News

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…