News

4 December 2020 Milan Rai

Milan Rai surveys the UK media's coverage of the assassination of Qassem Suleimani

A week after the killing of Qassem Suleimani and his nine companions on 3 January, Simon Jenkins was the first person in the mainstream British print media to refer to a US ‘empire’ in relation to the Middle East.

After referring to ‘ceaseless wars of western aggression’ in recent decades, Jenkins wrote: ‘As empires crumble, stuff happens’. He expressed the hope that the US might be about to withdraw from Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. (‘Trump’s rant against Iran is the howl of a dying…

28 September 2020 Nik Gorecki

Conference marks 60th anniversary of Cale Rd's Peace House

This year, Peace House – the building on Caledonian Road which is home to Peace News, Housmans Bookshop, War Resisters International, Network for Peace, Campaign Against Climate Change, and many others – is celebrating its 60th anniversary.

To mark the occasion, we are organising a conference on 28 March.

‘Our Power Is Real: A Festival of Grassroots Social Change’ is a one-day event bringing together a wide range of community and grassroots campaign groups.

In…

28 September 2020 Milan Rai

The Baghdad airport massacre is part of a pattern of US assassinations

On 3 January, a US drone strike destroyed two vehicles driving through Baghdad airport, killing 10 men, including Iranian general Qassem Suleimani and a senior Iraqi military official, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

US commentator Noam Chomsky described the Suleimani assassination to the Hindustan Times as ‘at least international terrorism, arguably worse.’

As well being aggression against the territory of Iraq, the assassination was the latest in a long line of acts of…

1 June 2020 PN staff

PN takes a look at how UK activists have been responding to COVID-19

Like everyone else, UK activists have been scrambling to adapt to the ‘new normal’ of ‘lockdown’ and social distancing. In early June we surveyed over twenty different activist organisations, networks and media projects to see what they’d been up to, as well as their plans for the future.

Here’s what we found out …

Campaigns, NGOs & activist networks

Calais Migrant Solidarity
calaismigrantsolidarity.wordpress.…

1 December 2019 PN staff

White poppy wreath laid at Cenotaph

Photo: Veterans for Peace UK

On 10 November, Veterans for Peace UK marked Remembrance Sunday by walking to the Cenotaph in Whitehall, in central London, behind a banner saying ‘Never Again’. James Florey read a poem: ‘Suicide in the Trenches’. Jim Radford sang ‘1916’.

Ben Griffin, the outgoing national co-ordinator of VfP UK, laid a wreath of white poppies saying ‘Never Again’ (pictured).

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 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

‘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 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 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 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 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 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 PN staff

Corruption, unemployment and opposition to Iranian interference three key factors behind unarmed protests

Large-scale unarmed anti-government protests in Iraq have been met with lethal force from the security forces, leaving over 330 people dead since the beginning of October.

While the main focus of popular anger has been corruption, unemployment, poverty and the lack of public services, there have also been a number of protests at symbols of Iranian interference, including Iranian consulates.

On 26 October, to take another example, protesters set fire to dozens of offices…

1 December 2019 Lotte Reimer

Aberystwyth strikers hold People's Assembly

This is why we are not at school! Aberystwyth School Strike, 20 September. Photo: Marian Delyth

20 September saw school children strike for climate again across Wales, supported by many adults. At the Centre for Alternative Technology, students, visitors, staff and volunteers showed their support for the Climate Strike, sounding alarms to signal that ‘time’s up’ for action on climate change, and reading out words from young climate strikers from around the world.

In…

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 Angie Zelter

Hundreds of peace activists join October actions

Mock Trident missile outside the ministry of defence for XR Peace blockade, 7 October. Photo: XR Peace

Several hundred peace activists took part in XR Peace actions in London during the October occupations and actions by the climate action group Extinction Rebellion (XR).

There were 57 arrests on different charges: causing a public nuisance, highway obstruction, aggravated trespass, criminal damage, and breaching ‘section 14’ orders. (Section 14 of the Public Order Act 1986…

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 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…