its very nature, a wholly indiscriminate tactic.’

These were the words of British foreign secretary Boris Johnson during a speech in which he…

1 October 2016 PN staff

Community energy project bringing wind power to Wales

Awel Coop. Photo: Awel

‘We’ve put up with noise and dust from the pits – we’re used to it. We shouldn’t grumble about a few turbines singing in the wind’. These words were spoken in 2000 and, 16 years later, the community wind farm turbines in Mynydd y Gwrhyd, 20 miles north of Swansea, are due to be commissioned by December.

Community benefit society Awel (Welsh for ‘wind’) is funding the scheme through shares (raising £1.27 million to date) and Welsh government loans of £4.…

1 October 2016 PN staff

Vigil held for jailed art teacher

Vigil against Turkish repression outside Turkish embassy, London, 23 September. Photo: Index on Censorship

On 23 September, Index on Censorship and English PEN, another freedom of expression group, held a vigil outside the Turkish embassy in London in support of art teacher Ayse Çelik and others currently persecuted for speaking out in Turkey.

As we went to press, Çelik was awaiting a new trial date, accused of ‘promoting terrorist organisation propaganda’ after she called in…

1 October 2016 Catherine Bann

Cath Bann looks at the background to the upcoming demos at Fylingdales and Croughton

On 1 October, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) is organising a major protest simultaneously at RAF/USAF Fylingdales on the North Yorkshire Moors and at USAF Croughton in Northamptonshire.

Fylingdales is a US ballistic missile early warning radar base and could initiate a nuclear response to a missile attack. As part of the US missile defence system, it is also a component of the US nuclear strike force. At Croughton, the US will be spending £200m to turn the base into…

1 October 2016 Vyara Gylsen

Women from 12 countries prepare to break Israel’s criminal siege

Members of the Women’s Boat to Gaza crew on Zaytouna-Oliva in the port of Ajaccio, Corsica, on 19 September. Photo: Women’s Boat to Gaza

On 27 September, the Women’s Boat to Gaza (WBG) set sail in the boat Zaytouna-Oliva from its final port in Messina, Italy, to denounce and break the illegal Israeli blockade of Gaza. A second boat, the Amal-Hope II, was making final preparations and was scheduled to depart from Messina soon after. Both boats were expected to arrive…

1 October 2016 Catriona Toms

Alternative tech students study designs for use in Gaza and Nepal

Shelter building. PHOTO: Sam Christie/CAT

This summer, postgraduate students at the Centre for Alternative Technology explored the construction of emergency shelters as part of their MSc degree in ‘Sustainability and Adaptation’.

Led by Jamie Richardson of Shelter and Construction, the students used the examples of Gaza and Nepal to learn about sustainable construction in the context of war and natural disaster.

Though they seem simple structures, considerable thought…

1 October 2016 David Polden

77-year old retired teacher blocks warheads

Police remove Brian Quail from under escort vehicle of nuclear warhead convoy, 16 September. Photo: Nukewatch

On 16 September, 77-year old retired teacher, Brian Quail stopped his second nuclear warhead convoy, this time at Raploch, near Stirling in Scotland. Brian and fellow activist Alasdair Ibbotson flagged the lead truck down, slowing it down. Alasdair lay in front of the second truck, which had stopped, and Brian crawled underneath it. They held the convoy up for 15 minutes…

1 October 2016 Matt Hawkins

What are the risks posed by the UK's nuclear bomb convoys?

On 14 September, a convoy of 20 vehicles left the nuclear weapon maintenance plant AWE Burghfield in Berkshire, England, to begin its long journey up to Coulport in Scotland, the base of the UK’s Trident missile system. On the way, the convoy, carrying nuclear warhead components, would drive past cities, towns and villages, schools, hospitals and workplaces, and share the roads with other trucks and lorries, buses, bikes and cars.

It’s unlikely that people living in these…

1 October 2016 Milan Rai

PN analyses the recent foreign affairs committee report on UK "intervention"

Benghazi residents hold Italian, British, French, US, Qatari and Libyan rebel flags in April 2011.Photo: Al Jazeera English CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

France led the charge against Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 not out of a concern for Libyan civilians, but out of national self-interest. That is the claim put forward in a house of commons foreign affairs committee report on Britain’s participation in the war against Libya, published on 14 September (see box below). This article…

1 October 2016 Milan Rai

Black-led action sparks debates

The climate crisis is a racist crisis. That was the message of a Black Lives Matter UK protest at London City Airport on 6 September, when nine activists used a tripod and chains to close down a runway for over six hours, grounding over 130 flights.

The action sparked two debates. One was about the relevance of climate change, aviation and pollution to the anti-racist struggle.

Black Lives Matter UK (BLM) said: ‘Black people are the first to die, not the first to fly,…

1 October 2016 Lotte Reimer

Alternative technology festival held in Wales

Janice de Haaff is proud of ‘my tiny house’. PHOTO: Lotte Reimer

On 10 September, the Centre for Alternative Technology near Machynlleth hosted the EF Schumacher-inspired ‘Small is Beautiful’ festival with an exciting mix of debates, workshops, arts and talks (spanning hydroelectricity, pee power, zero-carbon Britain, aquaponics, campaign-building, thatching, tiny homes, improvising…) with debates captured in visual minutes by Creative Connection.

Practical Action’s Paul Smith…

1 October 2016 David Polden

Waterborne protest marks bomb anniversary

On 9 August, there was a large waterborne protest, involving 33 activists in two yachts and 13 kayaks, at the only Trident submarine base for the US Pacific fleet, the Kitsap-Bangor naval base near Seattle, Washington state. The activists marked Nagasaki day by sailing and paddling the entire length of the Bangor waterfront where nuclear warheads and Trident missiles are loaded onto submarines, and where submarines are resupplied for ballistic missile patrols in the Pacific Ocean.

1 October 2016 David Mumford

Church called to invest human and financial resources in promoting active nonviolence

In mid-September, Pat Gaffney of Pax Christi was invited to Scotland to share her experience of a conference in Rome in April which called the Christian church to recommit to the centrality of gospel nonviolence. Pat’s visit to Glasgow and Edinburgh was organised by the Fellowship of Reconciliation, Scottish Christians against Nuclear Arms and the Scottish Justice and Peace Commission.

The Rome conference looked at all the ways in which Jesus proclaimed nonviolence. In words, he…

1 August 2016 Kelvin Mason

Welsh activists blockade bomb base

Combined choirs sing out against Trident, AWE Burghfield, 15 June 2016. Photo: kelvin mason

On 15 June, far-flung groups from Aberystwyth, Swansea, Knighton, Cardiff, Newport Gwent, Rhyl and Bangor joined others from all over Wales at the Atomic Weapons Establishment near Burghfield to protest against Trident and its replacement.

The Wales Day was part of a month of direct action organised by Trident Ploughshares, culminating in a ‘grand finale’ on 30 June with blockaders…

1 August 2016 PN

Vote imminent as PN goes to press

Over 4,000 supporters of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn (elected with 59.5 percent of the vote in September) gathered in Parliament Square, London, on 27 June.PHOTO: PN

As PN went to press, we were expecting a vote on Trident renewal in the British parliament, following the vote to leave the EU (23 June), the resignation of the British prime minister David Cameron (24 June), a vote of no confidence in Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn – 172 MPs voted against, only 40 in favour of him…

1 August 2016 Chris Bluemel

Red lines, sea monsters & mad hatters join month of action

A Trident submarine from Knighton blocks a gate to AWE Burghfield on Wales Day, 15 June. Photo: Zoe Broughton

Work to upgrade a key part of Britain’s nuclear weapons infrastructure was dealt a major setback in June, after activists managed to keep the ‘Construction Gate’ at AWE Burghfield closed for a whole month.

Situated a few miles south-west of Reading, Burghfield is where the nuclear warheads on the current fleet of Trident submarines were manufactured. It is also where…

1 August 2016 Lotte Reimer

Vote spurs action against xenophobia

Celebrating Aberystwyth’s international community. Photo: kelvin mason

Many took spontaneous action against the wave of xenophobia released by the Brexit debate.

In Cardiff, large crowds of all colours gathered on 25 June to show solidarity with the migrant population. Aberystwyth held a ‘Hope Over Hate’ cultural event at the Arts Centre on 1 July, and the following day more than 300 celebrated Aberystwyth’s international community, ending with a human chain along the Prom.…

1 August 2016 PN

PN celebrates 80th birthday

It’s not always easy being 80-years-old.... On a slightly-drizzly Saturday in June, PN readers and staffers – and their children – gathered in Regents Park, in central London, to celebrate the paper’s 80th anniversary – with birthday cake, a parachute, nerf balls, vegan jelly and a small mountain of falafel, among other delights. It was on 6 June 1936 that the Peace News Group launched the paper in London by giving away 5,000 free copies. Happy birthday, everyone!…

1 August 2016 David Polden

Air controllers & nuclear power station workers join strikes

French workers launched a wave of strikes after the French premier, Manuel Valls, announced a decision on 10 May to relax France’s protective labour laws by decree, using a rarely-invoked article of the constitution to bypass parliament. The reforms make it easier for employers to prolong the (currently 35-hour) working week, to disregard unions and to lay off staff more cheaply.

Following the use of CRS riot police to break up blockades of fuel depots, the country’s eight oil…

1 August 2016 Andrew Smith

3-day investigation to take place next February

The high court was silent on 30 June when judge Andrew Gilbart announced that he would be granting a judicial review into the legality of UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia. It was only decorum and tradition that stopped us from cheering or breathing a big sigh of relief.

Our claim calls on the secretary of state for business, innovation & skills to suspend all current licences – and to stop issuing any more arms export licences to Saudi Arabia for weapons which could be used in…

1 August 2016 David Polden

Human chain formed around USAF Ramstein

On a rainy day in June, police estimated that 2,000 people formed a human chain around USAF Ramstein in Germany, the headquarters of the US air force in Europe. The activists were protesting against the base’s critical role in transmitting information between operators in the United States and drones in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Syria.

Former US drone operator Brandon Bryant told Der Spiegel magazine in 2013 that Ramstein co-ordinated Washington’s global…

1 June 2016 Kelvin Mason

Kelvin Mason celebrates the Welsh campaigners at the coalface of anti-coal activism

Ever since 2007, I have been writing in Peace News about opencast coalmining in Wales, climate change and local injustice.

My particular target has always been the 11-million-tonne Ffos-y-Frân mine near Merthyr Tydfil. At a rough count, I have written and/or edited 12 articles about Ffos-y-Frân for Peace News over the last nine years. Over the same period of time, I have also campaigned and taken direct action against opencast coalmining in Wales.

Alerted to the travesty of…

1 June 2016 Valerie Flessati

WW1 COs remembered

Peace sign, Cornwall Rd, London N4 4PH. Photo: HFWWPF

In mid-May, peace activists put up signs in 100 streets across the London borough of Haringey in recognition of men who lived there 100 years ago who were conscientious objectors to the First World War.

This was an initiative of the Haringey First World War Peace Forum, local residents who have researched the stories of nearly 350 conscientious objectors in Haringey – which at that time was three boroughs of Hornsey, Wood…

1 June 2016 PN staff

'Direct education' returns to the UK

TSAT workshop, 17 April, Friends House, London. Photo: PN

In April, two dozen activists, facilitators and trainers from around the UK took part in two advanced workshops led by Erika Thorne and Nico Amador from the US group, Training for Change (TfC).

TfC’s ‘Training for Social Action Trainers’ and ‘Advanced Training of Trainers’ workshops finally took place in London after two years of hard work by Peace News, Turning the Tide and Campaign Bootcamp.

A comment…

1 June 2016 Member of Haringey CND and of the Mouvement pour une Alternative non-violente.

Marc Morgan surveys anti-nuclear fasts, past and present

The international Hiroshima-Nagasaki fast has been held for over 30 years now, as an act of sorrow and commemoration and as a form of protest against nuclear weapons. It continues to grow in support, numbers of participants, and international range from year to year. This year will be the fourth time that it is held in the UK, with a four-day fast from 6–9 August in Whitehall, central London.

Last year, about 150 people fasted in six different countries. In France, the fast is…

1 June 2016 PN

Call for support for three trials

While the real criminals were on 16 March being safely protected and escorted into the building, the six protesters arrested at the DPRTE (defence procurement, research, technology and exportability) arms fair were due to stand trial at the end of May and beginning of June.

Originally held at the University of the West of England (UWE) campus in Bristol, DPRTE was driven out by determined active resistance and moved to the Cardiff Motorpoint Arena (a venue intended for…

1 June 2016 David Polden

Judge says 'clear, credible' evidence of 'criminal wrongdoing' at past arms fairs

On 15 April, eight people from Bahrain, Belgium, Chile, Peru and the UK were acquitted at Stratford magistrates’ court of obstructing the highway during the defence & security equipment international (DSEI) arms fair held in East London last September.

The defendants were: Isa Al-Aali from Bahrain; Bram Vranken from Belgium; Javier Garate Neidhart from Chile; Luis Tinoco Torrejon from Peru; and Angela Ditchfield, Lisa Butler, Thomas Franklin and Susannah Mengesha from the UK.…

1 June 2016 Natalie Shanklin

US campaign to hold over 350 events across US and beyond, this September

Campaign Nonviolence is a US project focused on a ‘week of actions’ every September. In a larger sense, it is ‘a long-term movement for a culture of peace and nonviolence free from war, poverty, racism, environmental destruction and the epidemic of violence’.

One of the most intriguing aspects of Campaign Nonviolence is its emphasis on practising nonviolence towards ourselves as well as others.

John Dear, a renowned US Christian pacifist and key thinker behind Pace e…

1 June 2016 Milan Rai

‘Leave it in the ground’ say anti-coal campaigners

Heading for the Welzow-Süd opencast lignite mine in east Germany as part of the Ende Gelände mass climate action, 13 May 2016. Photo: 350.org Moritz Richter CC BY-NC 2.0

On 14 May, as part of an international climate action, 2,000 campaigners entered and shut down the massive Welzow-Süd opencast lignite coal mine, and its coal-loading station, in Lusatia in eastern Germany. The protest escalated on the following day as more protesters shut down the nearby Schwarze Pumpe lignite power…

1 June 2016 David Polden

Vanunu charged with new "crimes"

On 8 May, Mordechai Vanunu was charged with several crimes: talking to two US nationals three years ago; saying things – that were not broadcast – during a TV interview last September, something for which he has already been punished; and moving flats within the same building without informing the police.

Vanunu’s real ‘crime’ is that he revealed Israel’s secret nuclear arsenal in 1986 – something for which he has already served 12 years in prison. After the Israeli authorities…

1 April 2016 David Polden

Bil'in resistance now in twelth year

On 26 February, the Israel authorities agreed to release Palestinian journalist Mohammad Al-Qiq on 21 May, a month early, in return for him agreeing to give up his hunger strike and not renew it. Al-Qiq, who works for a Saudi Arabian TV network, was arrested in November at his Ramallah home.

He was placed in administrative detention – without charge, evidence or trial – on suspicion of involvement in terrorism.

Some 700 Palestinians are currently in administrative…

1 April 2016 PN staff

Cases dropped against 20 anti-fracking protestors

More bad news for Manchester police over their handling of the Barton Moss anti-fracking ‘Community Protection Camp’, (November 2013 – April 2014).

In early February, the crown prosecution service (CPS) dropped charges against 20 anti-fracking ‘protectors’ following the acquittal of John Wasilewski and David Cohen on 22 January, according to Netpol, the police monitoring group. (20 more cases were under review.)

District judge Sanders said he was not sure that either…

1 April 2016 David Polden

Arms protestor fined £450

On 16 March, Hammersmith magistrates found Zelda Jeffers guilty of criminal damage to the Lockheed Martin London offices during a protest organised by the Muriel Lesters affinity group of Trident Ploughshares.

This arose from last September’s Defence & Security Equipment International (DSEI) arms fair held at the ExCeL centre in East London. Zelda had sprayed the pillars beside the offices’ front door with a blood-like substance and was charged with ‘criminal damage below £5,…

1 April 2016 Lisa Cumming

Lisa Cumming reports on the West Yorkshire Nonviolent Network's event 'How will peace be built in Syria?'

‘We’re not coming for a better life, we’re simply searching for life itself.’

I’m reminded of this simple statement as I watch the Sunday night news. BBC footage shows yet more people arriving on boats in Lesbos. The reporter tells the husband of a five-month pregnant woman from Syria that they’ve missed the deadline and might be sent back to Turkey due to the new agreement with the EU. The husband’s eyes say everything. Another man quietly asks for mercy.

Sleman…

1 April 2016 PN staff

Climate campaigners threatened with jail receive suspended sentences

In July of last year, 13 climate activists occupied Heathrow airport’s northern runway for six hours, causing around 25 flights to be cancelled. On 24 February, the Heathrow 13, who were found guilty of aggravated trespass and being unlawfully airside, were given suspended sentences of six weeks in prison. This means that if they commit another ‘offence’ in the next 12 months, they will be sent to prison for six weeks for the runway occupation, as well as being sentenced for any new ‘crime…

1 April 2016 Lotte Reimer

Knighton residents to initiate private prosecution of Defence minister over Trident

Photo: Trident Ploughshares

Around 30 people plus a red dragon, with musical accompaniment by Côr Cochion, Côr Gobaith and a trombone, demonstrated outside Merthyr Tydfil magistrates court on 3 February. What was it all about?

A group of Knighton residents are aiming to initiate a private prosecution against the UK secretary of state for defence for conspiring to commit a war crime. They are alleging that the deployment of Trident, the UK’s nuclear weapon system, is a crime.…

1 April 2016 PN staff

Air base blockade marks death of life-long peacemaker

Photo: Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars

On 28 January, 30 life-size cutouts of peacemaker Jerry Berrigan blockaded the main entrance of Hancock air national guard base outside Syracuse, New York. The 12 nonviolent drone resisters who supported the 30 Jerry Berrigans were arrested after blockading for 90 minutes. Jerry Berrigan dedicated his entire life – like his brothers Dan and Phil – to Jesus’ command to love one another. He came to the base for drone…

1 April 2016 Wendy Lewis

Welsh campaigners target Cardiff Arms Fair

Thousands of sci-fi fans queuing around the block at the Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff, to get into the Film and Comic Convention on 5 March met with a musical protest against the arms trade. The prestigious venue was due to host an arms fair, including exhibitions from BAE Systems, the company that provides logistical support to Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine, sells arms to Turkey’s military to bomb the Kurdish people, and profits from death around the world.

Côr Cochion sang…

1 April 2016 PN staff

One-man blockade halts warhead

Photo: John Ainslie

At 5.20pm, 10 March, Scottish Nukewatcher Brian Quail from Glasgow walked out onto a pedestrian crossing in Balloch, near Stirling, and stopped a nuclear warhead convoy on its way from AWE Burghfield to Coulport, where warheads are stored and loaded onto Trident submarines. More info: www.nukewatch.org.uk 

1 April 2016 PN staff

Campaigners bring drilling rig to Westminster

Photo: Greenpeace

On 9 February, Greenpeace installed a realistic-looking 10-metre fracking rig and drill in Parliament Square, London, to ‘bring the local impacts of fracking to the heart of democracy’. The rig gave off a bio ethanol flame every hour, speakers broadcast the sounds of drilling and lorries, and a two-metre-high illuminated road sign gave drivers and passers-by anti-fracking messages (many of them sent in by Greenpeace supporters by social media).

 

1 April 2016 Harry Rogers

Welsh campaigners join 60,000+ strong anti-Trident demo

Singing 'Stop Trident' in London, 27 February. Photo: Lotte Reimer

Three of us pensioners set off from Aberbanc at 5.15 in the morning of 27 March to meet up with a coach full of fellow protesters in Swansea for the Anti-Trident demo in London.

We made new contacts and shared networks on the journey up and back from London, always an important part of the overall occasion.

Luckily, the rain held off and, even though a cold wind blew, the people, old and young together,…

1 February 2016 Chris Bluemel

He fought the law ...

I was charged with assaulting police officer in the execution of his duty on 12 September in the run-up to the DSEI arms fair in East London.

The officer had grabbed me without warning when I was climbing a pillar to reinforce a banner which I had stuck up there a little earlier, and I had swung my arm out to try and make him let of me. The gaffer tape in my hand had hit his face.

There were two lines of defence: firstly, that the police officer was not acting in the…

1 February 2016 Natalie Shanklin

Campaigners bring legal challenge to UK arms exports

The British government must end arms sales to Saudi Arabia because of the Saudi naval blockade of, and air strikes in, Yemen that are breaching international law, according to Amnesty International and Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT). An arms cut-off is supported by most people in the UK, a recent poll has found.

On 10 January, a law firm acting for CAAT began taking legal action against the government, issuing a ‘pre-action protocol letter for judicial review’. Leigh Day cited…

1 February 2016 PN staff

Referendum marks turning point in campaign for new human right

8 million coins are dumped on a public square in Bern as part of the campaign for a basic income. Photo: Stefan Bohrer

2016 may be a big year for the Basic Income, a universal, unconditional, guaranteed income, regardless of people’s availability for work or other income.

There’s to be a national Basic Income referendum in Switzerland in November. Last year, the Swiss parliament overwhelmingly recommended a ‘no’ vote in the referendum.

Despite this, one poll showed 49…

1 February 2016 Lotte Reimer

Supporters pay drone campaigners' fine

In September last year, Anna Jane Evans, Awel Irene, Angharad Tomos and Sian ap Gwynfor were convicted of criminal damage for painting ‘DIM ADAR ANGAU – NO DEATH DRONES’ on Llanbedr Airfield runway and ordered to pay £565 for cleaning the runway.

By the time of the deadline for the payment, contributions had poured in, as explained by Evans: ‘It is with great reluctance I am paying my share of what it cost to clean the runway. I have been overwhelmed by the number of people who…

1 February 2016 Catherine Barter

Crowdfunded basement opens at PN's sister bookshop

A new space, ‘The Vaults’, has opened in the basement of Housmans Bookshop at 5 Caledonian Road, London.

Partly funded by an online crowdfunding campaign, the Vaults had a launch party on 3 December. Visitors will find an expanded selection of fiction, poetry, graphic novels, art and art theory titles, childrens’ books, and more. Upstairs, the shop’s core political stock has also grown, with newly-expanded sections for black politics and anti-racism, health and disability politics…

1 February 2016 David Polden

Nukewatchers detained

On 9 January, police in Stirling detained two lots of activists monitoring nuclear weapons convoys passing through the Scottish town.

Veronika Tudhope, assistant coordinator of Scottish CND, was approached by two police officers while she parked by Stirling Castle. The officers said her car had been reported for ‘erratic driving’ and asked to see under the bonnet.

They then detained her until 10 minutes after the convoy had passed. Veronika commented that she’d been driving…

1 February 2016 PN staff

'Woe to you ... you hypocrites!'

Christian Climate Action outside the DECC, London, 30 November. Photo: CCA

Five Christian climate protestors arrested in Whitehall on 30 November for writing in whitewash and black paint on the wall of the DECC (department for energy and climate change) have had their trial date set for 31 May and 1 June.

On the first day of the Paris climate negotiations, the five painted ‘Dept for Extreme Climate Change’ in black letters on the DECC wall, which they had whitewashed. They…

1 February 2016 David Polden

'Peaton Pirates' take on nukes

On 9 December, Janet, Douglas, David, Brian and Jean, members of the ‘Peaton Pirates’ nuclear disarmament affinity group on arrived at the door of the Scotland Office, Edinburgh, as representing the UK government in Scotland.

Someone calling themselves the ‘deputy policy officer’ agreed to read their letter (which asked the secretary of state for Scotland to explain how Trident could be used in accordance with international humanitarian law) and return to discuss it with them.…

1 February 2016 Lotte Reimer

Heathrow 13 found guilty

Not surprisingly for many of us in Wales, two ‘Machtivists’ are among the ‘Heathrow 13’ climate activists who are on trial as we go to press.

The Machynlleth area in mid-Wales has a proud environmental and climate activist record. Machtivists organised the first Camp against Climate Change in Merthyr in 2009, in support of the residents struggling against Ffos-y-Fran opencast coalmine, and they are involved in the ongoing battle against further mining described elsewhere on this…

1 February 2016 PN staff

Met withdraw defence to avoid disclosure

Image: Emily Johns

On 15 January, Kate Wilson, who was deceived into a relationship with British undercover police officer Mark Kennedy for two years, won a high court battle against Scotland Yard.

The Metropolitan police withdrew its attempt to defend against her claims of deceit, assault/battery, misfeasance in public office and negligence.

The victory came two months after seven other women who were tricked into relationships with undercover police officers received…

1 February 2016 Kelvin Mason

Coal giant attempts to enclose common land

Alyson and Chris Austin, United Valley Action Group. Photo: Friends of the Earth

After the consortium Miller Argent had their proposal for a six-million-tonne open-cast coal mine, Nant Llesg near Rhymney, rejected by Caerphilly council last summer you would have been forgiven for assuming that, after years of the scheme being hotly contested, that was the end of the matter. Not a bit of it.

Despite the strength of resistance to the proposal locally as well as across Wales and…

1 December 2015 PN staff

Aberystwyth peace action


White and red poppy wreaths are laid together during Aberystwyth’s Remembrance Sunday ceremony, after 11 years of negotiations between the town council, the Royal British Legion, and Aberystwyth Peace & Justice Network. Photo: Alun Williams

1 December 2015 Rosie Strickland

Bikes beyond borders!

On August bank holiday, over 80 cyclists set off from Barnehurst station in London with a mission: to deliver bikes to people living in the ‘jungle’ camp at Calais with the hope of making their lives just a little easier. We were a group of passionate and motivated riders of all ages and mixed ethnicities, including a contingent from Wales. Our goal was action in the face of apathy.

The recent rise of the migrant and refugee crisis has been a wake-up call to the European West,…

1 December 2015 Chris Cole

Four anti-drones campaigners convicted of criminal damage

On 20 October, after two days of evidence and legal argument, a judge in Lincoln magistrates court found four anti-drone protesters (Gary ‘Eagle Spits’ Eagling, Katha Karcher, Penny Walker and myself) guilty of criminal damage.

In January 2015, we entered RAF Waddington in order to disrupt ongoing British drone operations in Iraq and Syria. We knew that our presence would trigger a security alert that would put the base on ‘lockdown’ which (in the words of an RAF witness at our…

1 December 2015 David Polden

No NATO, No Muos!

On 11 November, Italian pacifist Turi Vaccaro carried out a Ploughshares action at a 400-acre US military base near Niscemi in Sicily.

He climbed to the top of one of the three huge radar dishes in the base that are part of the US navy’s MUOS satellite communications system. Once there, 40 metres in the air, he used a hammer to disarm the dish’s electrical systems, causing, it’s claimed, over £500,000 (nearly €800,000) worth of damage.

Local people in the ‘No MUOS’…

1 December 2015 David Polden

Second 'Campaign Nonviolence' week sees actions across the US

Campaign Nonviolence at the gates of the White House. Photo: Campaign Nonviolence

On 22 September, 15 peace activists were arrested at the White House in Washington DC at the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance’s ‘Sowing Seeds of Hope’ event calling for policy changes to bring an end to war, poverty, and the climate crisis. This was one of 360 events in the US as part of the 20–27 September ‘Campaign Nonviolence’ week organised by Pace e Bene. 

1 December 2015 PN staff

British nukes latest

It will cost £167bn to replace and maintain Britain’s nuclear arsenal, Conservative MP Crispin Blunt calculated in October, using official figures, just as the Conservative government was hinting that a vote on Trident replacement could come before Christmas.

In a written parliamentary response to Blunt, the minister of state for defence procurement, Philip Dunne, said on 23 October that the acquisition of four new nuclear missile submarines would cost £25bn.

The in-…

1 December 2015 Brian Larkin

Scottish campaigners target financial institutions

Demo at Royal Bank of Scotland's Edinburgh HQ on 16 November. Photo: EP&JC

On 16 November, a group of Scottish peace groups launched a campaign focusing on the links between banks and financial institutions and companies involved in the manufacture of nuclear weapons.

According to ‘Don’t Bank on the Bomb’, a report published by the Dutch peace organisation PAX, 53 financial institutions in the world now prohibit or limit investments in nuclear weapon producers, a 50…

1 December 2015 PN staff

Hinkley Point C protest

Hinkley Point C protest, 10 October: Welsh, French, English, Chinese and Indian activists call the scheme outdated, uneconomical and unreliable. They demand renewed support for renewables and a stop to dependency on nuclear power.

Photo: Wendy Lewis

1 December 2015 Claire Poyner

Eight women (and more) ‘emotionally and sexually violated with state approval’

Eight women, after a four-year struggle, have won an apology from the Metropolitan police, who finally conceded that undercover relationships were an abuse of power and violated women’s human rights. Seven of the women were present at a press conference on 20 November, and they presented their experiences and how the relationships have since affected their lives.

One of the women, Kate Wilson, did not accept any settlement with the police and is continuing her case. She will be…

1 December 2015 No Borders

A report from Calais Migrant Solidarity

In 1999, the French government opened Sangatte, a disused storage warehouse, as a response to the migrants sleeping on the streets of Calais. Until its closure in 2002, the centre was accused of attracting migrants heading for the UK. Sangatte was the scene of mass breakthroughs of Eurotunnel fencing, violence between police and migrants, and grim conditions. But its closure did nothing to reduce the numbers of migrants. They were simply pushed back into the streets, squats and ‘jungles’ of…

1 December 2015 Chris Cole

Injunction should never have been granted rules High Court judge

Campaigners claimed complete victory over drone engine manufacturer UAV Engines at the end of October, when the company withdrew its application to the high court in London to continue an injunction taken out against protesters. Worse was to follow for the Israeli-owned company as justice Charles Purle agreed with campaigners that the injunction should never have been granted in the first place and the high court set the order aside ab initio (‘from the beginning’).

Purle…

1 October 2015 PN staff

Trees replanted in threatened valley

Children fired up to plant trees at a Hastings anti-roads camp, 19 September. Photo: Andrea Needham

Hastings anti-roads group Combe Haven Defenders (CHD) continues to campaign against a road planned for a ‘site of nature conservation interest’. During a pop-up camp (18–20 September) in threatened Hollington Valley, CHD re-planted trees on the planned route.

Local ‘development’ quango SeaChange cut down trees in the valley in preparation for the ‘Queensway Gateway’ road, but…

1 October 2015 Wendy Lewis

Welsh campaigners mark nuclear anniversary

Byth eto! Photo: Wendy Lewis

In South Wales, the 70th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was marked with two vigils. A large crowd including members of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) and CND Cymru gathered by Tredegar Park lake in Newport Gwent. They heard Paul Flynn, MP for Newport West, a message of solidarity from Hiroshima, readings, and songs from Frankie Armstrong and Côr Cochion.

Cardiff’s annual remembrance at Roath…

1 October 2015 Dan Viesnik

Dan Viesnik surveys a week of creative disruption

Activists stop deliveries to the DSEI arms fair on 12 September. PHOTO: DAN VIESNIK

There were huge tailbacks during day-long blockades of both entrances to the ExCeL exhibition centre in East London on 12 September, as a day of mass action capped a week of creative disruption in the run-up to the huge biannual DSEI arms fair.

On Monday 7 September, the week of action was launched with a blockade in solidarity with Palestine. Activists stopped a military vehicle from entering…

1 October 2015 Kelvin Mason

Coal campaigners win Caerphilly victory

Activists celebrate the Caerphilly council’s vote against Nant Llesg open cast mine. Photo: LOTTE REIMER

Back in October 2007, George Monbiot published The New Coal Age. Expressing his absolute incomprehension and dismay, Monbiot wrote: ‘If this is allowed to happen, we might as well give up now.’ He was, of course, talking about Ffos y Fran opencast coalmine.

Well, our authorities in Wales, from the Labour-controlled government to Merthyr Tydfil council, did allow…

1 October 2015 Chris Cole

British drones kill British citizens

The British defence secretary has given up on ‘innocent until proven guilty by a jury of peers’, and introduced a new legal principle: ‘innocent until the government believes you are likely to commit a crime’.

In an interview on Radio 4’s Today programme on 8 September 2015, Michael Fallon justified the killing by a British drone of two British citizens (Reyaad Khan and Ruhul Amin), and another unidentified man, by referring three times to the risk of a ‘likely’ terrorist attack:…

1 August 2015 Lotte Reimer

Welsh campaigners open cultural front

Campaign Choirs stall at the street choirs festival PHOTO: Kelvin Mason

Austerity, exploitation and inequality go hand in hand and there is a rising anti-austerity movement throughout Wales, with numerous grassroots groups springing up across the country.

On 20 June, as more than 250,000 people protested in London, hundreds marched in Aberystwyth, led by the inimitable, battle-scarred red dragon Y Ddraig Goch of Faslane fame. Marching to singing and drumming, marchers demanded…

1 August 2015 David Polden

Khader Adnan released after 55 day hunger strike

Khader Adnan, a 37-year-old baker and father of six, was released from an Israeli prison on 12 July, after a 55-day hunger strike that left him near death.

Khader launched his hunger strike on 7 May to protest at the renewal of his ‘administrative detention’ (indefinite detention without charge) after six years in and out of administrative detention.

Khader was re-arrested on 13 July. The Israeli political police, the Shin Beit, said he had been arrested for trying to…

1 August 2015 PN staff

Making PN more useful to our movements?

On 12 September, a group of readers, writers, volunteers, staff, trustees and all-round good people will be coming together in central London (11am - 4pm) to think about how Peace News can be even more useful to grassroots movements for social change.

We’re looking for folk new to activism, and people who’ve been hard at it for some time; we’re looking for old-timers steeped in the history and culture of Peace News and for campaigners just getting to know us.…

1 August 2015 Chris Cole

UK set to escalate unmanned attacks

Rooftop protestors shut down Instro Precision an Elbit weapons factory in Broadstairs Photo: East Kent Campaign Against Arms Trade

A year after the UK doubled its drone fleet, David Cameron visited RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire on 13 July to signal further commitment to – and spending on – military drone aircraft. The prime minister told the media that he had asked the military to look at how to do more to counter the threat posed by the jihadist group ISIS, including spending more…

1 August 2015 David Polden

Swedish ship boarded & passengers detained

Marianne av Göteborg arrives in Palermo, Sicily. Photo: FREEDOM FLOTILLA COALITION

At 2am on 29 June, Marianne, one of four boats bound for Gaza in the latest attempt to break the Israeli siege, was surrounded by three Israeli navy boats while in international waters 85 miles from the Gaza coast, according to Freedom Flotilla organisers.

The Swedish ship was boarded and searched by Israeli soldiers who detained all 18 people on board. Organisers described this an ‘act…

1 August 2015

6,000 sign petition against new opencast coal mine

Bargains protest in Aberystwyth. PHOTO: Kelvin Mason

More than 6,000 people have signed a petition demanding that the Welsh government call in a planning application for a new opencast coal mine, Nant Llesg, in the Rhymney Valley. If the government called in the application they would take over the decision-making power from the local authority, Caerphilly council.

The petition followed an historic vote in the Welsh assembly on 22 April in favour of a moratorium on opencast…

1 August 2015 PN staff

Climate change activists take action in wake of Airports Commission recommendations

On the north runway, Heathrow, 13 July. Photo: Plane Stupid

On 13 July, 12 climate change activists from anti-airport expansion direct action group, Plane Stupid, broke into Heathrow airport in west London at 3.30am. They locked-on to fencing on the north runway, disrupting flights for eight hours, leading to 22 flights being cancelled.

The protesters said that going ahead with the recent Airports Commission recommendation of a third Heathrow runway would make it impossible…

1 August 2015 Andrew Gibson

New education pack to be released

The keynote speaker at ‘Drones and Forever War: Sharing information, building the campaign’ on 11 July was Chris Woods, author of Sudden Justice: America’s Secret Drone Wars.

The gathering, organised by the Drone Campaign Network, was a great opportunity for campaigners to update themselves on drone issues, to network and to plan campaigns.

Chris Woods charted the increase in the use of drones by the US, aided by US president Barack Obama’s enthusiasm for them…

1 August 2015 PN staff

Volunteers needed to categorise, code, pack and sell.

PN needs volunteers for a variety of jobs, including ‘web categorising’, which is to do with labelling things on our website (full training given). There are other computery jobs like this which can be done remotely.

We also love it when folk can sell/distribute the paper at events, and we appreciate help with packing the paper when it comes in from the printer. If you have some hours to spare, please do get in touch with us on 0207 278 3344 or…

1 August 2015 PN staff

250,000 march in London as meals on wheels slashed by 81%

Demonstrators navigate a rising tide of anger against cuts in Whitehall, London, 20 June. Photo: PN

In the first four years of the coalition government, there was a 16 percent cut in real terms in children’s services in Britain (in terms of spending per child), as local government spending has been squeezed by national government.

Over 150,000 older people have lost access to care at home since 2010 because of government ‘austerity’ measures, amounting to a 28 percent cut.…

1 August 2015 David Polden

MoD rubbish McNeilly allegations

On 16 June, the navy gave Trident whistleblower William McNeilly a ‘dishonourable discharge’, one month after he published an 18-page exposé of safety and security faults on nuclear missile submarine HMS Victorious, which he had recently served on. No legal action is being taken against McNeilly by the navy.

The navy rubbished McNeilly’s allegations as ‘subjective and unsubstantiated’, and held an inquiry that concluded that his claims were ‘factually incorrect or the…

1 June 2015 David Polden

Tamarians occupy Plymouth church

Anti-Trident activists occupied a ruined church in Plymouth for the day on 28 April. The Tamarians affinity group put up banners (including ‘Vote Out Trident’) in Charles church, which was bombed in the Second World War and is now a war memorial.

The local Conservative candidate said: ‘People gave so much for the freedom of this country…. Charles Church is symbolic of those sacrifices and I object to it being politicised in this way.’


1 June 2015 David Polden

NPT protests stretch around the globe

Co-ordinated protests against nuclear weapons stretched around the world at the end of April, including a global ‘wave’ of demonstrations.

On 28 April, the second day of the UN-sponsored Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) review conference in New York, 22 protesters were arrested after nonviolently blockading the two main entrances to the US mission to the UN in the city.

The blockaders, from a variety of US peace organisations, called on the US to abolish its…

1 June 2015 PN staff

Scottish direct action protest draws 250

On 13 April, 34 protesters were arrested as they blockaded Faslane naval base near Glasgow, where Britain’s Trident nuclear submarines are kept. The Scrap Trident coalition’s ‘Bairns Not Bombs’ action (which kept the base closed from 7am until workers were sent home at 1.30pm) brought together 250 trade unionists, party activists, religious groups, environmental campaigners and community members, on the Global Day of Action on Military Spending. The blockade followed the 4,000-strong…

1 June 2015 PN staff

New app to 'educate' soldiers

The ‘Fighter, not Killer’ app for Apple and Android smartphones, launched on 19 May, is the latest effort by Swiss group ‘Geneva Call’ to educate armed groups on the humanitarian laws of war.

Available in Arabic, English and French, the free downloadable quiz works through 28 scenarios to explain the legal principles that should guide armed action.

This follows Geneva Call’s use of online and broadcast video, and a booklet of cartoons, to spread the same key points to…

1 June 2015 David Polden

Whistleblower could face charges

On 18 May, William McNeilly, 25, an able seaman who had served on patrol on Trident submarine HMS Victorious from January to April this year, handed himself in to police after publishing online an 18-page exposé of safety and security flaws on Britain’s Trident submarine fleet.

McNeilly said that the faults on Victorious were so severe as to question the UK’s ability to successfully launch a Trident nuclear weapon strike (which may of course be seen as a good…

1 June 2015 Chris Cole

Britain carries out 100 armed drone attacks against ISIS insurgency

The British ministry of defence has concealed the details of one in five UK drone strikes in Iraq over the last six months, and held back all location information for two out of five drone strikes there.

Responding to a Freedom of Information (FoI) request from Drone Wars UK, the MoD reported that 202 British air strikes (by drones and by Tornado aircraft) targeted the ISIS insurgency in Iraq up until the end of March 2015. At least a further 32 strikes have taken place in April…

31 March 2015 Phil Steele

Japanese ex-PM backs anti-Wylfa campaign

 

Generally, prime ministers and presidents are the last to admit they got something wrong. The sound of Tony Blair saying sorry is the sound of silence. So credit to Naoto Kan, Japanese PM at the time of the (ongoing) Fukushima disaster.

Formerly pro-nuclear, Kan makes no bones about getting it wrong. He came to Wales to warn that Wylfa B, Horizon Nuclear’s proposed plant in Anglesey, would be a terrible mistake.

During the last few years members of anti-nuclear group PAWB (…

31 March 2015 Kelvin Mason

Ceredigion council becomes first Welsh ‘frack-free’ local authority

Elements of a campaign by Frack Free Wales came together in January when Ceredigion council voted to become the first ‘frack-free’ local authority in Wales.

Fracking is shorthand for ‘hydraulic fracturing’ for oil or gas, underground coal gasification, and coal-bed methane, all of which threaten Wales.

None of these fuels exist in Ceredigion, however. The council’s decision reflected its commitment to moving away from all fossil fuels, which drive climate change.…

31 March 2015 Lotte Reimer

Welsh choir blockades Burghfield

On 24 January, as part of a UK-wide protest at the cost of Trident, CND Cymru and radical choir Côr Cochion were joined at the Royal Gwent Hospital by activists from across Wales. Patients and visitors joined in, and choir singing was accompanied by toots of support from passing motorists.

As part of a month of action against Trident in the lead up to the election, Côr Cochion were in action again at Burghfield in March.

The choir blockaded the South gate of the nuclear bomb…

31 March 2015 Angie Zelter

Angie Zelter reports on a musical action

On 11 March, 14 singers from Wales, London and Corby sang Trident – A British War Crime: An Oratorio in the lobby hall of the house of commons in London, writes Angie Zelter. The singers used the right to lobby MPs by singing for 15 minutes rather than speaking. The sergeant at arms told us that we could possibly get official permission to perform the oratorio in the houses of parliament. Photo: Action AWE www.actionawe.org

31 March 2015 David Polden

Picaroon action hits Faslane

Jean Oliver, Janet Fenton and David MacKenzie from the ‘Peaton Peace Pirate’ (PPP) wing of Trident Ploughshares were arrested on 2 February after committing the dastardly deed of pinning a set of ‘Pirate Peace Articles’ to the fence around the Faslane naval base where Britain’s Trident nuclear missile submarines are housed.

The articles stated that the PPPs were committed to disarming the UK nuclear fleet by nonviolent methods, and cited international law in support.

31 March 2015

Praise Gandhi and pass the ammunition ...

On 14 March, Britain’s military commander-in-chief David Cameron (ordering drone and air strikes in Syria and Iraq, and authorising arms exports to 18 countries about whom the foreign office has the ‘most serious wide-ranging human rights concerns’) unveiled a nine-foot bronze statue of pacifist icon Mohandas Gandhi. The glorification of the Indian ascetic in Parliament Square in London cost over £1m (the Martin Luther King Jr memorial in Washington DC, USA, cost over £80m). Cameron said of…

31 March 2015 David Polden

Defendants' lawyers say move prompted by desire to conceal UK arms exports info

At the end of January, the prosecution dropped criminal charges against against nine London Palestine Action (LPA) activists who shut down a drones factory for two days last summer (see PN 2574–2575).

The Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (‘drone’) engine factory in Shenstone near Birmingham is owned by Israeli military technology firm Elbit Systems.

Lawyers for the defendants told Electronic Intifada that either Elbit or the UK government decided to withdraw…

31 March 2015 Milan Rai

A brief report-back from the Nuclear Information Service's 'Trident Strategy Day'

The best bit of the Nuclear Information Service ‘Trident Strategy Day’ in London on 5 February (above), writes Milan Rai, was probably hearing Janet Fenton (Scotland for Peace) and Brian Larkin (Trident Ploughshares/Scrap Trident Coalition) on what’s happening in Scotland and how it might stop Trident being replaced. There were over 40 activists, analysts and lobbyists sharing ideas and activities. Photo: PN

1 February 2015 Chris Cole

As air war continues, secrecy over UK drone leads to speculation re. possible Mali deployment

On 12 January, the secretary of state for defence, Michael Fallon, told the house of commons that there had been 99 UK airstrikes in Iraq since the beginning of the air campaign on 22 October. The following day, the ministry of defence (MoD) reported a further strike bringing the total to 100. By our calculations, using reports published by the MoD on their website, approximately one-third of the airstrikes have been carried out by the UK’s armed Reaper drones.

However, it appears…

1 February 2015 Lotte Reimer

Trident could be deal breaker in event of hung parliament

In December, the three women leaders of Plaid Cymru – the Party of Wales, the Scottish National Party and the Green Party of England and Wales (Leanne Wood, Nicola Sturgeon and Natalie Bennett) agreed to join forces to oppose billions being wasted on the replacement of Britain’s Trident nuclear weapon system, calling instead for investment in communities, creating jobs and rebuilding the economy.

In the event of a hung parliament in May, with these three parties together…

1 February 2015 Kelvin Mason

Wales is ready to take on the extreme energy industry, reports Kelvin Mason.

Eviction of Borras and Holt Community Protection Camp. Photo: Dave Ellison

In January 2014, Westminster prime minister David Cameron announced that his government was ‘going all out for fracking’. (Fracking is the high-pressure hydraulic fracturing of shale rock deep underground to extract natural gas or other fossil fuels.) As an inducement to local authorities, councils were allowed to keep 100% of business rates from shale gas sites.

Defying public opinion, the government also…

1 February 2015 David Polden

Activists break into UK drone base

Four peace activists, Chris Cole, Penny Walker, Gary Eagling and Katharina Karcher, were arrested inside RAF Waddington, in Lincolnshire, on 5 January, while protesting against the use of armed drones.

The four cut a ‘New Year Gateway for Peace’ into the base and walked towards the Reaper ground control station from which RAF ‘pilots’ operate armed drones. The activists carried banners and reports of civilian casualties from recent UK, NATO and coalition airstrikes in Afghanistan and…

1 February 2015 David Polden

US peace campaigner jailed for drones action

On 23 January, US peace activist Kathy Kelly handed herself in to authorities in Kentucky to start a three-month prison sentence (see p8), one part of the US movement against drone warfare.

On 26 November, on the west coast of the US, Chris Nelson and Shirley Osgood deliberately ‘crossed the line’ outside Beale air force base in California. They handed in a letter asking the base commander to end his role in ‘the kill chain which uses the Global Hawk drone to identify human…

1 February 2015 PN

Five go adventuring in Faslane

On 17 December, five Trident Ploughshares activists painted ‘Scrap Trident, Ban Nukes’ onto the fence around the Faslane nuclear base north of Glasgow. Mary Millington, Gillian Lawrence, Janet Fenton, Barbara Maver and Brian Quail (left to right) were the campaigners taking on Britain’s only nuclear weapons base, home to the UK’s four Trident nuclear submarines. The Scrap Trident coalition is planning a demonstration in Glasgow on 4 April, and a ‘Big Blockade’ of Faslane on 13 April. Photo:…

1 February 2015 Georgia Elander

Thousands surround MoD to launch CND's general election campaign

3,000 peace activists hold a giant ‘peace scarf’ in Whitehall.
Photo: Dan Viesnik

On 24 January, activists from across the UK gathered in London to protest against the renewal of Britain’s nuclear weapons system. Protesters encircled the ministry of defence and other government buildings with a colourful ‘peace scarf’, knitted in 2014 by thousands of activists from across the globe for the ‘Wool Against Weapons’ campaign. The scarf will now be turned into blankets and sent to areas of…

1 February 2015 David Polden

Hunger strikes, war resistance and BDS ...

On 17 December, 100 Palestinian political prisoners ended a solidarity hunger strike after the Israeli prison authorities agreed to stop holding Nahar al-Saadi in solitary confinement and to allow him contact with his family (he had been held in solitary for over 570 days).

The authorities also agreed to end the use of solitary confinement ‘without cause’ – a promise they made previously after the mass hunger strike of mid-2012 (PN 2547-2548).

In other news, after…

1 February 2015 PN staff

44 states press for nuclear disarmament

Nuclear weapons should be banned. That was the view expressed by 44 of the 158 states attending the Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons in December.

The host nation, Austria, took this one stage further at the end of the conference by publicly pledging to seek a treaty to ban the Bomb. Austria called on all parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to ‘identify and pursue effective measures to fill the legal gap for the prohibition and elimination…

25 November 2014 Kelvin Mason

White poppies binned - and restored - in Aberystwyth

Aberystwyth Town councillor Jeff Smith lays the white poppy wreath for the second time. Photo: Kelvin Mason

As you read, imagine the contrast between the sea of red poppies gushing from the Tower of London and four fragile white poppy wreaths laid on a storm-lashed memorial in a small seaside town. On Remembrance Sunday, Aberystwyth town council, Aberystwyth Peace and Justice Network (AP&JN), Women in Black and Côr Gobaith laid white poppy wreaths at the war memorial in…

25 November 2014 Kimberly Golden

Occupy Christmas anyone?

PAINTING: Jon Lockwood

Around 150 Occupy protesters held the area outside the supreme court near Parliament Square, London, over the weekend of 21-23 November. In mid-October, Occupy Democracy were a presence in the square for nine days, during which police arrested 40 people. Both events saw lectures, discussions and readings. Next event 20-21 December. 

25 November 2014 David Polden

From Sodastream to Zim (and beyond)

In October, there were several victories in the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel.

Kuwait announced it will not deal with 50 European companies because of their involvement in illegal settlements in occupied Palestine. Israeli-owned soft drink company SodaStream moved one of its factories out of the Occupied Territories.

Israeli shipping line Zim apparently cancelled all future shipments to the port of Oakland, after nonviolent blockades.…

25 November 2014 Lotte Reimer

Welsh activists 'drape the drones' at Parc Aberporth

Kites not drones at Poppit Sands. Photo: Jill Gough

International Peace Day, 21 September, was celebrated by a ‘Drape the Drones’ event at Parc Aberporth. Protesters sealed off the roundabout and site entrance with colourful scarves – ably assisted by a friendly policeman who not only stopped the traffic but also ordered drivers to switch off their engines to ‘hear the singing’.

The action was a precursor to the first Global Action Day Against the Use of Drones for Surveillance and…

25 November 2014 PN

Photo action for Guantanamo detainee

On 24 November, a new human rights group, ‘We Stand With Shaker’, launched itself opposite parliament in London, calling for the release of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in Guantánamo, and his return to his family in the UK. Despite being approved for release twice by the US authorities – under president George W Bush in 2007 and under president Barack Obama in 2009, Shaker is still in Guantánamo. The launch was attended by Clive Stafford Smith, director of Reprieve; John McDonnell…

25 November 2014 David Polden

New banning orders for the law-abiding

At the 2014 Tory party conference, home secretary Theresa May announced that the Conservative election manifesto for the 2015 election will pledge the introduction of banning orders for extremist groups and ‘extremism disruption orders’ for extremists who ‘who stay just within the law but still spread poisonous hatred’.

But what is an ‘extremist’? David Cameron said Conservatives want to look at the ‘full spectrum of extremism’ and not just the ‘hard end’. Thus the policy says…

25 November 2014 Wendy Lewis and Ray Davies

Garden handed over to Community Trust

For nearly 20 years (1981-2000), the women of Greenham campaigned relentlessly against land-based Cruise missiles. They put their lives at risk for peace and Helen Thomas, a young Welsh peace activist from Newcastle Emlyn, was killed at Greenham Common in an accident on 5 August 1989.

When the base closed, the women planned a garden on the site of the nuclear nightmare. To honour Greenham’s strong Welsh connections, they decided to use pPennant sandstone from Wales for the…

25 November 2014 David Polden

Updates on two US war resisters

An African-American US Iraq veteran may be able to claim asylum in the EU after arguing that the Iraq war was illegal. On 11 November, a German judge ruled that military deserters may be able to claim asylum in the European Union if they have a reasonable fear that they would have been ordered to commit war crimes if they hadn’t deserted, and if they face punishment on returning to their home country.

Eleanor Sharpston, the advocate general of the Munich administrative court, was…

28 September 2014 Lotte Reimer

11-mile scarf links Burghfield & Aldermaston

On Nagasaki Day, 9 August, many from across Wales joined with others from the UK, Europe and the rest of the world in stretching a colourful 11-mile-long knitted scarf between the Aldermaston and Burghfield nuclear bomb factories.

It was a beautiful, joyful culmination of months of extraordinary effort by so many people and, coinciding with the big demonstrations for Gaza in London and elsewhere, poignantly showed the need for general disarmament and spending of resources in…

28 September 2014 PN staff

Counter-summit calls for abolition

No to NATO march, Newport. Photo: Marian Delyth

 

On 2 September, the annual meeting of the international network ‘No to War – No to NATO’ called for the abolition of NATO. They rejected the planned opening of further NATO military bases and the deployment of soldiers from NATO member states to Eastern Europe, and stated that the ‘conflict in Ukraine has been substantially escalated by NATO’. The network went on: ‘Currently, NATO views Russia…

28 September 2014 Kimberly Golden

Bailiffs anticipated at 3rd runway camp

It’s been a symbol of resistance to the third runway at Heathrow for four-and-a-half years, but after a July court ruling, the campaigners behind a community space in Sipson are under threat of eviction.

The ‘Grow Heathrow’ campaign began in 2010, when activists took over a neglected property on the site of the proposed new runway for Heathrow airport. Since then, the group has been fighting a battle in court to remain on the land.

In mid-July, the high court ruled in…

28 September 2014 PN staff

International nonviolence initiative begins its first week of action.

As Peace News went to press, Campaign Nonviolence (CNV), a US nonviolence study/action initiative, was beginning its first week of action, which had been a year in the making. There were 227 marches, rallies, vigils, festivals, celebrations and other events planned across all 50 states of the continental USA, starting on 21 September.

The purpose of the week of action is to launch a long-term movement to build a culture of peace and nonviolence free from war, poverty,…

28 September 2014 Angie Zelter

Action take place across Wales

Machynlleth Gaza vigil. Photo: Marian Delyth

The heart-breaking news from Gaza spurned solidarity actions across Wales: vigils, marches and fundraising. Phil Steele of Bangor & Ynys Môn Peace & Justice group said that the ‘group normally take a break in August but, as so often happens, events allowed little respite’. He reported: ‘August was dominated by the terrible news from Gaza. This coincided with the group showing the ‘Silent Lives’ exhibition of children’s photographs of life…

28 September 2014 Milan Rai

Pacific Islanders take to the seas in climate change blockade

On 17 October, 30 Pacific Climate Warriors from 12 different Pacific islands are arriving in Australia to paddle traditional canoes they have built themselves into the harbour of the world’s largest coal port – Newcastle – to stop coal exports for a day.

Newcastle port shipped 150m tonnes of coal in 2013, and is set to expand its capacity by another 70m tonnes a year. The Pacific Climate Warriors, supported by 350.org, describe the carbon emissions of the coal and gas industries…

28 September 2014 David Polden

Rooftop occupation leads to 4 arrests

UAV factory, Shenstone, 5 August. Photo: London Palestine Action

On 5 September, on the second day of the NATO summit in Newport, Wales, about 40 people entered Barclays High Street branch in the town shouting ‘Stop arming Israel’ and ‘Barclays divest from the arms trade’. Barclays have almost 60,000 shares in Elbit. Four people were arrested and charged with aggravated trespass after glueing-on inside the office.

28 September 2014 David Polden

David Polden surveys actions in the UK, US and Israel

On 9 August, during an overwhelming Israeli attack on Gaza, an estimated 150,000 people marched from the BBC’s Broadcasting House HQ in central London to a Hyde Park rally in Britain’s biggest-ever demonstration for Gaza. This followed a demonstration on 15 July, when 5,000 protested at the BBC’s one-sided coverage of the Israeli assault, bringing the roads around the Broadcasting House to a standstill.

Some 2,100 inhabitants of Gaza, including over 400 children, were killed by…

28 September 2014 Ray Davies

CND Cymru mark atom bomb anniversary

CND Cymru commemorated the 69th anniversary of Hiroshima’s tragedy, when the US dropped the first atomic bomb on the city in 1945, with a slow peace walk around the Eisteddfod Maes in Llanelli, accompanied by Côr Cochion’s songs of peace, and the unrolling of a portion of the 11-mile-long ‘Wool against Weapons’ knitting. The second bomb, dropped on 9 August 1945, devastated Nagasaki.

In memory of its victims, Côr Cochion sang the poetic ‘Lullaby of Oleander’ by a Japanese A-bomb…

21 July 2014

Faslane Peace Camp strikes again!

Early on 11 July, a military convoy carrying nuclear warheads was stopped for one hour near Loch Lomond by protesters from Faslane Peace Camp. One person climbed on top of a nuclear transporter; four were arrested.

The 20-vehicle convoy, with four special transporter lorries to carry 100-kiloton nuclear warheads, had driven through the centre of Glasgow shortly after midnight.

The convoy, from AWE Burghfield to the Coulport nuclear store, was tracked by Nukewatch and…

21 July 2014 Lotte Reimer

Killed soldiers remembered

A memorial to Welsh soldiers killed in Flanders will be unveiled there in August.

MEP Jill Evans has congratulated the ‘Welsh memorial in Flanders’ campaign for raising awareness of the tens of thousands of Welsh soldiers who were killed in action in Flanders, including the poet Hedd Wyn.

Jill Evans, who is working closely with the Flemish Peace Institute to establish a similar Institute in Wales, said: ‘As we reach the centenary of the start of World War One, it is…

21 July 2014 Kelvin Mason

Giant red dragon gathers signatures in Aberystwyth

Co-ordinated by Friends of the Earth Cymru, 5 July was a ‘Wales Against Fracking’ day of action.

Across Wales, groups mounted events to gather signatures on a petition to the Welsh government for a moratorium on extreme energy. Many communities in Wales are threatened by fracking, underground coal-gasification or coal-bed methane extraction.

Extreme energy keeps us hooked on the fossil fuels that drive climate change, risks contaminating water, and diverts investment…

21 July 2014 Jill Gough

Actions planned against Newport summit

Since the end of the Cold War, NATO has become a vehicle for US-led use of force in the interests of the rich and powerful. It bypasses the United Nations and the system of international law, accelerates and promotes militarisation and escalates spending on armaments, with NATO countries accounting for 75% of global military expenditure.

Preparations are under way for a range of anti-NATO activities in late August and September as NATO holds its next summit meeting in Newport, 4…

21 July 2014 Angie Zelter

Nukes shopped to cops

At 2.30pm on 30 June, 15 people arrived to report the Trident nuclear weapons system as a crime at Llandrindod police station as part of the Action AWE week of ‘Reportings of Trident Crime’ all around the country.

A Llandrindod police sergeant said that a rural police force could not deal with these kinds of crimes as they had no knowledge of international law. I asked that they deal with it in the same way as they would deal with a report of a threat to murder, because when the…

21 July 2014 David Polden

Trident Ploughshares strikes again!

On 9 June, the Trident Ploughshares direct action network blocked all vehicle entrances at the Atomic Weapons Establishment (awe) Burghfield for five hours. The factory cancelled all deliveries for the day.

The action, which was part of the Action AWE campaign, began at 6.45am with blockades of all three vehicle entrances. At the Construction Gate, a trailer was steered across the entrance and four protesters locked-on. A ministry of defence (MoD) road leading to the Main Gate was…

21 July 2014 PN staff

Judge order further disclosures by end of July

As PN went to press, the Metropolitan police were only days away from having to confirm or deny that senior management had allowed male undercover officers to deceive women activists into long-term intimate relationships.

On 2 July, after three years of legal action, five of the women involved won a significant legal victory in London’s high court.

Mr justice Bean ruled that the Metropolitan police could not use a policy of ‘neither confirm nor deny’ [NCND] as…

21 July 2014 Gabriel Carlyle

A sharp increase in civilian casualties in Afghanistan following the closure of some US/NATO bases suggests that ordinary Afghans are now paying the price for the US decision to block earlier peace initiatives.

On 9 July, the UN reported a 24% increase in civilian casualties compared to the same period in 2013, noting that: ‘In 2014, the fight is increasingly taking place in communities, public places and near the homes of ordinary Afghans, with death and injury to women and children in a continued disturbing upward spiral’.

According to the report, these developments were, at least in part, a consequence of the closure of US/NATO bases and command posts, which has led to an increased…

21 July 2014 PN staff

British activists head for Beirut

At 3pm on 12 July, British peace activists Maria Gallastegui and Simon Moore set out from Gabriel’s Wharf on London’s South Bank, in Rumi, a 16-foot-long ‘Wayfarer’ sailing boat. They are aiming to sail to Beirut, Lebanon.

In their statement, Maria and Simon said: ‘We are going to Lebanon in order to raise awareness and support for the Syrian refugee community and to call for peaceful change within Syria for a just society. We support groups and individuals who are working…

21 July 2014 David Polden

83 hospitalised during hunger strike

Inside Israel-Palestine, nonviolent campaigning is increasingly repressed, even as the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign wins victories abroad.

The recent mass hunger-strike of Palestinian detainees ended on 24 June, when 80 of the prisoners reached a deal with prison authorities, winning only minor concessions. The main demand of the strike, an end to detention without trial, was not met.

The strike had lasted 63 days and it had been reported that as…

21 July 2014 Lotte Reimer

Knitters prepare for nine-mile Aldermaston action

On 5 July, a 120-metre-long pink scarf, knitted by opponents of nuclear weapons, was unfurled through the centre of Knighton (Tref-y-clawdd).

The unfurling procession was led by a town crier, joined by the Teme Valley Ceilidh Band, hand-bell ringers, the Pales Peace Choir and a huge Welsh red dragon.

Many local residents offered their support to the knitters. Knighton resident Karen Plant said: ‘This protest has been fun but it has a serious message, namely the…

21 July 2014 Gabriel Carlyle

As the UK sends five additional armed Reaper drones to Afghanistan, campaigners continue to challenge government secrecy surrounding British drone operations.

On 3 July, the ministry of defence (MoD) announced that the five Reaper drones – purchased as an ‘Urgent Operational Requirement’ in 2010, at the cost of roughly £100m – had finally begun operations in Afghanistan. According to MoD figures obtained by Drone Wars UK under the Freedom of Information Act (FoI), RAF pilots fired 15 Hellfire missiles from drones in Afghanistan in the first four months of 2014 – 11 from UK drones, and four from US drones.

Drones appeal

On 22…

9 June 2014 PN

On International Conscientious Objectors Day

PHOTO: ALEX GERRARD/PAX CHRISTI

Watched by Valerie Flessati (left) of the First World War Peace Forum, at the 15 May Conscientious Objectors (CO) Day ceremony in Tavistock Square in central London, Cindy Sharkey (right) remembers her CO grandfather who refused to fight in the First World War.

A socialist member of the Independent Labour Party, Eleazor ‘Dil’ Thomas refused to participate in what he saw as a capitalist war, waged to preserve the empire. As well as remembering women war…

9 June 2014

On 21 June, British peace activists Maria Gallastegui and Simon Moore will embark on a 3,500-mile voyage from London to Lebanon in solidarity with the people of Syria, sailing in a 16-foot Wayfarer dinghy.

Sail4Syria updates: http://syriapeaceandjustice.wordpress.com

9 June 2014 PN

At the London Transport Museum

On 16 May, London CAAT carried out a banner drop inside the London Transport Museum to protest at their decision to take sponsorship money from Thales, the 11th-largest arms company in the world. Thales has used the museum’s rooms to meet with the government’s arms export-promoting body (the UK trade & investment defence & security organisation). Follow ‘London Campaign Against Arms Trade’ on Facebook or on Twitter (@londoncaat) to get involved. Next monthly demo at 2pm on 21 June.…

9 June 2014 David Polden

43 protesters arrested at spy HQ and air force bases in the US

A 90-by-60-foot poster of a Pakistani child who has lost both her parents and two young siblings in a US drone attack, displayed in a field in the Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa region of Pakistan, where a drone strike in November 2013 killed five people and led to  a road blockade by thousands of people. This image was created by a collective of artists in Pakistan and the US, who gave it the title #NotABugSplat. US Predator drone operators often refer to kills as ‘bug splats’, as viewing the body…

9 June 2014 Johanna Deeksha

Peace News investigates a London activist on whom suspicions have been cast....

In mid-April, Peace News managed to interview the man known as ‘Megaphone Mitch’, who organized the 800-strong ‘March against Corruption’ on 1 March. The report in PN described some of the fascination surrounding a man with ‘little track record’ of activism. (PN 2568-2569).

Some accused Mitch and his supporters of having links with British intelligence or the police; others accused him of being anti-semitic or being too ‘rightist’. Many demanded on social media to know who he was.…

9 June 2014 Ray Davies

The sun shone down on Cardiff city centre, the day made even more attractive and colourful by the trade union banners of the May Day march.

The main focus of the march was the unrelenting attacks by the Tory/Lib Dem government on the poor, disabled and pensioners.

Over 3,000 homes in South Wales, mainly one-parent families, have been caught up in the Bedroom Tax. Every benefit to the unemployed and disabled has been ruthlessly cut; and even though the financial crisis was…

9 June 2014 PN

'Death of the valley'

Nant Llesg opencast coalmine protest.
PHOTO: WALESONLINE

Desperate to stop the plans for the opencast coalmine development at Nant Llesg, campaigners staged a spectacular mock funeral ‘the death of the valley’ at Caerphilly County Borough Council’s headquarters on 22 April. The council decision is still pending.  

9 June 2014 Ray Davies

In this centenary year of World War, everyone seems to be looking for stories from that conflict. One that encompasses the tragedy is the story of the Welsh poet Hedd Wyn.

Ray Davies (centre) and Gerald Williams (right)
at Hedd Wyn’s cottage. PHOTO: WENDY LEWIS

On our way through North Wales, we passed through Trawsfynydd and called on Hedd Wyn’s nephew, Gerald Williams. He led us over the threshold of the poet’s isolated farmhouse amidst the beautiful mountains of Snowdonia. Hedd Wyn’s mother had kept the cottage exactly as it had been – the books with his handwritten notes on the shelves by the fireplace, the photos on the walls, the small parlour…

9 June 2014 David Polden

On 24 April, Palestinian prisoners in Israel began a new open-ended hunger strike. The detainees are being held on rolling six-month administrative detention orders without charge or prospect of trial, and they are demanding their release on the grounds that they are being held in violation of international law, that they should be put on trial, and that there should be an end to the repeated renewal of detention orders.

At the time of…

9 June 2014 Milan Rai

On 17 May, 100 friends and colleagues of the British pacifist author and activist Howard Clark gathered at a ceremony organised by Peace News Trustees in Conway Hall, London.

At the close of the event, Howard’s daughter Violeta said that when she was asked at school what work her father did, she hadn’t known what to say – he seemed to do some teaching, some writing, some peace work: ‘I thank you because now I know.’

During the preceding two hours, we heard from friends and collaborators, including April Carter, Diana Francis, Bob Overy and Michael Randle, who testified to Howard’s intellectual capabilities, dedication, and talent as an editor.…

9 June 2014 Jill Gibbon

Rolls-Royce directors were confronted with the harrowing testimony of Setsuko Thurlow, a Hiroshima survivor, at their AGM on 1 May. Although the quote was lengthy, the chair was too disorientated to interrupt, and the board responded with nervous laughter.

Rolls-Royce provides power systems for Britain’s Trident nuclear-powered, nuclear-missile-carrying submarine system. In June 2012, Rolls-Royce was awarded a £1bn contract to produce new reactor cores for the Trident replacement…

9 June 2014 Gabriel Carlyle

The US is going to spend £189m on converting the US air force (USAF) base at Croughton, near Milton Keynes, ‘into one of its largest intelligence hubs outside the mainland United States’, the Independent on Sunday reports.

Croughton is one of a number of bases in Britain involved in drone warfare, including RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire (from where Britain’s own drones are piloted) and RAF Marham near King’s Lynn, which receives and feeds information and intelligence gathered by US…

27 May 2014 Gabriel Carlyle

‘Far from reducing international terrorism... the 2003 invasion [of Iraq] had the effect of promoting it'

‘Far from reducing international terrorism... the 2003 invasion [of Iraq] had the effect of promoting it,’ a study by a military think-tank at the heart of the British establishment has concluded. The report by the Royal United Services Institute, ‘Wars in Peace: British Military Operations Since 1991’, concludes that: ‘The rise of Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) was a reaction to this invasion, and to the consequent marginalisation of Iraq’s Sunni population (including de-Ba’…

27 May 2014 David Polden

Anti-drone activism

On 4 May, three members of the US National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance (NCNR) were arrested at the headquarters of the US national security agency (NSA) at Fort Meade in Maryland. This was part of a wave of action against military drones throughout the US during April and May, involving at least 43 arrests and one imprisonment.

On 11 April, seven women were arrested at US air force base (AFB) Creech, in a Code Pink protest…

3 April 2014 PN

Over 30 UK groups held kite-flying actions on the spring equinox, celebrating Nowruz, the Afghan New Year, and protesting against the use of drones over Afghanistan. The international project was organised by Voice for Creative Nonviolence UK, inspired by the Afghan Peace Volunteers.

A Sussex kite-flyer braving hailstorms. Photo: Gill Knight

3 April 2014 Elisa Haf

International Women’s Day


International Women’s Day in Aberystwyth. Photo: Jaci Taylor

International Women’s Day Eve, 7 March 2014: an ominous crowd, women dressed overwhelmingly in black, gathers behind the Old College of Aberystwyth overlooking the sea and the setting sun. Such a gathering has never taken place here before: these women plan to Reclaim the Night.

Reclaim the Night marches are a tried-and-tested way of building solidarity and sisterhood. There is something oddly exhilarating about loudly…

3 April 2014 Terry Evans

Following the controversial Ffos-y-Fran open cast mining in Merthyr Tydfil, the mining conglomerate Miller Argent now push to extend their operations towards Rhymney to open cast at Nant Llesg for the next 15-20 years.

Residents Against Ffos-y-Fran, (RAFF), and the United Valleys Action Group are gearing up to protest against the planning application at Caerphilly Council offices in Pennallta on Tuesday 22 April. They are planning a full day of action, starting with a demonstration…

3 April 2014 Adam Johannes

This year’s NATO summit will take place at the Celtic Manor Resort in Newport on 4th-5th September. Earlier this year, local campaigns met to start planning events to coincide with the summit, using the occasion as a platform to publicise alternatives to endless war and austerity through mass meetings and protest.

Events will be organised under the banner of No NATO Newport, the coalition initiated by activists from Cardiff Stop the War Coalition, CND Cymru, Newport People’s Assembly…

3 April 2014 David Polden

...and Israeli refusers

On 19 March, two Palestinian prisoners suspended their 69-day hunger strikes after receiving assurances that they would be released within months. Muammar Banat and Akram Fasisi told Jawad Bulous of the Palestinian prisoner’s society that the Israeli authorities had finally agreed to set time limits for their administrative detention without trial: Banat must be released by May, and al-Fseisi by August.

The two were among six prisoners who had been on hunger strike since January and…

3 April 2014 Rikki Blue

On the march against corruption

Not Mitch. Photo: Rikki Blue

Sporting a wide range of banners, the ‘March against Corruption’ in London on 1 March was a strangely mixed crowd, with overtly right-wing elements, ‘anons’ in V for Vendetta masks, and anti-capitalists. Aside from one minor scuffle leading to an arrest, the march passed off as intended, peacefully, but I’m not sure if many passers-by would have understood the message.

The London event was organised on Facebook by a controversial character named ‘Mitch…

3 April 2014 PN staff

On 15 March, Moscow saw its largest demonstration in over two years, a protest against Russian president Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, and impending annexation of the Crimea.

News agency AFP reported that some demonstrators carried placards comparing Putin’s actions with the Nazi annexation of the Sudetenland before the Second World War. AFP counted 50,000 demonstrators; the Moscow police only 3,000.

Kidnapped and beaten

Only one arrest was reported at the 15…

3 April 2014 Andrea Needham

Judge Crabtree warned us that while judgements in magistrates’ courts usually take between 45 minutes and two hours, this one was likely to take considerably longer. He was right; his judgement took three-and-a-half hours. But it was a judgement worth waiting for.

Six activists were being prosecuted for ‘aggravated trespass’ for occupying trees along the route of the Bexhill-Hastings Link Road in January 2013 (see PN 2554, 2566).

The first two hours or so of the hearing in…

3 April 2014 Oli Rodker

Working for european food sovereignty

At the beginning of March, over 50 people, representing 18 organisations from over a dozen European countries, met by a frozen river, in the snow-bound Norwegian town of Evenstad, to develop plans for the European arm of La Via Campesina (LVC), the international peasants’ movement.

LVC, possibly the world’s largest union, with over 200 million members in its constituent organisations, defends the rights of small, peasant, family farmers against the depredations of capitalist…

3 April 2014 Gabriel Carlyle

Action by the European parliament and the UN

As the European parliament votes overwhelmingly to ban ‘targeted killings’ and fully autonomous drones, the UN special rapporteur on human rights and countering terrorism has called on the US, UK and Israel – the three states currently known to be using armed drones – ‘to disclose the results of any fact-finding inquiries into [30 specific drone strikes in which civilians appear either to have been killed or had their lives put at immediate risk] or to explain why no such inquiries have been…

1 April 2014 Heather Stewart

Action against weapons of mass destruction

 

Contrary to popular report (even among some peace activists), Faslane Peace Camp is still here and still opposing weapons of mass destruction, war and militarism. Things have been a little quiet over the winter but now spring is here and we’re ready for action.

Early on 19 March, I was arrested on board HMS Ambush inside Faslane naval base (which houses Britain’s Trident nucler missile submarines) along with fellow peace camper Jamie Watson.

We’d set off a couple of hours…

19 March 2014

from the Climate Outreach and Information Network

A demonstration in Oxford in February by COIN (Climate Outreach and Information Network), who are fundraising to deliver community climate training sessions in the wake of the recent flooding in England and Wales. www.climateoutreach.org.uk PHOTO: COIN

19 March 2014 Côr Cochion

A mass crime reporting at Reading police station

Reading Police Station, 8 February.
Photo: Wendy Lewis

If Cameron thinks the campaign against nuclear weapons is over, he can think again. We set off in our minibus, full to bursting with singers eager to take part in the latest action against Trident: a mass crime reporting at Reading police station, near the sites at Burghfield and Aldermaston where nuclear warheads are developed and tested.

The sight of flooded fields and swollen…

19 March 2014 Lotte Reimer

The Campaign Choirs Network

2013 Street Choirs festival: Sheffield’s Outaloud in Aberystwyth.
Photo: Val Regan

A radical initiative with great potential, the Campaign Choirs network, was formed during the July 2013 Street Choirs Festival in Aberystwyth. Participants agreed that ‘the political urgency of our times means we want to alert each other to events, demonstrations, etc, and share our songs more often and more widely’.

Since then, Campaign Choirs network’s shared actions have included local and…

18 March 2014 David Polden

On 31 January, about 300 Palestinian activists re-occupied Ein Hijleh, a village in the Jordan Valley that was forcibly depopulated when Israel occupied the West Bank in 1967.

The Palestinian popular struggle coordination committee, which organised the occupation, said the aim was to ‘refuse the political status quo, especially given futile negotiations destroying the rights of our people for liberation and claim to their land.’

During the occupation, activists began to make…

18 March 2014 Milan Rai and Emily Johns

On 1 February, over 300 people squeezed into an auditorium in southern Madrid designed for half that number, to remember and celebrate the life of Howard Clark, a key figure in Peace News and War Resisters’ International (WRI) for several decades.

The evening event, organised by WRI, was attended by peace activists from across Europe, as well as many folk from Madrid, where Howard has lived with his partner Yolanda Juarros Barcenilla since 1996. (Yolanda organised a weekend programme…

18 March 2014 David Polden

On 18 February, US peace activists Greg Boertje-Obed and Michael Walli were each sentenced to five years and two months in prison, followed by three years’ ‘supervised release’. Sister Megan Rice, a nun and the oldest of the three at 84, was sentenced to two years and 11 months (plus three years’ probation) for her part in their action at Oak Ridge, Tennessee, the US’s primary storehouse for weapons-grade uranium.

During the July 2012 action ‘Transform Now Plowshares’ action, the…

18 March 2014 Valerie Flessati

On 15 May, descendants of more than 30 First World War conscientious objectors will take part in this year’s International Conscientious Objectors’ Day commemoration in Tavistock Square, London.

One of the speakers on 15 May, Mary Dobbing, took part last year in the women’s peace delegation which visited the Afghan Peace Volunteers in Kabul. She also campaigns for justice for Palestinians in the footsteps of her CO grandfather, a Quaker teacher in the Middle East at the time of the…

18 March 2014 Gabriel Carlyle

Recent strikes and new developments

On 23 January, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism reported that ‘Across Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, the Obama administration has launched more than 390 drone strikes in five years – five times as many as were launched in the entire George W Bush presidency [ie 51 strikes in four years]’. According to the Bureau these strikes have killed more than 2,400 people, at least 273 of whom were reportedly civilians. On 5 February, Pakistani drone investigator Karim Khan was abducted from his home…

18 March 2014 Gabriel Carlyle

RAF pilots have conducted at least 496 drone strikes in Afghanistan since 2006, including 39 previously undisclosed strikes made using US drones.

According to figures obtained from the ministry of defence (MoD) by Drone Wars UK in January and February 2014 under the Freedom of Information Act (FoIA), unmanned British Reaper drones launched 457 weapons over Afghanistan up to the end of 2013. A further 39 launches (during 250 missions) were made using US drones up to the end of December 2012.

In what appears to have been a deliberate attempt to mislead parliament, the MoD neglected to mention the latter strikes when asked ‘how…

17 March 2014 David Polden

On 31 January, four intrepid individuals from Oxford CND braved continuous rain to hold up banners outside the main gate of RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, calling for an end to drone warfare.

Inside the base, British prime minister David Cameron and French president François Hollande held an Anglo-French summit at which they agreed to jointly invest £200 million in a two-year study into a future military drone – the study to be carried out by French company Dassault and Britain’s…

17 March 2014 PN

For many of us, reading Peace News or attending Peace News events has sometimes had a significant impact in some way. We would be very grateful if you could send us your stories and views on what Peace News has done for you.

In 500 words or less, please tell us what Peace News means to you.

Has reading Peace News raised your awareness of new issues or changed your mind about something important? Has attending a PN event led to an important connection or initiative? Has the…

18 February 2014 PN staff

On 9 January, a three-day trial in Brighton resulted in acquittals for 10 people arrested for blockading the drilling site near Balcombe on 26 July. This was the first of over 20 trials arising out of protests against energy giant Cuadrilla’s attempts to drill for oil and gas near the West Sussex village.

All 10 were acquitted of ‘obstruction of the highway’. Defence lawyers argued that as the B2036 London Road at Balcombe was closed to…

18 February 2014 Carol Fox

79-year old Margaretta D’Arcy's anti-war action lands her in jail

On 15 January, 79-year old Margaretta D’Arcy, writer, member of Aosdána which honours outstanding contributors to the arts in Ireland, and widow of the late playwright John Arden, was arrested at her home and ferried by squad car to Limerick prison to serve a three-month sentence. Her crime: failure to sign a bond pledging to no longer trespass onto unauthorised areas of Shannon airport.

Margaretta D’Arcy has been arrested twice for sitting on the runway at Shannon…

18 February 2014 Gabriel Carlyle

Over 120 people squeezed into the Bloomsbury Suite at Friends House in London on 17 January to hear renowned US author Adam Hochschild talk about his book To End All Wars – the only recent account of the First World War to foreground the war’s opponents.

According to Hochschild: ‘The First World War changed the world for the worse in every conceivable way, but despite its folly and devastation people in Britain have one thing they should feel proud of. From 1914 to…

18 February 2014 David Polden

On 10 and 13 January, Reading magistrates court dismissed charges of ‘obstruction of the highway’ against two groups of Trident Ploughshares (TP) activists because of procedural errors by the crown prosecution service (CPS).

On 10 January, Leonna O’Neill, Jamie Watson and Julia Mercer were on trial for their participation in the international Action AWE blockades outside the atomic weapons establishment (AWE) Burghfield on 2 September last year (see PN 2562). Julia Mercer had…

18 February 2014 David Polden

Dissenters in the ranks

On 10 December, 15 soldiers from 1st Battalion the Yorkshire Regiment were sentenced to jail at Bulford Military Court for a concerted act of disobedience. (A 16th is yet to be sentenced.)

This courageous action was carried out during a parade in front of 1,000 other soldiers at Archers Post British army barracks in Kenya. The 16 soldiers were ordered to stand to attention, but instead their corporal, Anthony Brown, shouted ‘sit down’ and the dissenters dropped to…

18 February 2014 Dan Viesnik

Syria Peace and Justice

Candle-lit vigil at Syrian embassy, London, 10 December.
Photo: Dan Viesnik

On 10 December, Syria Peace and Justice, a grassroots group formed in October 2013, marked International Human Rights Day with a ‘Peace Pilgrimage’ for the people of Syria.

Two feeder groups visited embassies and offices in central London with a connection to the Syrian crisis (including Downing St and the foreign office) to deliver a letter from the group. The two groups then…

18 February 2014 Gabriel Carlyle

’Crime, once exposed, has no refuge but in audacity’ (Tacitus).

The British government may have had Tacitus in mind when it launched its latest PR offensive on drones by inviting a select number of journalists — not once, but twice — to view the UK’s new drone control centre at RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire.

British pilots in Waddington fly the deadly unmanned aircraft currently in operation over Afghanistan (see PN 2558). ‘This is [about] defence correspondents talking about defence and the military ... If you start touching [on foreign nations…

18 February 2014 Emily Masters

After a four-month campaign, the international Stop the Shipment campaign succeeded in stopping a shipment of over a million canisters of tear gas to Bahrain on 8 January.


Bahrain Watch and CAAT protest outside the
South Korean embassy, London, on 18 October,
demanding an end to exports of tear gas to Bahrain.
Photo: CAAT

The government of Bahrain has been using tear gas to repress pro-democracy demonstrations since the Arab Spring spread to the Gulf state in February 2011.

A Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) report in 2012 found that ‘Bahraini law enforcement officials routinely violate every UN principle’ in their ‘unusually…

31 December 2013 Patricia Richards

In a respectful, poignant and moving white poppy ceremony in Aberystwyth, about 50 people from the area gathered on Remembrance Sunday to commemorate those who have lost their lives through war or in the preparation for war.

The white poppy is a symbol of grief for all people of all nationalities, armed forces and civilians alike, who are victims of war.

A silent vigil for peace by Aberystwyth Women in Black preceded the ceremony which combined songs, poems and words of peace and reconciliation. In addition to David Roberts’ poem, ‘There will be peace’, Harry Rogers read his own powerful and moving ‘White Poppies’ and ‘Son’, the latter written in response to the loss of a friend’s…

31 December 2013 Emily Johns and Milan Rai

The peace process between the Turkish government and the PKK (Kurdish Workers’ Party) guerrilla movement which was revealed publicly in March seems to have slowed to a glacial pace.

After some deft public relations interventions in September and November, Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is not expected to make any serious moves before the March 2014 local elections.

In April, we speculated that Erdogan was spurred to initiate peace talks with the PKK by the mass nonviolent uprising of Turkish Kurds last autumn, sparked by a Kurdish prisoners’ hunger strike that began last September (see PN 2556, and 2552-2553). It may need another…

31 December 2013 David Polden

Minds of Peace at work

Palestinians and Israelis at the negotiating table in a town square. 
Photo: Minds of Peace

Alongside official peace talks between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators which never seem to get anywhere, a group called ‘Minds of Peace’ has for over a year been carrying out what it describes as a ‘campaign of grassroots Israeli-Palestinian negotiations on the streets and public squares of Jerusalem’ and other cities.

31 December 2013 David Polden

New Anti-Social Behiaviour, Crime and Policing Bill is 'most significant threat to lawful assembly and protest in modern history'.

Currently before the house of lords, and expected to receive royal assent next spring, the anti-social behaviour, crime and policing bill will make behaviour perceived to, or potentially able to, ‘cause nuisance or annoyance’ a criminal offence.

The new law also grants local authorities, police and even private security firms the power to bar citizens from assembling in public places.

The bill claims to simplify the large number of ‘orders’ legislated into…

31 December 2013 PN staff

At the end of October, five Christian peace activists were acquitted of ‘disorderly conduct’ at a trial in Dewitt, New York state, USA.

Defendant Linda LeTendre wrote afterwards of her shock: ‘I sat at the defense table with my mouth hanging open while the courtroom erupted in cheers and applause. I remember thinking, “I must look a fool with my chin hanging lower than my navel.” ’

“We will not be complicit with our government’s war crimes”

It was the first acquittal of anti-drones…

31 December 2013 Gabriel Carlyle

The UK information tribunal has ruled that the government is entitled to continue witholding even the most basic information about Britain’s use of drones in Afghanistan on ‘security’ grounds.

In a Kafkaesque twist, even the explanation of why the release of this information would involve ‘risk to [service personnel’s] life and limb’ has been witheld.

Chris Cole, founder of the small NGO Drone Wars UK, brought a case before the tribunal in September after an earlier appeal to the information commissioner was turned down in February.

Early in 2012,…

31 December 2013 Ben Griffin

Ben Griffin from Veterans for Peace UK on taking the message to the Cenotaph

Veterans for Peace marching in Whitehall on Remembrance Sunday.
Photo: Guy Smallman

As a child I was captivated by the sombre parades of Remembrance Sunday. The soldiers in their greatcoats, the veterans wearing their medals, and ‘The Last Post’, all played a part in recruiting me into the army.

Since I left the army, the weeks leading up to Remembrance Sunday have become hard for me to endure. The public relations campaign waged each year by the Royal British Legion…

29 November 2013 PN staff

29 Nov 2013: It is with deep sadness that we announce that last night Howard Clark, long-time collaborator and supporter of Peace News, passed away.

Howard worked for Peace News during the 1970s and 80s and remained a constant supporter, board member, and friend. In 2012, Peace News reprinted Howard's seminal text, Making Nonviolent Revolution.

He was also Coordinator for War Resisters International for many years and more lately WRI Chair, and committed to many other peace initiatives. Howard lived in Spain with his partner, Yolanda Juarros Barcenilla, and…

1 November 2013 David Polden

San Francisco activists block buses

On 18 October, immigrant activists in San Francisco blocked a bus carrying foreign nationals in the custody of immigration officials, shouting: ‘Undocumented, unafraid!’, part of a growing US campaign of nonviolent resistance to the deportation of ‘undocumented’ Latinos.

During October, activists chained themselves to the tyres of buses carrying immigrants to court, blocked traffic on Capitol Hill, surrounded Tucson police when they targeted two immigrants during a traffic stop,…

1 November 2013 Emily Johns and Milan Rai

Preparing ourselves to do extraordinary things ...

Effective nonviolence at the Reclaim the Power camp in Balcombe, West Sussex, part of a summer of action against fracking exploration by Caudrilla. PHOTO: Reclaim the Power

Nonviolence study groups underpinned much of the success of the US civil rights movement in the 1960s (see editorial, p12). Campaign Nonviolence, a new year-long project initiated by California-based peace group, Pace e Bene,  aims to promote the formation of such study and action groups. Campaign Nonviolence has been…

1 November 2013 PN

100 attend People Power celebration

Over 100 people crowded London’s Cockpit Theatre on 13 October for a Peace News benefit celebrating the power of ordinary people to change the world. ‘Come out! We have you surrounded!’ featured the Songlines Choir, stand-up comedian Chris Coltrane, rebel poet Attila the Stockbroker, Hedgemustard (pictured above) and singer-songwriters @dogcatchicken and (final act) Tracey Curtis. Many thanks to indefatigable event organiser (and compère) Jon Lockwood. Roll on, next year!

1 November 2013 Patricia Richards

Activists from Wales and Bristol bring 'Mad Trident Tea-Party' to Aldermaston

Get rid of Trident - Eat it! Photo: Lotte Reimer

Early on 3 October, a small but committed contingent from Wales and Bristol, along with an intrepid lone Glaswegian, blockaded the ministry of defence (MoD) road to the Burghfield atomic weapons establishment (AWE).

A ‘Mad Trident Tea-Party’ was set up and attended by three large red dragons and numerous small ones. With members of Côr Cochion and Côr Gobaith present, the singing rarely stopped for the six hours of the blockade. We…