BACK ISSUES

SchNEWS 714, 19th March 2010
Tit Top - Well blimey. Against all the odds it looks like Titnore Woods has been saved from the developers’ evil clutches. The decision made by Worthing Council’s planning committee to reject the development plans for the new housing estate on the ancient woodland site on Monday (15th) had everyone shouting with joy and dancing in the public gallery. 

SchNEWS 713, 12th March 2010
Sussex, Lies and Videotape - Following last week’s ‘Stop The Cuts’ demonstration and occupation of the senior management’s offices six Sussex University students had been suspended and excluded from campus. The six had been ‘positively identified’ following Sussex Police’s thuggish altercations on campus....

SchNEWS 712, 5th March 2010
School of Hard Knocks - Students at Sussex University came into violent conflict with riot cops on Wednesday (3rd) as they occupied the executive nerve centre of their university. Several weeks in the planning by Stop the Cuts campaign, around 80 students rushed the ‘fortified’ Sussex House building with a supporting demo outside of around 300 people, all in protest against the proposed cuts to university funding...

SchNEWS 711, 26th February 2010
Greek Fire - Greece has once again been rocked by protests, strikes and civil unrest as Eurozone austerity measures kick in... plus, far-right losers the SDL are seen off the streets of Edinburgh, Colombian riot police attack protesting workers demanding better conditions at BP owned oil company, Tree hugging tramps declare war on Tesco, Protests are called as more Gaza defendants are banged up, and more...

SchNEWS 710, 19th February 2010
Gaza Defendants Hammered - As Judge-mental Dennis hands down vicious sentences to London Gaza protesters.... plus, 700 activists converge on Aldermaston nuclear facility for mass blockade, Irish Shell protester jailed for seven months, after last week's illegal eviction activists re-establish migrant solidarity centre, Cameron's cuddly conservatives promise a crackdown on travellers and squatters, and more...

SchNEWS 709, 12th February 2010
Slung Out On Yer Frontier - SchNEWS asks you and whose gendarmerie? As French cops crackdown on migrant welfare centre... plus, activists take on companies importing goods from illegally occupied Palestinian territories, Iranian anti-regime campaigner Bita Ghaedi goes into the fourth week of hunger strike in her fight against deportation, Turkish anti-militarists set to stand trial for “alienating people from military service” and “praising crime and criminals”, and more...

SchNEWS 708, 5th February 2010
Eyewitness Afghanistan - From Kemp Town to Kabul, as SchNEWS interviews Al Jazeera journalist Medyan Dairieh about his take on the war... plus, Honduras' 'return to democracy' sees the coup leaders holding on to power and upping the repression, Kingsnorth Climate Campers win in the High Court against unlawful police stop and searches, No Borders and SoS Soutien open an autonomous safe space in Calais, and more...

SchNEWS 707, 29th January 2010
Lanarky in Action - As the National Eviction Team move in on Mainshill Solidarity Camp... plus, they finally get around to putting a price on Blair's head, the English Defence League embark on a racist rampage through Stoke, French police evict a night shelter and destroy the makeshift camp erected by migrants in protest, a coalition of No Borders activists and local nimbys help derail plans for a new deportation centre in Crawley, and more...

SchNEWS 706, 22nd January 2010
Haiti: The Aftershock Doctrine - As the rescue effort winds down SchNEWS looks at how the international aid effort is being subverted by military and corporate power... plus, Monday’s Smash EDO demo forced the Brighton bomb makers to shut up shop, the EDL’s racist roadshow is moving on to Stoke, Mainshill solidarity camp in South Lanarkshire is gearing up for an eviction date, and more...

Copyleft - Information for direct action - Published weekly in Brighton since 1994

Home | Friday 26th March 2010 | Issue 715

WAKE UP!! IT’S YER LAST STRAW-BERRY...

SchNEWS

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Story Links : A Twist Of Fete | Thimble Pleasures | Met With Undue Force | New Deal Or No Deal | Gimme Fife | Edl: Bolton Blunderers | Ee By Heckler | Speak-ing Out | Titnore: Jack Out The Box | And Finally

A TWIST OF FETE

STRAWBERRY FAIR CANCELLED AFTER POLICE INTERVENTION...

It’s rapidly becoming obvious that this is a nationwide issue - somehow the police have got it into their heads that music and dancing are bad for society. They’ve used the licensing laws as a weapon.” - Strawberry Fair organiser

In what is fast becoming a summer tradition, yet another gathering has fallen victim to party-pooping police tactics. The UK’s last free open-air festival has been cancelled under police pressure. Strawberry Fair, in Cambridge, viewed by many as the starting gun for the festival season, has been stopped in its tracks after 37 straight years. Some (on Facebook at least) are vowing that some kind of festival will go ahead anyway.

The fair had actually been granted a full licence on March 2nd by Cambridge city council, despite police objections. However the cops used their discretionary powers to appeal the decision to the magistrates court. A final decision on the outcome wouldn’t have been made until just a few weeks before the event. According to Justin Argent, chairman of the organising committee “The timetable for the appeal means we will not know whether the fair can go ahead as planned until far too late in the day. We do not want to pass this risk on to the supportive suppliers, traders and artists whose livelihoods would be severely damaged by a last-minute cancellation.” Regular SchNEWS readers will remember the problems that followed the last minute cancellation of last year’s Big Green Gathering (see SchNEWS 685).

The council weighed in with a spirited denunciation of the police. Jennifer Liddle, chairman of the city council’s licensing committee, said, “It is a great shame an unelected and unaccountable police force decided to ignore that decision and lodge an appeal. Not only is their decision to try to ban Strawberry Fair undemocratic, it has cost an enormous amount of money”. Even local MP David Howarth chipped in, “It should be left to democratically elected councillors to make decisions like these that affect our city, not unelected police officers.”

In previous years the festival was conducted under the council’s general entertainments licence for Midsummer Common. This year however the committee had to apply for a separate licence, which opened up the process to police intervention. Cambridge police assembled a legal team, including London based barrister Elliot Gold and Avon and Somerset Police’s Inspector Ian Ross, who fronted the Big Green Clampdown. They presented a 75 page dodgy dossier, which claimed that “music and dancing led to drug taking” (in our rhythmically challenged experience it’s actually the other way round), and so consequently the event encouraged anti-social behaviour.

Also submitted was an unwittingly hilarious DVD, that mainly consists of soft focus shots of circles of cross-legged people who may or may not be skinning up. The highlight reel also includes a few voyeuristic shots of public urination and some lardy bouncers beating someone up. The DVD was published on Cambridge Police’s website, but hastily taken down after a public outcry.

FAIR PLAY?

Strawberry Fair is an entirely volunteer run non-profit event. Justin Argent, Chair of Strawberry Fair said, “As a voluntary group we don’t have access to the kinds of legal resource or the public finance used by Cambridgeshire Police in their objections to the license. It is going to be an very tough task for us to prepare for the appeal hearing both in time and money”. She added, “Gaining a secure license that will allow the Fair to continue for many years to come has to be the top priority for the Strawberry Fair committee. The police appeal of the decision made by Cambridge City Council means that we now have to put all our efforts into fighting that appeal, rather than into the detailed preparations for the 2010 Fair which should now be taking place, and we are not prepared to compromise either the appeal or the Fair itself

Weirdly, at the end of last year’s fair the police told the local paper that they were ‘not aware of any major incidents at the event’. Now the party line is “Over the years, the event has attracted a large number of people - many from outside Cambridge - who see it as nothing more than an excuse to drink to excess and engage in illegal drug use, whilst at the same time becoming involved in anti-social behaviour disturbing to other fairgoers and city residents.”

So why the sudden change of tune? According to one organiser, “They didn’t have serious issues until we decided we weren’t going to pay them - this year they just wanted a nominal fee of £1,500. But that was set to change and rise to potentially thousands of pounds a year. Our attitude was that as the festival was free for all the people of Cambridge, there shouldn’t be any charge by the police. As soon as we refused to pay this process of licence, objections started. We’ve no idea what their ultimate agenda is but it’s clear they don’t want the fair to continue in its present form”.

Organisers also foresaw problems with policing at this year’s fair if the police ban had been refused. “Even if the police lost their appeal there is no reason to suppose that would be the end of their campaign and a fair this year would have a pretty much unbearable and unmanageable police presence, and the real possibility of court cases for the license holder. We are but one of a number of events that are bearing the brunt of an overzealous police force, and last summer proved that even established, gated events (Big Green, Thimbleberry), with almost non-existent crime rates are not immune from this.”

Festival organisers have stressed that they feel that an unauthorised gathering might be unhelpful to the continuance of the fair in future years. However one told us “We don’t want to encourage it, but its clear that people do value the event possibly more than they value the organising team behind it. Strawberry is really important to people in Cambridge

Organisers are calling out for donations to help fund the fight against the appeal so Strawberry Fair has the chance to officially go ahead next year. Meanwhile – check out the unofficial group on Facebook: They’ve cancelled Strawberry fair - I’ll still turn up

* See www.strawberry-fair.org.uk/

There is 1 user comment on this story... [ Show More or Add Comment ]
Added on 26th March 2010 at 13:04 by Ozzy
If you're reading this article please sign this petition to stop the police charging community events such as strawberry fair for the cost of policing, we believe that all public services polcing included should be funded through general taxation and not on a "pay per view" / subsciption type basis. To us it seems the police are running a hi vis protection racket http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/communityevents/
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THIMBLE PLEASURES

Andrew Norman, the organiser of Thimbleberry Festival who was charged with allowing his premises to be used for smoking cannabis (see SchNEWS 707), has had his case hurled out of court after the judge dismissed it as “invalidly commited”.

After talks between the judge, the CPS and Andy’s lawyer, the prosecution offered no evidence - presumably because they had none. The judge had questioned the prosecution’s definition of premises, to which prosecutor Mark Giuliani replied, “it would appear to have been a field”. The judge went on to say, “had this been looked at logically, it could never have been committed from the magistrates’ court”

Although the first of this year’s Thimbleberrys was cancelled, following his victory Andy declared, “the show is back on” and plans to go ahead with September’s festival

Keywords: festivals, police
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MET WITH UNDUE FORCE

It’s been a sticky week for SchNEWS’ favourite state thugs. The Met face a possible £250,000 compensation bill after admitting a raid on a squat the day after the G20 protests was illegal. The two demonstrators who took the Met to court are to receive £3,000 each which leaves 68 other protesters able to claim.

Cops burst into the squat armed with tasers, riot gear and a FIT team and proceeded to violently arrest the occupants (who had promptly sat down and offered no resistance) repeatedly cracking one activist on the head while he was on the floor. Despite cop claims that some ‘violent’ protesters from the day before were in the squat, none of the squatters matched any of the photos.

This followed a ruling in February in favour of climate camp, which declared the stop ‘n’ search tactics at Kingsnorth unlawful (see SchNEWS 708), anyone who’s ever been a bit pissed off with the way the cops have treated them – now’s your chance!

If you were one of the squatters – find out how to file your claim by emailing legal@climatecamp.org.uk

Also under the spotlight this week has been Met officer Delroy Smellie for his attack on protester Nicola Fisher at the memorial event for Ian Tomlinson, killed by police the day before. Despite footage showing Smellie striking Nicola with the back of the hand and then twice with a baton he denies assault. This ‘flick of the hand’ was apparently prompted by Smellie’s trouser wetting at the rampaging hordes around him, and the weapon Fisher was holding (which turned out to be a carton of organge) a terror kept well hidden from all the cameras around. The trial continues at Westminster Mags next week.

Another embarrassment for the Met came when footage was released of them beating a protester with batons and shields at the Gaza demo last year before arresting and charging him with violent disorder. After withholding seven and a half hours of video evidence until the day before the trial the cops dropped the case. Had he be found guilty Jake Smith would have been facing up to three years inside.

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NEW DEAL OR NO DEAL

Last Wednesday, members of Brighton Benefits Campaign (BBC) staged a protest outside the offices of corporate welfare spongers, Careers Development Group and Maximus. The two companies are providers of Brightons ‘Flexible New Deal’ (FND), the government’s new flagship scheme for anybody who’s been unemployed for a year. The FND sees services normally provided by JobcentrePlus contracted out to private companies, whose prime motive for involvement is, of course, profit. While the government claims it is spending billions on helping the unemployed, it is just doling out the cash to the private sector, not to help those without jobs.

While the FND providers don’t create any new jobs and the government has spent nothing on job creation, they do manage to expand the low wage, flexible labour market by forcing the unemployed, single parents, the sick and disabled and everyone else to compete for the scarce jobs on offer. As a result, wages plummet and working conditions deteriorate.

The FND also contains a work for your benefits (workfare) element - 40hrs a week for a month – at the fraction above slave labour rate of £1.60 an hour. The BBC are looking to expand their campaign against these parasitic profiteers.

Anyone who wants to get involved should contact them at www.brightonbenefitscampaign@googlemail.com or see www.brightonbenefitscampaign.wordpress.com

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GIMME FIFE

Twenty five activists occupied the site of the Blair House Open Cast Coal Site last Sunday (21st). The campaigners have put up nets, platforms and tree houses and barricaded the access road with the aid of a scaffolding tripod. Contractors have persevered with the felling of the birch and oak forest mere metres from the camp. The occupation is the second of its kind in recent weeks (see SchNEWS 714). The new coal mine is one of twenty to have recently been granted permission to mutilate Scotland.

On Thursday morning, the Dunfermline Sheriff Court responded by swiftly handing the camp its eviction summons, with notice to appear in court the following Monday.

Fife Council has given permission to UK Coal to mine 720,000 tonnes of coal from the site- a decision that more than 150 local residents oppose. This process was supposed to pass unnoticed by the majority of the local populace. Notifications were only sent out to people living within a 90m radius of the site - as if they will be the only ones affected.

The activists, supported by the local populace, are opposing the destruction of the natural landscape the mining will cause as it goes ahead, not to mention the noise, pollution, the detrimental effect on health, increased traffic, the destruction of native wildlife and of course the effects on climate change that creep closer each passing day.

* Get involved - site no 07806926040 or see www.coalactionscotland.noflag.org.uk

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EDL: BOLTON BLUNDERERS

Thousands of EDL supporters and anti-racists clashed in Bolton city centre last Saturday (20th) in a confrontation that led to 67 arrests.

Both groups assembled in Victoria Square where they were separated by hundreds of riot police, dogs and crowd control barriers. As protesters arrived in the square an electronic sign directed the EDL to one side of the square and the UAF to the other and police attempted to pen the opposing groups in with harris fencing. Free roaming anti-racists, including a large number of local Asian youth, confronted the smaller blocs of EDL that remained mobile.

Over fifty of those arrested were reported to be UAF supporters. Among them was UAF organiser Weman Bennet, who was seized by a police snatch squad. He has been charged with suspicion of conspiracy to commit criminal damage.

In the evening after the protest, a man was stabbed by a man wearing an EDL T-shirt. Witnesses reported seeing EDL supporters behaving aggressively and abusing customers in the Oddfellows Arms. When the man asked them to leave and escorted them outside, he was jumped on by EDL thugs. After his friend intervened, he was slashed on the shoulder with a cut throat razor.

* See www.manchesteruaf.org

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EE BY HECKLER

Last week six anti-militarist activists were in court in Nottingham facing charges of Aggravated Trespass over a blockade of the arms corporation Heckler & Koch’s Nottingham depot (See SchNEWS 710). The action involved a rooftop occupation and lock-on to the gates, closing the depot for the day.

Five of the Shut H&K (see SchNEWS 631) activists pleaded guilty and were fined – two who had prior convictions also got 12-month restraining orders preventing them from going near H&Ks premises. The sixth, who pleaded not guilty, will now go on trial on May 20th at Nottingham Magistrates Court (at 9.45am).

* See http://nottsantimilitarism.wordpress.com www.shutdownhk.org.uk

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SPEAK-ING OUT

Long term animal rights campaigner Mel Broughton has had his conviction for ‘conspiracy to commit arson’ quashed. However, he remains in prison and now faces a re-trial. This will make it the third time that Mel has stood trial for the same offences, which are alleged to be connected to the SPEAK campaign against Oxford University’s animal laboratory.

It has become clear that Thames Valley Police are pursuing a political vendetta against Mel after they were caught on tape saying they would be “waging a dirty war” him “persecute him”. (see SchNEWS 590)

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Added on 1st April 2010 at 23:20 by me
Great news!
Added on 31st March 2010 at 23:48 by I Give A Sh!t
Mel Broughton was granted bail March 29th at a hearing ahead of his second re-trial at Oxford Crown Court. Stringent bail conditions imposed include not to enter Oxfordshire, participate in any animal rights related activities and others which cannot be disclosed at current due to legal reasons. The news has been welcomed by his family and supporters. www.arprisoners.org
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TITNORE: JACK OUT THE BOX

After getting nicked for obstruction, long-term Titnore resident Mr Jack Rumbold was bailed away from site. The bail conditions in effect banned him from the site that had been his only home since January.

On Wednesday (17th) he informed the powers that be that he planned to break his bail conditions as he objected to being made homeless. After he was duly locked up, he threatened to go on hunger strike to show his disgust. His solicitor pointed out to the court the disproportionate nature of his bail compared to the alleged crime.

After some deliberation the judge decided to offer Jack a conditional discharge, leaving him free to go back to his treehouse.

* See also www.protectourwoodland.co.uk

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AND FINALLY

The fear mantra of “If you suspect it – report it.” is obviously seeping its way deeper into the mass subconscious by the day. Not surprising when it’s broadcast on all railway station P.A.’s in between every train arrival.

Two South West trains security goons were clearly on a high state of alert when Tom ‘well you can never be totally’ Shaw, an unassuming young musician from the Southampton area plonked down on a seat by them and proceeded to write out a list of cover versions his band could play at an upcoming gig.

It only took one of fluoro-jacketed henchmen to glance over his shoulder and see Tom had jotted ‘Cigarettes and Alcohol’, ‘Shut Up And Let Me Go’, and ‘Killers’ before they sprung into heroic public defence action, forcing Tom get off the train at the next stop before grilling him in depth about the weird coded threats.

Just as well he hadn’t been planning on playing ‘Stairway to Heaven’, ‘I Wanna Live Forever’ or ‘Suicide is painless’... (insert your own song titles here – answers on a anthrax contaminated postcard to the usual address...)

Keywords: war on terror
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Disclaimer

SchNEWS warns all readers, imagine a life without festivals, a fete worse than death. Honest.

 

SchMOVIES

REPORTS FROM THE VERGE - Smash EDO/ITT Anthology 2005-2009 - A new collection of twelve SchMOVIES covering the Smash EDO/ITT's campaign efforts to shut down the Brighton based bomb factory since the company sought its draconian injunction against protesters in 2005.

UNCERTIFIED - OUT NOW on DVD- SchMOVIES DVD Collection 2008 - Films on this DVD include... The saga of On The verge – the film they tried to ban, the Newhaven anti-incinerator campaign, Forgive us our trespasses - as squatters take over an abandoned Brighton church, Titnore Woods update, protests against BNP festival and more... To view some of these films click here

ON THE VERGE - The Smash EDO Campaign Film - is out on DVD. The film police tried to ban - the account of the four year campaign to close down a weapons parts manufacturer in Brighton, EDO-MBM. 90 minutes, £6 including p&p (profits to Smash EDO)

TAKE THREE - SchMOVIES Collection DVD 2007 featuring thirteen short direct action films produced by SchMOVIES in 2007, covering Hill Of Tara Protests, Smash EDO, Naked Bike Ride, The No Borders Camp at Gatwick, Class War plus many others. £6 including p&p.

V For Video Activist - the SchMOVIES 2006 DVD Collection - twelve short films produced by SchMOVIES in 2006. only £6 including p&p.

SchMOVIES DVD Collection 2005 - all the best films produced by SchMOVIES in 2005. Running out of copies but still available for £6 including p&p.

SchNEWS Books

SchNEWS At Ten - A Decade of Party & Protest - 300 pages, £5 inc p&p (within UK)

Peace de Resistance - issues 351-401, 300 pages, £5 inc p&p

SchNEWS of the World - issues 300 - 250, 300 pages,£4 inc p&p.

SchNEWS and SQUALL’s YEARBOOK 2001 - SchNEWS and Squall back to back again - issues 251-300, 300 pages, £4 inc p&p.

SchQUALL - SchNEWS and Squall back to back - issues 201-250 - Sold out - Sorry

SchNEWS Survival Guide - issues 151-200 - Sold out - Sorry

SchNEWS Annual - issues 101-150 - Sold out - Sorry

(US Postage £6.00 for individual books, £13 for above offer).

These books are mostly collections of 50 issues of SchNEWS from each year, containing an extra 200-odd pages of extra articles, photos, cartoons, subverts, a “yellow pages” list of contacts, comedy etc. SchNEWS At Ten is a ten-year round-up, containing a lot of new articles.

Subscribe to SchNEWS: Send 1st Class stamps (e.g. 10 for next 9 issues) or donations (payable to Justice?). Or £15 for a year's subscription, or the SchNEWS supporter's rate, £1 a week. Ask for "originals" if you plan to copy and distribute. SchNEWS is post-free to prisoners.

A brief history of the Dragon Festival and Cigarrones travellers site, southern Spain.
The Cigarrones travellers’ site is one of several communities which have sprung up near Orgiva in Andalucía, Spain, in recent decades. Coming to the southern tip of Europe to escape the repression against travellers in Britain and elsewhere, they have carved out a life of avin’ it autonomous anarchy – despite increasing attention from tinpot local authorities who act like Franco is still in. Since 1997 the site has held the annual Dragon Festival - now arguably one of the most significant free festivals in Europe – but this is also under attack. Here is a brief history written by a resident of Cigarrones:
SchNEWS interviews Canadian journalist and military historian Gwynne Dyer about the dire warnings for a post-climate change world in his book 'The Climate Wars'
Report from US-Mexico border about the narco wars whose connections go right up to the president
One year after the military coup in Honduras which ousted the leader and installed a neo-liberal cabal, grassroots groups across the country are aligning to create a popular movement.
SchNEWS interviews Richard Stallman – hacker, founder of the Free Software movement and activist for digital-software-information freedom...
From Kemp Town to Kabul, as SchNEWS interviews Al Jazeera journalist Medyan Dairieh about his take on the war...
An eyewitness account from Phnom Penh, as Cambodia faces its largest forced displacements since the time of the Khmer Rouge.
The future of Titnore Woods is threatened as Tesco and Worthing Council gang up to build upon the ancient woodland...
Who are the far-right English Defence League, and what are their strategies?
With the murder of Russian human rights activist Natalia Estemirova in Chechnya, we look at the Russian-backed despotic regime in Chechnya.
At the last minute the Big Green Gathering festival in Somerset was pulled due to legal pressure - SchNEWS looks at the events and factors that led to this.
The president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, is removed and sent into exile after a military coup d'etat.
This year marks the 24th anniversary of the infamous police attack on travellers on their way to Stonehenge in an incident now known as the Battle Of The Beanfield.
SchNEWS looks how deep the financial problems are for the banks and the British Govt, and how they won't learn from their errors.
Given a more optimistic environment after Obama's announcement that he's going to close the Guantanamo prison camp, SchNEWS interviews ex-detainee, Omar Deghayes, to gauge his reaction.
Eyewitness accounts from British activists on the ground during the wanton attack on Gaza by Israel in January 2009.
Somali pirates roaming the Gulf Of Aden, hijacking - amongst other ships - a Saudi oil supertanker. How is it possible? What geo-political context is giving rise to these latter-day pirates?