News

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 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 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 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

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 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 expressing their fear…

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 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 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 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 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 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 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 David Polden

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





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

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 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 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 releasing them…

1 August 2019 Chris Bluemel

Campaigners fined £3,180 for bomb factory blockade

On 8-9 July, four Trident Ploughshares activists were acquitted and four were found guilty at High Wycombe magistrates' court. They were being prosecuted for an all-day blockade of the Burghfield nuclear bomb factory in Berkshire on 24 October last year. (PN 2624-2625)

Jan and Brian Jones, Jane Picksley and Marie Walsh were charged with highway obstruction for sitting in front of Pingewood Gate while locked to each other through arm tubes. District judge Sophie Toms acquitted them on…