Home | Friday 26th June 2009 | Issue 681
WAKE UP!! IT’S YER EVER BOWLING GOOGLYS...
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Story Links : It’s Just Not Cricket | Borderline Insanity | You’re Nicked Sunshine! | A Turd In The Pool | Schools Not Out | Playing Solitaire | Tarred With A Brush | Big Issue | Kilt In Action | Bleeding Harts
IT’S JUST NOT CRICKET
100,000 MARCH IN LONDON TO REMIND THE WORLD THAT THE FIGHTING IN SRI LANKA MAY BE OVER, BUT THE SUFFERING OF THE TAMIL PEOPLE CONTINUES...
After 26 years of bloodshed, violence and terror from the Sri Lankan military on one side and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE or the Tamil Tigers) on the other, the civil war in Sri Lanka supposedly came to an end last month as the army took control of the last slither of Tiger controlled territory and paraded the dead leadership of the LTTE on television (See SchNEWS 676). According to SchNEWS’ sources on the ground, the Sinhalese areas of Sri Lanka are now being bombarded with the propaganda of victory as billboards line the streets proclaiming the great victory and forthcoming peace while “returning soldiers are given flowers in the streets”. Meanwhile, around 250,000 Tamils in the north have been confined to what are essentially prison camps, where it is claimed they face daily torture, rape and disappearances.
The massive Tamil diaspora, in Britain and around the world, are determined that the continuing plight of their people does not drop out of view following the end of the fighting. While the rolling protests of marches, blockades and hunger strikes staged in Parliament Square came to an end last Wednesday (17th), the following Saturday (20th) saw around 100,000 march through Central London. The protest was led by a mocked-up concentration camp consisting of Tamils dressed in blood-stained clothing and bandages surrounded by barbed wire, followed by a procession of people carrying photos of lost loved ones. The last month has also seen a number of protests outside cricket grounds as the Sri Lankan team competed in the 20/20 cricket world cup.
The British authorities, having completely failed to bring the Sri Lankan government to account while it was committing atrocities, has moved from indifference to irritation. While Westminster Council complained that the protests would damage the grass, which was going through “urgent reseeding”, the Deputy Mayor of London likened the Parliament Square protests to a “shanty town”. Conservative MP Gerald Howarth raised a point of order in parliament saying “It is completely outrageous that members of this House have been subjected to this inconvenience... The situation in Sri Lanka is nothing to do with this House”.
The Tamils, aware of Britain’s historical role in the conflict (See SchNEWS 665), take a different view. One campaigner was quoted as saying “Britain is to blame for this; like Palestine, like Zimbabwe, your history has a hand in the death of innocents in 2009, and the British government should stand up and take ownership of it”.
* See www.tamilsforum.com
The No Borders Camp in Calais is now in full swing despite scare-scaremongering from both the press and the authorities who the camp have condemned for attempting to “paint the camp participants as violent criminals and (refusing) to engage in the real issues we campaign on”. Sam Davis, a UK No Borders activist commented that “The only violence we see is the daily and constant attacks on individuals by the French police. The rest comes from the vivid imagination of journalists keen to silence any debate on these issues.”
Four hundred activists from around Europe have already arrived and have invited local residents and migrants alike to join them - in a relaxed atmosphere - to attend workshops, share experiences and construct the camp which will remain until this Sunday.
Actions have already begun. Activists from Lille blockaded a detention centre this morning to prevent the removal of migrants by the French authorities. Twenty nine were arrested after locking the gates of the Lesquin detention centre using arm tubes.
The Camp continues to insist that the demonstrations planned for Saturday (27th) are intended to be peaceful and have agreed to alter the route of the march in order to limit the inconvenience to local people.
Migrants attending the camp report that they suffer from regular attacks from police who destroy their camps and arbitrarily arrest and beat them. In recent days there have been reports of the eviction and beating of Eriteans living in a squatted building in Calais town centre and the destruction of migrant camps along the coast.
As the press continue to blame the influx of migrants to Calais on the UK benefit system, it is clear from those there - many of whom have spent their life savings to make the journey - that the reality is very different: “I just want to be free to go where I choose. I don’t care about money, I just want to be safe,” one Iraqi refugee told us.
“Some of the migrants we have met here are as young as twelve years old. To suggest that such young people take such a dangerous journey because they want money is not only ridiculous, it’s insulting” said another activist.
* See http://calaisnoborder.eu.org
* Read the Twitters from South Wales No Borders at www.lasthours.org.uk
YOU’RE NICKED SUNSHINE!
AS POLICE CLAMP DOWN ON STONEHENGE SOLSTICE CELEBRATIONS
Revellers attending this year’s solstice celebrations at Stonehenge last weekend reported a massive police presence. Bolstered by tooled-up private security (presumably employed by English Heritage), police took control of the gathering but, in the words of one attendee, “If the Babylon are going to start bringing their shit to Stonehenge again, and act in an intimidating, intrusive manner as they did this year, we need to treat it as a serious threat to our right to gather peacefully.”
“[There were] Hundreds of coppers in total; at the entrance to the stones, the exit from the car park and patrolling all over the site supported by considerable numbers of private security contractors with stab vests, handcuffs and sniffer dogs at the entrance to the stones”.
To totally destroy any remnants of sacred energy, Wiltshire police continually buzzed the site with an unmanned drone copter, which filmed the crowd below. Also a police helicopter hovered over the car park at low altitude for about an hour from around 10am. There were 37 arrests and three hundred searches with sniffer dogs.
As one told us “There was nothing free about it”. Another commented on Indymedia “Let’s bring Fitwatch tactics to the party next year, give out some flyers encouraging people to challenge the policing of the event, and, if possible, find a way to knock that fucking drone out of the sky. If the pigs are going to police Stonehenge as if it was a demo, it’s because they rightly see such free and anarchic gatherings as a threat to their authority. To preserve the spirit of the summer solstice, I really think it’s time for us to organise against them.”
* SchNEWS recommends Andy Worthington’s book Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion, featuring the history of spiritual and counter-cultural activity around the Stones going from 19th century pagan and Druidic gatherings through to the Stonehenge free festivals, the Battle Of The Beanfield, and more recently.
Keywords: english heritage
, summer solstice
A TURD IN THE POOL
A group of Nazi thugs were arrested last weekend outside the BNP Gathering in Blackpool for taunting an anti-BNP demonstration. A range of North West anti-fascist groups were there to show that Nick Griffin’s recent victory in the European elections didn’t mean that the far-right in any way represented the people of the region.
The argy bargy happened when a group of skins approached the demo and started sieg-heiling the crowd, and chanting names of concentration camps. After a further tirade of racial abuse, the police finally intervened and arrested four. Other far-right thugs were waiting along the promenade to pick off individuals leaving the demonstration, so the protesters stuck together as a group as they moved off.
* See http://lancasteruaf.blogspot.com/2009/06/four-nazis-arrested-at-anti-bnp-protest.html
* Anti-fascists are gearing up to spoil the party at the BNP’s Red, White & Blue Festival in August in Derbyshire. Meet 9am on the 15th at Market Pl Codnor, Ripley, DE5, followed by a National Demo at 11am. http://nobnpfestival.wordpress.com
SCHOOLS NOT OUT
The Lewisham Bridge School squatters are still occupying the roof and part of the grounds of the school after surviving the scheduled eviction this Wednesday morning. A small number of bailiffs – and four police vans and a helicopter – arrived, but no attempt was made to evict the 20-30 people on the roof. Another 50 odd were also there on the ground for support. The squatters are still on alert and are calling out for more to get involved.
The squatters and the local community are there to stop the listed school building being knocked down for a privatised mega-school on the site (See SchNEWS 679).
Yesterday the protesters called for a ‘stay away day’ for the local kids who would be at this school, but are temporarily at the Mornington Centre. Parents and teachers put on art, music and sport activities as an alternative for the kids. Today (26th) they are holding a BBQ at the school from 7pm, with all invited. Call the site on 07946 541331. The school is in Elmira Street, off Loampit Vale SE13 7BN, near Lewisham rail station and DLR.
* See www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=94554226367&ref=mf
Anti-Shell protesters in Rossport, County Mayo, Ireland are gearing up for renewed action as their shore-to-ship monitoring shows that Shell’s contracted pipe laying ship, the Solitaire, is steaming their way.
The Solitaire, the largest ship of it’s kind in the world, is coming back for its second go at entering Broadhaven Bay to lay the offshore part of the gas pipeline - last year it was repelled from the area by a combination of the weather and a flotilla of gutsy activists in rubber dinghies (See SchNEWS 647).
This time, 300 extra Gardai have been called in to provide extra muscle for the regular private security thugs and Shell have declared a 500m exclusion zone on apparently imaginary legal grounds.
All are encouraged to get out there and join the David and Goliath struggle to protect the west coast of Ireland – see www.corribsos.com
TARRED WITH A BRUSH
Last November 150 balaclava clad police descended in force on the isolated village of Tarnac in rural France, home to just 350 people. Twenty people were arrested and nine were later charged with ‘criminal association for the purposes of terrorist activity’. Amongst the detainees were a Swiss sitcom actor, a distinguished clarinettist, a student nurse and an Edinburgh University graduate who ran the grocer’s shop and its adjoining bar-restaurant.
The French government claimed that Tarnac had been the location of a cell of dangerous anarchist terrorists, who locals had been too simple to detect. The arrests followed months of surveillance and were supposedly in connection with incidents of sabotage of high speed train lines that passed near the village. While a few trains were delayed in the actions, no one was hurt.
The nine, like a number of other young people in the village, had moved to Tarnac to escape the consumer society and to seek an alternative lifestyle based on community values and ecological principals. They came to the attention of the authorities after attending protests and demonstrations around Europe and the US.
What paltry evidence the police had strongly focused on linking the nine with the publication of the anonymously written and rather optimistically titled The Coming Insurrection.
Despite a complete lack of material evidence the authorities branded the nine as a “hard core cell that had armed struggle as its purpose” and described their home as a “a meeting place, for indoctrination, (and) a headquarters for violent action”. Residents scoffed at the claims: one neighbour, a sheep farmer and the independent mayor of the neighbouring village, Thierry Letellier, was quoted as saying “They were my neighbours, helping me on the farm and selling my meat at the shop. They were kind, intelligent and spoke several languages. They were politicised, on the left and clearly anti-capitalist like lots of people here, but they were people active in community life who wanted to change society at a local level first.”
In spite of the heady claims of the police that these were dangerous terrorists, eight of the nine were rapidly released on bail. Only the supposed ‘ringleader’ Julien Coupat, remained in incarceration. The arrests sparked a worldwide solidarity campaign which has kept up pressure on the government throughout the last six months. Last Thursday Coupat was finally released, although under the terms of his release, he will have to stay in the Paris region and surrender his passport and identity papers. Even though they have completely failed to bring any prosecutions against the nine, they remain under investigation.
Coupat has dismsissed the ridiculousness of the behaviour of the authorities in his persecution saying such “pathetic allegation(s) can only be the work of a regime that is on the point of tipping over into nothingness”.
* See http://tarnac9.wordpress.com
Last Sunday (21st), Boycott Israeli Goods activists held actions at Tesco’s. Two branches in the Shoreditch area were targeted as protesters filled up a trolley with goods produced in illegally occupied land in the West Bank and sat in front of it while leaflets were handed out. Before police were called, they packed up and moved to another nearby Tesco’s and did the same.
For more see www.bigcampaign.org
KILT IN ACTION
Climate camping has, of course, established itself as the package holiday of choice for the more conscientious classes. But why wait till August 27th to get this year’s fix*? Start the summer by getting up to Scotland where a new protest camp has, quite literally, got off the ground at Mainshill in South Lanarkshire, after Scottish Coal were given permission to mine 1.7 million tonnes of the black stuff, despite a long 9-year campaign by enraged locals. In fact over 700 of the 1000 odd population were moved to object to the county authorities – meaning, again, the go-ahead is completely without community consent.
It’s not that locals are merely being a bit nimbyish - their green and pleasant land is already despoiled by four other mines, making it one of the most heavily mined areas in the whole of Europe. And then there is the catalogue of climate chaos reasons not to be open-cast mining coal at the moment (see www.leaveitintheground.org.uk/?page_id=9). The Mainshill mine is just one of 20 such projects recently given the go-ahead in Scotland.
Last week a small number of activists secured a site in Mainshill Wood, declaring, “We have taken this autonomous and free space for those who wish to create positive, creative and egalitarian solutions to ecological collapse, climate change and environmental injustice. Profiteering companies, land owners and governments will not mine for new coal here!” Others quickly joined and tree-houses and other defences were quickly established.
The cops have now got their arses into gear and have served papers for a June 29th hearing, after which the camp may be under threat of imminent eviction. Numbers are needed now to defend the land and enjoy the good weather.
For details on how to get there and more call 07806 926 040 and see www.coalactionedinburgh.noflag.org.uk/?page_id=415
* This year’s Camp For Climate Action (August 27th – September 2nd) is also set to make excursions into Scotland (Aug 3-6th), and Wales (Aug 13-16th), before heading back to London to “prepare for an autumn of mass action in the run up to the United Nations climate talks in Copenhagen this December”.
Wildlife campaigner Trevor Weeks has hit out at government plans to cull deer. He told SchNEWS “There are currently increasing calls for a cull of Deer due to a rise in road collisions and damage to crops. Deer culling, like the culling of any animal or birds, is only short term and is never that affective.” He’s calling for farmers to undertake more humane measures to prevent deer damage such as fencing.
“All too often people look to the easy and convenient ways of shooting an animal rather than looking at the long term cheaper solutions which do not cause the unnecessary death of animals.”
* Visit the Number 10 website and sign a petition against the cull at http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/StoptheDeerCull
* Or if you’re not yet involved with yer local fox hunt sabs see http://hsa.enviroweb.org
SchNEWS advises all readers - don’t sit inside on your computer reading SchNEWS, get out and enjoy the sunshine. Honest!