News

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 …