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Published in Brighton by Justice? - Brighton's Direct Action collective
Issue 122, Friday 6th June 1997"Are we going to tell lies against our enemies who lie? Don't the facts speak enough?"
- Chai Ling, Tianammen Sq. `89
At 8am this morning six Runway 2 tunnellers will have been underground for seven days and one hour - beating Swampy's Fairmile record and costing Manchester Airport £200 a minute. Destined for fame is mother-to-be Denise with Muppet Dave, Matt and Neville who have spent more than a week `downstairs' in Cakehole at the Flywood Camp. Jeni and Blowpipe are holed up in Paul McCartney's Cavern.
But the Swampification of protests is all lifestyles and no issues. So SchNEWS brings you the facts behind the Britain's first anti-airport direct action protest. One thousand acres of greenbelt at beautiful Bollin Valley in Cheshire - double the land destroyed by the Newbury bypass - will be Tarmac'ed. The development is pointless - Runway 2 would provide a third more flights, yet one third of all seats from Manchester are empty. It would be used at first for just five hours a week. Fifty miles away, Liverpool Airport is idle. The Airport claim 50,000 jobs will be created. Infact it will create negligable local employment for £200M of gross environmental destruction. In February Manchester Chamber of Commerce and Industry estimated it would be more like 5,000.
"Three of my grandchildren have got asthma. I used to walk through
here for years with the dogs. It's disgusting."
In January the first people took to the trees after 20 years of letter-writing opposition in nearby Mobberly, Styal and the well-heeled Wilmslow. A 101-day enquiry was "loaded in favour of the developers from the start" according to former Beirut hostage and local Terry Waite. New Labour MP Graham Stringer was simultaneously leader of Manchester City Council and the chairman of Manchester Aiport plc - the Council owns 55% of the Airport. Funny that. Yet Stringer has accused the protesters of "coming from the same political tradition as Mussolini and Pol Pot."
Terry Waite headed a team of independent legal observers but Stringer denied access to the eviction site. Police vans patrol the four-mile razor wire exclusion zone in a £6 million security operation. The press corps are penned in 100 metres out of sight of the action, only able to report that they could not see anything. Evidence gatherers film and photograph everyone.
Nameless ex-SAS balaclava'd `Men In Black' are employed to dig the protesters out, but are working at a painfully slow rate of a tunnel door a day, which makes those in the know laugh at how long it will take.
Under Sheriff Randall `The Vandal' Hibbert, backed by hundreds of security and bailiffs, hit the first of the seven tree camps at 3.45am on Tuesday May 20th. Protestors sat around the campfire at Zion Tree say they were subjected to an unprovoked truncheon attack by Greater Manchester Police. They deny involvement but are `investigating'. It took 15 days before the last man was pulled from the branches at Sir Cliff Richard OBE Vegan Revolution, Jimi Hendrix, River Rats, Wild Garlic, and The-Camp-Of-Many-Names. `Leery' Flywood, the first camp to be set up (known also as Babylon's Council Estate) featured Battlestar Galactica, a multi-levelled tree fortress holding 14 people. It took cherry pickers to get people out - and would have been unevictable had a tunnel been at the base.
One man, Carl, nailed his ear to a tree, and another was tied to a trunk in a wheelchair. Russ and Tangle, who fought it out 80 feet up, announced they were getting married as they were released from Wilmslow police station. There have been 160 arrests during the campaign. One protester, Sharyn, who was jailed for refusing bail conditions, went on hunger strike demanding proof that the prison food was not genetically engineered. Local support is fantastic and half the security are on our side.
Zero Tolerance, a London kamikaze soundsystem, was tied into the trees in the `We are Over Here' camp providing a surreal aural backdrop with the likes of Girl from Ipanima, Vivaldi and banging techno ringing out depending on the mood, while Sea Sabs mounted attacks down the Bollin River (owned by the Rivers Authority not Manchester Airport). Now protesters say they will take their campaign direct to the Airport itself, while others head South to fight Rank's Centre Parcs development in Lyminge Forest, Kent.
"Out of 160 public inquiries into roads, 159 got the
go ahead. And the other one got through on appeal."
We all know you wanna have a battle with the Sheriff of Nottingham, but despite our exhaustive enquiries Sherwood Forest is safe. SchNEWS says: Get down the 'Minge! Rank have been granted permission to build a new holiday park in Lyminge Forest, Kent. They bunged the Forestry Commision £4m - the price for 440 of yer finest ancient forest, West Wood, in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The Oasis Village will include a Wonderwall of 400 `forest lodges', 90 studio apartments, a large village centre with shops and parking for 3,400 cars and lorries!!! Five tree camps are up and the tunnelling's begun. Don't Look Back In Anger when the Oasis is built - get down there! Even the local rag, the "Hythe Herald' is saying "THIS IS THE NEXT BIG ONE!". Rank have already indicated that under pressure they'd consider pulling out.
Forget the TV Listings guides, get out of your armchairs and check out some real life in yer very own Ennertainments guide for...
Other places for fun in the sun:
Get yer full on Festival Eye £2 from BCM Box 2002, London WC1N 3XX - "the complete and utter guide to festivals!"
As all your favourite heads of State meet in Amsterdam this month, they will be greeted by activists from an array of political backgrounds, attempting to highlight European mass-unemployment, poverty and job insecurity and anything else that makes them/us rather angry... We've got a Euromarch Against Mass Unemployment, an Alternative Summit - to plan for a better world, a Stop The City - against everything that puts profit before people, Reclaim The Streets - to party and protest, and a Gay & Lesbian demo.
Details: Tegencontrole, Postbus 3762, NL1001 AN Amsterdam.
Last week, those naughty protesters at the A30 campaign have been entering the site where the Fairmile `University of Road Protest' site once stood. In just a week, an impressive tunnel snaked underground and an early morning offensive saw the erection of barricades, a tripod, banners, two lock-ons, and a fire. Pinkertons security guards, patrolling the site with due diligence, did not once spot the nocturnal pixie activities...and even walked twice past the fire without being alerted to any mischievous goings-on. The first the police heard of the event was when local Gemini Radio station called them to see if the story was true!
Police in New York are carrying out trials on the NetGun, which fires a spiderman-like sticky net to immobilise a suspect. The NetGun has been developed by the Foster-Miller Corporation of Massachusetts and is intended to deal with `lightly armed' people. The basic model fires a 16 feet diameter net covered in `wipe-clean glue' from a 38 mm grenade gun. There is also a smaller handheld version with a range of 20 feet, one that can be launched from the ground to entangle a car, and another which can deliver a 60 kilovolt shock when attached to a battery.
In an unprecedented move, ITV is broadcasting an informative and well made documentary. World in Action's two-part programme on the export of British military equipment to the Indonesian dictatorship continues on Monday at 8pm. Last week's programme, cunningly scheduled at the same time as EastEnders to ensure minimal viewing figures, actually told something approximating to the truth about East Timor. Watch part two, `Profit before Principle', on Monday, or watch this space if you haven't got a telly.
Campaign Against the Arms Trade: 0171 281 0297
The makers of Semtex are to market a new `limited shelf life' version which loses its squidgyness after a couple of years. Apparently the stuff our friends in Judean People's Front are using is ten to twenty years old! The manufacturers, Synthesia Semtin, want to prevent their customers from sitting on the stock for so long. Hope they're careful when they stamp the Best Before date on the box...
The SchNEWS warns all readers never to stuff yer Cakehole with unwashed eco-warriors. Never call yourself Swampy, else you run the risk of being chased all over the country by young girls and annoying journalists. Bury your head in the sand and think of England. Then you will feel content. Honest.
SchNEWS was brought to you this week by a group of comprehesive kids with a sense of humour...
Last updated 12 June 1997
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