News

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…