News

1 February 2022 David Polden

5 million on edge of famine as civilian casualties increase 60%

More than 70 people were killed in an airstrike by a Saudi-led coalition on a prison in a Houthi-held city, Saada, in northern Yemen on 21 January.

Observers believe violence has increased since Saudi Arabia used bribes and threats to shut down the UN’s ‘Group of Eminent Experts in Yemen’ in October. The human rights panel was investigating war crimes in Yemen.

At least five million people in Yemen are on the edge of famine. Food prices increased by 30 – 70 percent in 2021, as…

1 February 2022 David Polden

Senior CIA officials discussed kidnapping or killing Wikileaks editor

On 24 January, the high court in London decided that Julian Assange can appeal to the supreme court to continue fighting extradition on 18 counts of ‘espionage’.

The US government has asked for Assange’s extradition because of his work at WikiLeaks. In 2010, WikiLeaks publicised documents leaked by Chelsea Manning exposing US war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq.

A district judge at Westminster magistrates’ court ruled in January 2021 that the extradition should not go ahead…

1 February 2022 David Polden

Israeli drone maker sells UK factory as campaigners acquitted in two cases 

Palestine Action (PA), the direct action group, has claimed three recent victories, including winning both of its first two court cases.

On 10 January, the Israeli drone-maker Elbit Systems announced that it had sold off a UK factory which had been disrupted over a long period by PA.

Just 10 days later, three PA activists walked free from Birmingham magistrates court after the crown prosecution service (CPS) dropped charges of criminal damage, aggravated trespass and resisting…

1 February 2022 David Polden

Blind Paralympian released after 10 weeks and 6 days in jail 

On 14 January, the appeal court cut XR activist James Brown’s sentence to four months. With time off for good behaviour, this meant that he was not returned to prison. He had already served 10 weeks and six days, which was over half his four-month sentence.

James was released from Wandsworth prison on 8 December, on bail, while the appeal court reviewed his conviction and sentence.

James, a blind gold-medal-winning Paralympian, had been given a 12-month sentence at Southwark…

1 February 2022 David Polden

Juries find climate campaigners 'not guilty' in two trials 

On 10 December, six climate activists were found ‘not guilty’ by a jury at Inner London crown court of obstructing a Docklands Light Railway (DLR) train at Canary Wharf station in East London on 25 April 2019. Five of them were from Christian Climate Action (CCA).

On 14 January, three CCA direct actionists were found ‘not guilty’ by another jury at the same court. They had also stopped a DLR train, this time at Shadwell station, on 17 October 2019. (One of them had also taken part in…

1 February 2022 Milan Rai

How NATO’s broken promises led us to war  

There are two connected Ukraine crises going on. There is a civil war in Eastern Ukraine, in the Russian-speaking Donbass region, which Russia is involved in. There is also a larger confrontation over NATO expansion. The massing of over 100,000 Russian soldiers on the border and the threat of all-out war are linked to both crises.

As we go to press, it’s not clear what is going to happen.

What is clear is that there are nonviolent solutions to both crises.

Solving the…

1 February 2022 Bruce Kent

Bruce Kent remembers an early martyr in the fight against nuclear weapons

On 10 December, the Nikos Nikiforidis (Non Nuclear) Peace Award for 2020 was given to Turkish peace activist Bülent Tanık, formerly mayor of the Çankaya district of Ankara and president of the Association for Peace and Communication in Aegean (APCA). The ceremony at Athens City Hall had been delayed because of the pandemic. The award, given by PADOP (the Greek Observatory of International Organisations and Globalisation), was made to honour Bülent Tanık’s ‘special efforts in the defence of…

25 January 2022 Milan Rai

Statue-topplers found ‘not guilty’ by Bristol jury

The acquittal of four anti-racist activists of charges of criminal damage has led to a storm of protest from right-wing commentators.

Rhian Graham (30), Milo Ponsford (26), Jake Skuse (33) and Sage Willoughby (22) did not deny their roles in bringing down the statue of slave-trader Edward Colston and rolling it into Bristol harbour on 7 June 2020. The Colston Four argued that their actions were legally justified (see p8 for details) and persuaded the jury to return a majority ‘not…

1 December 2021 PN staff

PN surveys 13 days of action at the UN climate summit

This is a small sample of what happened in Glasgow during the COP26 climate talks! Almost all these events were organised by the COP26 Coalition, a UK-based climate justice coalition bringing together environment and development NGOs, trade unions, grassroots community campaigns, faith groups, youth groups, migrant and racial justice networks and more. Behind the scenes, the coalition also: ran a visa support service; mobilised people across Scotland to open their homes for a Homestay…

1 December 2021 Bethan Sian

CND Cymru marks 40th anniversary

This year marks the 40th birthday of CND Cymru. The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) was founded in 1957 and the Welsh Council for Nuclear Disarmament was established in 1958. However, the need for an autonomous national Welsh branch of CND was brought on by the intensification of the Cold War at the end of the 1970s.

That’s when the Soviet Union began deploying intermediate-range SS-20 nuclear missiles and NATO announced its decision to locate cruise and Pershing II land-based…

1 December 2021 Karin Reiter

£500 raised for olive trees in the West Bank

There were two Palestine solidarity events in Montgomeryshire in September.

On 5 September, the Llanidloes – As Sawiya Friendship Association (LLASFA) held an ‘Oak and Olive’ event at Compton’s Yard Community Gardens in Llanidloes to raise money for olive tree-planting in Palestine. (As Sawiya is a Palestinian town in the middle of the West Bank.)

The sun shone and the beautiful gardens were filled with a wonderful atmosphere of warmth and international friendship.

The…

1 December 2021 Lotte Reimer

Mayor recalls Aberystwyth's peace history

On 21 September, Aberystwyth town council officially marked the UN International Day of Peace for the first time.

Peace campaigner – and current mayor – Alun Williams noted that ‘Aberystwyth has played a prominent role in advocating for peace and disarmament’ for many decades.

He mentioned a number of events, dating back to 1926 when the town hosted the annual international peace conference associated with the League of Nations, usually held in capital cities. The Cambrian News…

1 December 2021 David Polden

Increased penalties, new powers and new offences announced 

The UK government is planning to bring in several new laws against nonviolent protest, including a new offence of ‘going equipped’ to lock-on.

Priti Patel, the home secretary, announced in her speech to the Tory party conference on 5 October that she would:

increase the maximum penalty for disrupting a motorway make a new crime of interfering with key infrastructure ‘such as roads, railways and our free press’ and give the police and courts ‘new powers to deal with the small…

1 December 2021 David Polden

Eastern leg of high-speed rail project (mostly) cancelled

Along with some fine acquittals, the campaign to stop the carbon-intensive HS2 high-speed railway line chalked up a major victory on 18 November.

The government announced that most of the eastern section of the project would now not go ahead after all. Instead of running from Birmingham all the way up to Leeds, the eastern arm will only stretch 40 miles to East Midlands Parkway station, south of Nottingham.

A spokesperson for Stop HS2, Joe Rukin, said: ‘The cancellation of the…

1 December 2021 David Polden

800 arrests and counting in insulation campaign

124 climate activists were arrested for blockading bridges in Central London on 20 November. They were acting in solidarity with nine members of ‘Insulate Britain’, who had been imprisoned by the high court in London on 17 November for contempt of court.

The ‘Highway 9’ had all continued to blockade the M25 after injunctions were issued banning obstruction of that motorway or any other major road in England.

It is believed the authorities had delayed the hearing in order to…

1 December 2021 David Polden

Police have spied on over 1,000 British political groups since 1968

After 11 years of struggle, Kate Wilson won another victory on 30 September. Kate is an activist who was deceived into a relationship with the undercover police officer Mark Kennedy (who was posing as an environmental direct actionist called ‘Mark Stone’).

Further ‘unreserved’ apologies, from London’s Metropolitan police and from the national police chiefs’ council, came after a damning ruling by the official Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) on 30 September.

The IPT found…

1 December 2021 Bethan Sian

Report from Youth & Student CND rep

This October, I went to Catalonia with three other representatives from Youth and Student CND (YSCND) to the International Peace Bureau (IPB) World Peace Congress in Barcelona. We were there to run a workshop, ‘“Protest and Survive”: Youth, Peace and Enduring Time’. It was an intergenerational workshop, designed to provide a space for different generations of the peace movement to learn from each other through the medium of games, discussions and pre-recorded videos.

As well as…

1 December 2021 Symon Hill

Wreaths of white poppies laid across UK

Wreaths of white poppies were laid in more than 20 towns and cities around the UK to remember all victims of war on 14 November, Remembrance Sunday.

The white poppy represents: remembrance for _all_ victims of war, a commitment to peace, and a challenge to attempts to glamorise or celebrate war. They were founded in 1933 by the Co-operative Women’s Guild.

The Peace Pledge Union (PPU) organised the National Alternative Remembrance Ceremony in London’s Tavistock Square, with…

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…