Published in Brighton by Justice? - Brighton's Direct Action collective
Published in Brighton by Justice? - Brighton's Direct Action collective
ISSUE 299, FRIDAY 30th March, 2001
TRAIN TO KILL
“We hope to make the transportation of this highly dangerous waste as expensive as possible so that the government will have to stop” – Activist
At 00.30 on Thursday morning, a CASTOR trainload of nuclear waste finally arrived - over 24 hours late - at the rural German village of Gorleben. Filled with 60 tonnes of deadly waste, the Castor pulled out of Le Hague in France on Monday on its 375 mile journey. Despite the freezing weather and the massive police operation anti-nuclear protesters across Germany dogged the shipment every inch of the way. People blockaded, occupied, chained and cemented themselves to tracks; some even staged a volleyball tournament. More than 1,400 people have been arrested amid accounts of massive police brutality. So far, most have been released without charge.
On Tuesday morning, the train was forced to change route after a blockade in Goettingen where Greenpeace activists abseiled with chains connected to the track from Seerau bridge and succeeded in hanging in there for six hours. On Tuesday evening, the train got stuck for hours again, this time at Lueneburg - 50km from the destination. Why? Cos a ‘cell train’ full of people nicked from an earlier 1600-strong blockade got blocked in on the single-track line to Gorleben by other protesters. Nice one!
And for Babylon, it all went downhill from there. Plans to finish the journey went totally pear-shaped as over 15,000 people – including groups such as x-1000, Robin Wood, Greenpeace, a ‘black bloc’ of Autonomen anarchists and even local farmers - upped the number of ‘delaying’ actions, to the fury of over 20,000 tooled-up cops. At Sueschendorf, it took police 20 hours to remove five plucky Robin Wood activists who had chained and cemented themselves in between the tracks. Thousands of people had blocked the line along the final miles of the route and could only be moved by police using extreme force. Although the evil cargo eventually reached its destination, protesters are regarding the massive disruption as a huge success.
The police operation was the largest seen in post-war Germany. Around Dannenberg - the railhead for Gorleben - cops attacked and evicted temporary ‘camps’ set up in fields by protesters, dispersing people over the freezing countryside. Daft restrictions forbidding tents were brought in by the police, which meant everyone had to sleep out in sub-zero temperatures. Several protesters were badly injured when riot police charged camps at Nahrendorf and Dahlenberg, while others were nicked and then driven miles away and released - a ruse foiled by activists who quickly got together a ‘shuttle bus’ to get folk back to the barricades!
This was the first CASTOR (meaning ‘Cask for Storage and Transport Of Radioactive waste) train to run since 1998, when clashes between protesters and cops saw a suspension of the noxious trade. German nuclear power stations are legally required to deal with their waste, and unless they can safely store this waste they cannot get a license to operate. The waste storage sites at Gorleben and Ahaus are the only approved sites for storing dodgy stuff after reprocessing at Sellafield in the UK or La Hague in France. So anti-nuclear activists see the storage sites as critical to the functioning of the whole unpleasant set-up, and there’s been a long history of makin’ trouble to stop the trains. In March ’97, 7,000 people blocked Dannesburg rail terminal - where the containers are transferred to road trucks for the last few miles into the Gorleben site - cutting down railway power cables and setting light to barricades.
First Class Actions
* Police threatened the owner of a private company that they would force the doors of his premises if he continued to refuse to let them refuel their water cannons there!
* In at least one case police have given written orders to stay away from the location to an inhabitant of Dannenberg - he is supposed to stay away from the town he lives in until March 28!
* Activists in Luechow-Dannenberg report that cops took over the telecom premises in the nearby town of Uelzen and banned technical staff from entering the premises. This place is responsible for maintaining the D-1 cell-phone net in the area; cops closed it down to prevent communication!
* In the towns of Hitzacker and Dannenberg, school-kids squatted schools and gyms to prevent the police from commandeering them as accomodation for officers. The clued-up kids then opened the buildings as crash space for protesters!
* The transport is expected to cost some 60 mill. US dollars. Well spent, eh?
* More on nuclear transports: ‘Castors, Cops, and Castors!’ in the ‘SchNEWS Survival Handbook’ and SchNEWS 221
BEYOND the PALE
Looks like there’s gonna be fun and games in store for BP next month as protestors plan to descend on their AGM. Maybe there will be complaints about BP’s investment in PetroChina – the Chinese state oil company who are sucking the wealth out of countries like Tibet and Sudan. In Sudan for example the security forces have cleared areas by the pipelines using such pleasant techniques as aerial bombardments, unlawful killings, rape, abduction and torture.
Maybe people will be arguing that despite the fact that BP have adopted a sunflower logo and “beyond petroleum” slogan they’re spending £6 billion a year on oil exploration in ecologically sensitive places like the Atlantic frontier in the North Sea and the Arctic (where temperatures are rising up to five times faster than the global average and an area the size of Holland is disappearing each year).
Or maybe they’ll just be hearing complaints about the obscene £24,000 profit a minute that the company are making – that’s £1 billion a month. This should more than cover the £200 million they are proposing to spend over the next five years on renewable energy.
SchNEWS just can’t understand why BP has been putting pressure on the government to change the law so corporations don’t have to bother with AGMs.
Still, in true BP topsy-turvy style they have committed themselves to greater openness while trying to stop debate at the meeting!
* Shock horror news - the US are refusing to ratify the Kyoto Climate Change Agreement. With 7% of the world’s population creating 25% of the greenhouse gases, SchNEWS just can’t understand Bush and co’s logic.
Anti-genetic campaigners in Sussex are celebrating after plans for a farm scale trial of genetically modified oil seed rape were scrapped. After talking to locals, a demo in the nearby town of Hailsham, and visits to the farm, the farmer pulled out saying he was afraid of the spread of foot and mouth (even though there have been no cases in Sussex). Protesters believe it may be because he was none too popular in his village as at the parish council meeting only four out of sixty people voted in favour of the trial.
* Across the pond the campaign against genetically modified crops is gaining momentum. Recently anti-GM pixies chopped down over 1,200 genetically engineered Poplar and Cottonwood trees at Oregon State University. An archive of anti-biotech direct actions can be found at http://tao.ca/~ban/ar.htm
Atherden Road Nursery won its first court battle this week, against Hackney Council who have been busy cutting services across the borough after it went bankrupt (SchNEWS 281). The Nursery has now been squatted by local people and turned into a Community Centre with everything from a Parent and Under-5s Drop-in; Circus Skills; Creative Arts and Ceramic Workshops; to English as a Second Language; Samba Classes; Gardening; DJ and Bike Workshops; cheap Internet Access; a book and video library; low-cost community meals and evening events. As one user put it “the centre provides the kind of services Hackney Council should be offering instead of cutting.” Now, of course the Council wants the building back so they can sell it off to some private corporation. The Centre is just off Lower Clapton Road. To find out what’s going on call 020 8525 0247. This Saturday (31) there’s a night of music and comedy with Rhythms of Resistance Samba Band, Mr. Social Control, Slamba (Jazz Fission), Jelly Bone (prankster-rapping), and Megabitch DJs until 2am £4/2 concessions refugees - free.
* UNISON Activist Noah Tucker has been suspended by Hackney Council and ordered not to set foot on Council premises nor to communicate with any Council employee. His crime? Having a “negative and rude attitude towards management.”
Sodexho is one bummer of a company. Not only do they make loads of cash out of the voucher system provided for refugees but they also are one of the main companies involved in the privatised prison service. Last month there was a day of action against them with activists in Bristol occupying the Mariott hotel, which is owned by said multi-national. Forty campaigners turned up to tell the public all about Sodexho’s sordid affairs with some activists sneaking into a hotel room, barricading themselves in and hanging a banner out of a window which read ‘Sodexho Marriot - from hotels to prisons’. Others occupied the front steps of the building, banged drums and handed leaflets to passers by. “What Sodexho represents is the degradation of humanity in the pursuit of profit” says Mark Foran of Bristol’s Sod-Action collective “By taking action we can show Sodexho what we really think of their dirty trade. It’s not a single issue, there’s something here for everyone.” There’s another day of action on the 4th April for those who missed out on the fun last time. For more info contact email@example.com
Most travellers want to give as well as take - especially after seeing that tourism often doesn’t benefit local people as much as it should. We get a lot out of travel but what about the people whose paths we cross? Are the meagre earnings they get from selling us the odd ethnic top really enough to make it a fair exchange - especially when we’ve haggled for an hour to knock them down by 50p? Tourism Concern questions our motives for travel and have organised a conference for young travellers on April 7th/8th. It’s at Hulme Hall, Manchester and participants will help draw up a Young Travellers’ Code to be distributed world-wide with speakers from countries including Cuba, Kenya, Thailand, India and Guatemala. The event costs £15 and accommodation is available for another £15 which includes entry to a backpackers ball on Saturday night. For more info and booking call 0207 77533330 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
SchNEWS in brief
Early this month Farrokh Shiri lost his appeal for political asylum. In a distressed state he threatened to take his own life, and after a 4 hour siege was arrested and charged with possessing a replica hand gun, and intending to use an imitation hand gun with the intent of resisting arrest. Now put yourself in his shoes - he had to flee Iran because he would have been sentenced to death, but he says “I am very, very puzzled, in this country they say I am not allowed to kill myself, but on the other hand they want to return me to people who will kill me.” What the f**k is going on when we know that human rights abuses occur in Iran, we know that people are tortured on a daily basis, but we still refuse people who have fled for their lives asylum, and deport them back to face certain death? If Farrokh is found guilty he could face two years in prison before getting deported. At the moment he is being held on remand at HMP Exeter, New North Road, Exeter, Devon, EX4 4EX, and has no money for phone cards, so if you could, send cheques made payable to ‘the Governor’ but write Farrokh Shiri on the back, as well as messages of support.
* There’s a demonstration in support of Michael Taylor, of Bristol NUJ outside Uxbridge Magistrates Court, Harefield Rd, next Friday (6th) 10.00am. Mike was arrested during a Heathrow Airport protest against the deportation of Iraqi-Kurdish asylum seeker Amanj Gafor, who fled Iraq in 1996 following the execution of his father. Amanj was eventually deported to Germany in August where he is in mental hospital because of stress. Tel 0117 965 1803 www.ncadc.org.uk/letters/news20/amanj.
* The planned National Front march in Oldham, has been cancelled, but the anti-fascist demo will still be taking place 11am, outside Oldham College, Rochdale Road, Oldham. Tel 07949 197548 However, the fascists have got permission to march in Bermondsey, South London Sat 7th April. Keep your ears open for details of a counter demo. In Leicester on the 21st April there will be a huge counter demo when the scum will be trying to parade around the town. Meet outside Leicester Train Station at 10am call 07718 62965 email@example.com
The ancient October woodland in East Grinstead is being felled to make way for a hockey pitch and car park by East Grinstead Sports Club, which ain’t too good. The area is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and yet there has been no debate over its destruction. The club can be contacted on 01342-321210 if you want to express your views. The wood is on the Saint Hill road, off the B2110 by the club and is accessible by footpath. Get yer wellies on and mark a return to the country by saving some! email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
April is International Month of Pie-rect action against Capital and State. Starting appropriately on April Fools Day the idea is to “Dessert the State” in the lead up to Mayday. “What better way to draw attention to the often faceless leaders of the corporate world, shameful ‘journalists’, dodgy politicians and anyone who deserves a face full of dissent. The ‘global movement’ is often mis-represented in the mainstream media. You can’t mis-represent a face full of cream. It sends a clear message to the recipient and the media that what these people are doing is ridiculous and that you are prepared to let them know - and have some fun while doing it!” www.dessertstorm.org
Cor-blimley-theyre-practically-giving-them-away book offer SchNEWS Round issues 51 - 100 £5 inc SchNEWS Annual issues 101 - 150 £5 inc. SchNEWS Survival Guide issues 151 - 200 and a whole lot more £6 + £1.20 postage (US Postage £4.00 for individual books, £13 for all four). In the UK you can get the fist three for £15 inc. postage. And finally.... The Schquall book at only £8.00 inc postage. In addition to 50 issues of SchNEWS, each book contains articles, photos, cartoons, a yellow pages list of contacts, comedy etc. All the above books are available from the Brighton Peace Centre, saving postage yer tight gits.
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Last updated 30th March 2001