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Published in Brighton by Justice? - Brighton's Direct Action collective
Issue 126, Friday 18th July 1997Justice? meeting Monday 21st July @ Albert Pub, Trafalgar St. 7.30
By reading this copy of SchNEWS you could find yourself being arrested for breaking an injunction. We therefore recommend once you have memorised this week's issue...you eat it...
"The Act is rightly broad in that it covers all forms
of harassing behaviour, not just stalking."
"The definition of harassment is far too vague and
general...applying to protesters and certain investigative journalists"
Barely five weeks since it became law, the first major injunctions granted under the new Protection from Harassment Act - legislation intended to protect women from stalkers - have been issued against animal rights activists.
Two injunctions were granted by Mr Justice Moses in the High Court last Wednesday. One put a 24-hour exclusion zone around the headquarters of the British Field Sports Association during the Countryside Rally in Hyde Park on Thursday, to deter anti-hunt protesters. The second bars 3 named activists, Cynthia O'Neill, Natasha Dallemange and John Curtin, and "all individuals and organisations holding themselves out as animal rights activists" from interfering with an Oxfordshire cat-breeder, Christopher Brown, and his family.
The first test of the injunction came last Thursday (10th July) when 20 people demonstrated outside the British Field Sports Society HQ. BFSS solicitors obtained an injunction forbidding anyone from a list of named groups or "anyone who identifies themselves as an animal rights activist" from going within 250 yards of the building. Despite that, the police didn't seem too bothered about enforcing the injunction.
At least 2 incidents must occur in order for a person to be arrested and charged under the Act, but the breaking of these injunctions carries a sentence of up to 5 years.
Liz Parratt, Liberty's Campaign Co-ordinator said, "It's always depressing to see our worst warnings come true. Using the new Act in this way will detract from the aim of protecting genuine victims of harassment whilst adding to the arsenal of criminal sanctions already available against legitimate protest. One wonders how long it will be before the same provisions are used against investigative journalists."
As one activist told SchNEWS: "This could be the thin end of the wedge. If they get away with using these laws against animal rights activists then it will give carte blanc to attack anybody involved in the direct action movement."
The Protection from Harassment Act was brought in after a flurry of media attention about stalking last year. Used properly it can offer protection for vulnerable people, but as it seems with so many of the new laws brought in it is being directed at activists.
Senior police officers are recommending that bail conditions should not be offered to anybody arrested under charges created by the Act. This could mean that any activists accused of harassing animal abusers or company directors, for example, could be instantly imprisoned and held on remand for several months without any substantial evidence being produced.
Crap Job Match of the Week
A person signing on as an Ichthyologist (marine biologist specialising in fish) was offered a job as a fish monger! When he explained what Ichthyologist was, he was told "Oh well, at least you'll know which fish is which."
SchNEWS Prize Draw
SchNEWS is offering one year's free subs to the first person who uses the new law to take out an injunction on everybody's favourite snoopers Brays Detective Agency for being such nosey-parkers.
Bye Bye Consort
Good News! Consort - beagle breeders for vivisection - are closing down! After 10 months of campaigning Consort have finally given up after increasingly violent demonstrations. In April, local police used CS Gas indiscriminately against protesters for the first time in this country. 60 people have been arrested for affray during the campaign, including one man who was jailed for 4 months - for interfering with a witness - by attending a demo outside a Consort workers home while on bail for assault (see SchNEWS 117/120)
Protesters Occupy a Million Toilets
Activists in Devon have set up a tree protest camp in response to proposals for a Watts Blake Bearne (WBB) Group clay quarry extension - providing raw materials for millions of toilets, washbasins and tiles. The project has not been subject to a thorough environmental impact assesment and the land is protected both by the EU Habitats Directive and the Wild Birds Directive. The company want to divert about 1km of the rivers Bovey and Teign in an area that houses otters, kingfishers, bats and rare fish. People needed in this beautiful part of the country - give `em a bell on 0467 622825 for directions.
SchNEWS in Brief
The Flying Pickets
"The fact that some jobs are less unpleasant than
others, and that individual workers have the nominal right to switch jobs,
start their own business, buy stocks or win a lottery, disguises the fact that
the vast majority of people are collectively enslaved."
What would you say if all work stopped on the Newbury Bypass, the second runway at Manchester airport or the Millennium Dome in Greenwich? Would you applaud the thousands of people who have taken to direct action and were physically stopping these destructive schemes going ahead? What, however, if it was due to the workers on these sites taking strike action?
At British Airways unions are voting to take industrial action, fed up with being bribed and bullied by the New Labour darling Robert Ayling, BA's chief executive.
The head of the worlds most profitable airline wants to introduce paycuts and longer hours - and has threatened anyone who wants to strike with the sack - and is then offering to sue them for the privilege! He wants to save £1 billion a year by 2000 although he managed to find £60 million recently re-designing plane tails. Why didn't you give us a call Mr Ayling? SchNEWS could have set you up with some great graffiti artists for a fraction of the price.
Now SchNEWS, being good (and tongue-in-cheek!) environmentalists usually only travel round the country using either a thumb, skateboard or magic carpet. However the holier-than-thou-I-can't-support-them-they-are-involved-in-the-devil's-work attitude needs to be challenged. As one activist told us at the Earth First! Gathering, "a situation has been created where we all need money to live and the majority of us have to sell ourselves into work which we don't control or choose to do. If we adopt a moralist attitude it's missing the fundamental point that its not the individual workers fault. We should support people when they're in conflict 'cos they are resisting the way they are being controlled" So now you know....
Not only that, but people change in struggle - you only have to chat to sacked Liverpool dockers to find out what they think of the work ethic.
So, forget your prejudices and if needs be get ready for a spot of flying picketing...
The + Files
Talamh are a collective of 14 people experimenting in sustainable living. Their project is based on respect, co-operation and compassion. They grow their own food and live together in the 17th cetuary farmhouse just south of Glagow. Visitor's weeks and work projects are available. Contact them at: Talamh housing Co-op, Birkhill House, Nr Coalburn, Lanarkshire, ML11 0NJ.
Two Manchester Airport activists received serious sentences for minor offences last week. They each received four weeks inprisonment for obstructing a baliff and a further four weeks for breaking their conditional discharge from Fairmile. Letters of support would be greatly appreciated:Tom Thompson: HMP Hindley, Gibson St. Bickershaw, Wigan, WN2 5TH. And Andre Pusey: HMP Risley, 617 Warrington Rd. Risley, Warrington, WA3 6BP.
Six Days That Mildly Peturbed East Sussex
The Anarchist Teapot, Brighton's radical squat cafe and info shop is celebrating the opening of it's fifth premises, from the 22nd - 27th July with events, fun and frolics. This is the provisional timetable:
When a SchNEWS scribe phoned Strathclyde police stations nosey-parker section to ask about excessive surveillance at the Earth First! gathering their reply was "...erm, I'm not sure I understand you, I've never heard of Earth First!". However, rumours suggest that the gathering created the biggest police surveilance opperation in Scotland for 10 years. With helicopters circling the camp, suspicious suited characters carrying mobile phones posing as dustbin men (!), numerous marked and unmarked police cars stopping and searching vehicles and an unknown amount of undercover cops at the gathering this estimate may not be too much of an over estimation. Which was quite funny - for as the police went overboard, bracing themselves for some full on action, people instead did litter picking, cleared up a local pond and built a disabled access ramp, much to the delight of the local youngsters, some of which commented "We thought you were going to trash the nearby open cast sites." What us?
disclaimerSee front page... er honest
Good luck to Tom and Andre!!
Out soon - P.Styles new book `How To Make Friends and Influence People'.
SchNEWS, PO Box 2600, Brighton, BN2 2DX, England
Last updated 25 July 1997
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