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Published in Brighton by Justice? - Brighton's Direct Action collective

Issue 174/175, Friday 10th July 1998


"We believe in non-violent action: this virtually accuses us of attempted murder."
Muppet Dave

The campaign to stop the Birmingham North Relief Road took another bizarre twist last week with a leaked memo that told firefighters not to respond to calls from road protesters. The document warns fire officers to 'expect ditches lined with spikes, arson attacks to lure fire appliances so the equipment can be stolen, buildings designed to collapse and home-made grenades filled with fleas and urine! (SchNEWS would be interested to see how you make a flea and urine bomb).

400 copies of the briefing paper were circulated to West Midlands Fire Service officers advising them to delay responding to emergency calls from road protesters and to tell the police when they receive a call.

The memo follows hot on the heels of a meeting called by West Midlands Police (see SchNEWS 169), attended by the bosses of both the fire brigade and the ambulance service. During the meeting they were told by police bigwigs that protesters were violent terrorists who had bobby trapped squatted buildings along the route to stop evictions.

The message obviously struck home with the Fire Service Chiefs, however, the Fire Brigades Union were furious and on Wednesday held a meeting with the protestors. One member commented; "I find it disgusting. How often do you see stories about heroic firefighters digging out a little Jack Russell -and they're telling us we shouldn't do the same thing for a human"

If the road schemes gets the go ahead twenty seven miles of farmland, woodland, green belt, water meadows, Special Sites of Scientific Interest and homes will be trashed to make way for Britain's first toll motorway. Privately built by Midland Expressway Ltd., construction is due to begin in January 1999 and is estimated to cost the taxpayer £415 million.

Directions: Catch 105/105A bus from Bull Street or Corporation Street, Birmingham City Centre toRoughley.Get out at the last stop (by a phone box) and directly ahead you will see a crossroads. Turn left down Weeford Road, straight on til you reach a sliproad up to the A38, follow this for about one and a half miles and you will see Greenwood Camp on the left, well illuminated with signs.

  • Birmingham Friends of the Earth 0121 632 6909/Camp mobile 07970 932224



Five women were nicked last Saturday, as they launched the Snowball Campaign against gentically engineered (GE) foodcrops. Wearing protective clothing and openly declaring their intention to pull up GE plants at the test field site in Model Farm, Watlington, Oxfordshire, they managed to pull up 200 plants before being nicked for criminal damage. Two dozen cops, a helicopter, numerous police vans and landrovers, stood by and watched before making the arrests and confiscating garden tools. However, thanks to Monsanto, the owners of the GE crops, wanting to keep a low profile, they were all released without charge.

The campaign of mass nonviolent' civil responsibility', takes its inspiration from the peace movement's 'snowball' campaign of the 1980's, in which more than 2,000 people were nicked. The women had openly declared their intention to pull up the GE plants in letters to the farmer, the company and the police. Representatives from genetiX snowball had even met with the farmer, Mr Parker about two weeks ago.

  • Info packs (send large SAE and some stamps) GenetiX snowball, One World Centre, 6 Mount St., Manchester, M2 5NS 0161 834 0295 genetixsnowball@orangenet.co.uk
  • Genetically Engineered wheat under 24 hour guard at the Royal Agricultural Show was yesterday nearly compltely destroyed in broad daylight by a group calling themselves the Kenilworth Croppers
  • To find out where your nearest GE site is check out www.foe.co.uk or call the Biotechnology Unit, Floor 2/G9 Department of the Environment, Ashdown House, 123 Victoria St., London SW1E 6OE 0171 890 5275. Don't take no for an answer - they are required by law to provide this information to the public.
  • For an in depth look at genetics get a copy of New Internationalist issue 293 (August '97) PO Box 79, Hertford, SG14 1AQ Tel 01992 822899




Overzealous zookeeper Friedrich Riesfeldt fed his constipated elephant Stefan 22 doses of animal laxative and more than a bushel of berries, figs and prunes before the plugged up pachyderm finally let fly - and suffocated the keeper under 200 pounds of poop! Investigators say ill-fated Friedrich, 46, was attempting to give the ailing elephant an olive oil enema when the relieved beast unloaded on him like a dump truck full of mud " The sheer force of the elephants unexpected defecation knocked Mr. Riesfeldt to the ground, where he struck his head on a rock and lay unconscious as the elephant continued to evacuate his bowels on top of him " , said a Police Detective". - stolen from ARCNEWS, PO Box 339 Wolverhampton , WV 10 7BZ



In April, the sixteen year old Faslane peace camp won their fight against eviction from outside the Trident nuclear base in Scotland.However,Argull and Bute Council appealed - and won on a technicality, and so the camp is once again under threat and expecting eviction in the next couple of weeks. Evicition tat and bodies needed urgently For directions and more info 01436 820901
  • 12th July - 9th August Brussels to Faslane Peace Walk CND 0171 700 2393 Email: eirlys@mcmail.com
  • A new camp has been set up at Barry in Wales to oppose a large housing estate. There's massive local support to stop the houses being built - even the cops don't want them. More info ring 01446 409227



For non-payment of poll tax! Fearless Doncaster police have found their jobs become less stressful when they pick on easy targets. Why risk chasing dangerous criminals, when you can arrest for poll tax non-payment, a 70-year-old women with two hip replacements? She was just out of hospital; now she's out on bail. Some officers with still longer memories, for whom that offence wasn't quite old and stale enough, are said to be on the case of those who didn't pay the original English poll tax in 1381.



"We will not surrender."

At the emergency meeting of the Diez de Abril Zapatista Community this was the decision. It was June 10th. The radio transmissions were coming in fast and furious with news of the massacre by federal troops in the northern zone. The army had moved in to dismantle the autonomous municipality of San Juan de Libertad; it was the third autonomous municipality to be razed to the ground in as many months. Only this time they went in shooting.

At this stage reports about deaths were sketchy. We were to find out later that eight Zapatistas supporters had been executed. Three were shot on the spot; a further five were taken injured. Four days later eight bodies were returned to the communities. They had been so badly mutilated their families were unable to identify them. Twenty people are still missing.

A cheer went up as news filtered through that a helicopter had been forced to land. A bullet had lodged in its fuel tank. On the village TV, the government was broadcasting images of thousands of heavily armed soldiers and police storming the pictureseque villages of El Bosque, Union Progreso and Chavajeval. What they didn't show was the army's arrival at Obregon where the community had blocked their entrance on the road. The army had turned round and left but not before saying they'd be back.

Diez de Abril was on red alert. The army has entered this community twice this year, stealing food, burning houses, firing tear gas at women and children, destroying crops, arresting inhabitants. The jail in the state capital is full of Zapatista supporters. Some who have been arrested haven't made it as far as the jail. Disappearances are rising, summary execution is becoming a popular solution to the problem of overcrowding.

Each time the army destroys Diez de Abril, the community rebuilds it. Only two years old, Diez de Abril is one of hundreds of villages built on land previuously owned by ranchers. Four years after their uprising to demand land, liberty and freedom, more than a thousand Zapatista communities have organised themselves into 32 autonomous municipalities. Their existence is testimony to these peoples ability to turn their dreams into reality. On their doorstep are 70,000 highly armed federal soldiers and countless armed paramilitaries.

The International Peace Observer's home at Diez de Abril is one of the old ranches which also houses the health centre and resource centres. It is positioned at the entrance to the community. From here you can see the whole village. That night I sat, with my rucksack packed ready to move to a pre-arranged location if anything happened. I needed to document it from a vantage point where I could see but not be seen. I watched the women, men and children file out of the meeting place. The anger and rage were on the surface tonight but their heads were held high. I don't know exactly what had been discussed at that long and tense meeting but it has ended with everyone deciding to split into three groups for communal work projects the next day.

"Where do you want to work?" Miguel asked me. I my naïveté I thought everyone had gone collectively mad. The army was about to raze the place to the ground and everyone was talking about fixing the two village bridges and building the stone church. Later I realised that this spirit was the reason the government and federal army were running scared.

The next day I went with the community to help rebuild the rope bridge that spanned one of the many rivers flowing through Diez de Abril. The tension from the night before didn't show as the teams of people spoke and joked in Tzetal. But there are some words that don't exist in their native language.

Freedom and liberty are two of them. I heard the Spanish words for 'training' and 'EZLN'. A sudden reminder that although it's not what they want, here in the Zapatista communities they are preparing for war.

With their cry of "Ya Basta!" (enough is enough), the Zapatistas have inspired millions of us around the world to link together in the fight against global capitalism. Now the Zapatistas urgently need our solidarity. To stand by and allow them to fail would be a failure for all of us.


  • Peace Observers are urgenty needed on the ground in Chiapas. If you can speak Spanish and are interested in going to Mexico, get in touch with chiapaslink@acephale.org
  • Ideas for action can be left on the above email. If any actions are called please support them. Watch this space.
  • Write to the Zapatista Prisoners in Cerro Hueco Carcel, Tuxla, Chiapas, Mexico. There are literally hundreds of them languishing here on false charges. Letters might not get through to the prisoners but the governor of the jail will get the general idea that the world is watching him. All foreigners have now been banned from visiting political prisoners. Address letters (get them translated into Spanish) to the Detenidos de Taniperla, Tierra y Libertad, Nicolas Ruiz, San Juan de Libertad.
  • Start a solidarity group. Videos, reports and possibly speakers are available if you're desperate.
  • Get onto the barrenador@acephale.org mailing list to be kept up-to-date.
Footnote: Less than two weeks after the massacre in Chiapas in Chiapas the British government approved export licences for small arms, machine guns and accessories to be sent to Mexico. There is a Department of Trade and Industry building in most cities!
  • Thursday 23rd July 7pm "Massacre at Acteal: The Other Side of NAFTA - the role of the USA in the militarization and continuing violence in Chiapas, Mexico" and "Women and children confront the military Jan '98" at Crossroads Video Café, Crossroads Women's Centre, 230a Kentish Town Road (entrance Caversham Road), London NW5. Tel: 0171 482 2496.
  • If you wanna find out more about the Zapatista movement read "First World Ha!Ha!Ha! Zapatista Challenge" by Elain Katzberger and "Zapatistas: Documents of the Nex Mexican Revolution" by Autonomedia. Both available from AK Press, PO Box 12766, Edinburgh EH8 9YE. Tel: 0131 555 5165.



Mickey Mouse and his Disney friends have gone on strike. Daily parades have been disrupted, shows scrapped and instead of a friendly Disney character, children have been met by picketing strikers. Many of the actors who dress up as the children's favourites at Disneyland Paris have downed costumes. They're demanding a pay rise after complaining they are not treated as serious thespians: "We demand to be considered for what we are. That is fully fledged performers and not bit players", one striker said. This seriously worries some of the visitors: "This is horrible for the kids! The characters are the main attraction for them. Who is going to autograph their books?" complained a mother . The ongoing dispute shows no signs of ending and reports suggest it could escalate. The strike began on June 24, 100 performers left work in an effort to force through a 7% pay rise. Disneyland's management attempted to play down the strike action, claiming that the actors were gradually returning to work. They have maintained their tough stance against any pay rises. However unions said that the strike action was growing with around 200 actors leaving work and technicians and restaurant staff joining in. Apart from disappointed kids who don't get their their comics signed, the strike damages the happy Disney image. The company's shares fell more than 2% to FF12.10 in early trading on the French stockmarket on Wednesday on top of a 3% fall on Tuesday.



Sat 27th June Italian Police in Bologna raided the Premises of the European Counter-Information Network (ECN), which was hosting internet material for Freedom Press.

The ECN, also known by the name of ' Islands in the Net', offered a wide choice of alternative information in various languages. More than 40 of the Italian Social Centres use the service along with labour organisations like the Spanish CNT and the Italian USI. Alternative radio stations such as Onda d'Urto, Radio Blackout and Radio Sherwood use space on the server alongside publications like Freedom Press, Bandiera Rossa from Milan and various digital publications like .zip. Music bands also have pages which bring in thousands of people who use the ECN server on a daily basis with a huge variety of subjects ranging from news about developments in Chiapas to citizens rights in a digital age and the only discussion list about gay rights in Italy.

Fortunately,they let us know that this won't be the end to their activities: "The ECN server will not be down for long and already moves are being made to mirror (duplicate) parts of the site elsewhere. This kind of move has precedents and sometimes when the authorities go for the little folk (remember McLibel?) it can backfire."

So: watch that space: www.tao.ca/~freedom or try geocities.com/Hollywood/Set/2184/inr.html



The Dept. of Trade and Industry has donated £64,000 for "Minerals '98 - Making more of Life" a week-long "celebration of mineral-extraction in the UK!" Meanwhile, Donald Dewar, Secretary of State for Scotland received another donation - two carrier bags full of coal dust, courtesy of the Scottish Opencast Action Group (SOAG). The accompanying message read :"Collected from the lungs of children living next to opencasts. There's more where this came from!" Warren Canham, a resident of Dalquhandie, Europe's biggest opencast site, commented, "Ayrshire, Lanarkshire, Lothian and Fife are rapidly becoming one huge opencast scar on the land." Contact Scottish Opencast Action Group on 01501 785202



  • A transcript of the Independent On Sunday-sponsored debate, 'Cannabis: Should it be Decriminalised?' (to which both the Home Office and the Drugs Czar refused to send a representative) is available from: Rooted Media, 145-149 Cardigan Road, Leeds, LS6 1YJ (Pamphlet-£1; Word disk-£2)
  • Aldermaston Women's Peace Camp has organised Women on the Road for Peace on Bikes, a pleasant cycling tour of the south's key military and nuclear instilations. From 31st July-7 August, support van, nothing too strenuous, so join in! Details: 0117 939 3746/01222 396563
  • Victory! All charges have been dropped/dismissed against the 24 demonstraters arrested in Dover on 28th February during the anti-National Front protest. Thanks are due to Kent Police who surpassed their hitherto impressive record for incompetence and stupidity; those arrested are considering legal action and demanding the destruction of all "surveillance film" taken on the day. (More info - 01474 566701)
  • Broadhurst (of 1c New Rd, Ammanford, SA18 3ES) is dishing out FREE WRITING PAPER FOR ALL for an SAE, with one side full of historical facts about protests from the past.



The Land Is Ours Mass Trespass & Picnic brought together people from all 'walks' (groan) of life in a highly successful & pleasurable stroll across The Downs in defiance of inane tresspass laws & to confirm their natural right to access of land. Around 100 people inc. @ 15 kids walked thru' fields & pathways that Brighton & Hove Council bars public access to although the land had been deeded to the public. Farmer Harmer (see SchNEWS 117) was reminded of the strength of direct action as he watched everyone traipse thru' his farm.For once there was no evidence of a police presence (joy oh joy) - perhaps they're waiting for regulation cross-country kit! Join in on Sun Aug 2 & 23.Details on 01273 685913




Last issue in the old format out now and truly brilliant, in depth coverage of everything from ectsasy testing in Brixton to spying around Menwith Hill and a close look ar Freemasons. Read it!. For the future they have a brand new website to be found www.squall.co.uk and are going to dish out the bi-monthly Squall Download- the best of the rolling web service. £2 from P O Box 8959, London, N19 5HW

Do or Die

Voices from Earth First! Jammed packed with in depth articles on everything you ever wanted to know about the direct action movement. £2.50 from PO Box 2971, Brighton, East Sussex, BN2 2TT

Corporate Watch

Giving the low-down on all those multinational meanies and how they are trying to take over the world. Isssue 7 out now. £3 to: Box E, 111 Magdalen Rd, Oxford OX4 1RQ. E-mail: mail@corporatewatch.i-way.co.uk


PO Box 148, Hove BN3 3DQ - 500+ zine reviews,DIY Media, agit prop, etc £2.30inc p+p or £1+ your mag.


an alternative video news service, and issue nine is out soon.On the video is Glen of the Downs, Hunt Sabbing, police are trying to surpress news,a round up of international peace, encironmental, social, animal and justice actions. send £12.95 (£9.95 concessions) to 16b Cherwell St., Oxford, OX4 1BG 01865 203662 www.undercurrents.org

SchNEWS Annual

Our sexy third publication containing issues 101-150 plus articles, photos,cartoons and 13 pages of contacts. Price: £6.00 plus 85p p+p.



It's great to see how our emergency services like to work together. Police in Tayside, Scotland, were getting on the case to the protect the interests of corporations whose genetically engineered test crops have been repeatedly trashed in recent weeks by nocturnal eco-activists. But after they set up a stake-out in a barn to catch the activists , police themselves ended up red-faced, as their exhaust pipe set fire to the hay and the whole place went up. The officers fled and as they watched the flames leap up around the barn, along with their Vauxhall Astra and specially installed surveillance cameras. So a 30 grand bill for the old bill, as guffaws rebound around the countryside, and activists remain on the loose.


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Last updated 20 July 1998
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SchNEWS Web Team (schnews-web@brighton.co.uk)